We visited the Golden Gate Canyon State Park about 20 miles northwest of Golden, Colorado. We have visited this park on two different occasions: early March and late August 2017. This park has more than 12,000 acres of dense forest, rocky peaks, and aspen meadows with miles of hiking trails. You can view the trail map here.
Our first visit was at the top of the Panorama Point at the northwest area of the park. We hiked on the 2.2 mile looped Raccoon Trail which was snow-packed but did required us to use micro spikes due to variable slopes. The view of the Rockies is spectacular from across the valley.
Late winter hike at Raccoon Trail
Our second visit was at the northeast area of the park. We decided to take a more challenging and longer hike, and the Mountain Lion Trail provided just that. It is a 6.7 mile looped trail that uses part of an old 4×4 trail and then mostly dirt-packed trail with some small streams and bridges to cross over. It is also a backpack trail and requires an overnight permit at one of the designation campsite. This hike had different scenery ranging from open meadows, wooded forest, rocky hillside and majestic mountain views.
Late summer hike at Mountain Lion Trail