Hike to Forgotten Valley

3.6 miles 852 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Jennifer Broome

This is a hike with a history lesson. It's an ultra-family friendly hike to a historic homestead. Four generations of Swedish-Americans lived at the Tallman Ranch in Forgotten Valley in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Take a picnic and fishing poles. There's a great pond stocked with trout. Plus it's a easy hike to add additional mileage.

There are over 35 miles of hiking trails in the park. The twelve trails in Golden Gate Canyon State Park are named after an animal and marked with the animal’s footprint.

For a 2.6 round trip hike, start at the Burro Trailhead in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. You’ll immediately cross over a little bridge, then hit the trail. It takes you through some tall grasses. Then you head through some pines on a pretty easy gradual incline. You do get some great views fairly quickly on this trail. It turns pretty flat as the forest opens up to meadow.

The Burro Trail intersects Mountain Lion Trail at the 0.6 mile mark. Turn left on Mountain Lion Trail and it is 0.7 miles to Forgotten Valley. After a tenth of a mile, at the split, right takes you to Windy Peak and left leads you to Forgotten Valley. Another 0.2 miles, you pass the City Lights Ridge trailhead. That’s a great option for an add-on for additional mileage.

In fall, you’ll see some golden aspens on the trail.

You get your first glimpse of the homestead in forgotten valley from a ways away. There is a small trout pond right in front of the main ranch house. Keep following the trail around the pond to get to the ranch house, which dates back to 1876. Anders Tallman emigrated from Sweden. He and his wife Christina built their home along Nott Creek. Because of the remote location of the homestead, it was referred to as forgotten valley. Four generations of Swedish-Americans lived on the ranch.

As the breeze blows, you can imagine what their life was life was like as you explore the homestead. Behind the ranch house you’ll find the chicken house and the stables. The best view is from the porch of the ranch house. You can kick back and swing awhile as you soak in the serene setting of Forgotten Valley.

Do the short walk down to the pond. Go through some willows and out onto a little sandy beach for a perfect spot to do a little fishing.

On your way back down Mountain Lion Trail, turn right at the City Lights Ridge trailhead. It is a rockier and steeper half mile trail than the trail to Forgotten Valley. After about a quarter of a mile you’re out of the forest and get some great views as you traverse the open hillside. You climb above a rock outcropping then do a little scrambling to get to the top of City Lights Ridge.

The panoramic view is fantastic, but the best view is looking down into Forgotten Valley for a great view of the trout pond and Tallman Ranch.

If you take the Burro Trail to Mountain Lion Trail route to Forgotten Valley, it is 1.3 miles for a round trip hike of 2.6 miles.

The City Lights Ridge adds an additional mile to the hike.

Elevation gain is only 352' if you only do the out and back to Forgotten Valley. If you add City Lights Ridge, you get a quick 500' elevation in a half mile.

In 1995, the Tallman Ranch was added to the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties. A daily park pass for Golden Gate Canyon State Park is $7.

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly


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🥇Top Contributor

about 2 years ago

Great Spot for little time

This is a great area to explore, if you do not have a lot of time to get deep into the mountains. Very peaceful and scenic.

🥈 Contributor

over 3 years ago

Great Day Hike

This is a great hike to get out of the city for a few hours and not spend the whole day gone. The lake was great for my dogs and the little cabin is so adorable!


🥇Top Contributor

almost 5 years ago

This is a great trail near Denver-metro for the beginner. The trail is wide and well maintained, plus you'll get some great views of the foothills!

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