Hike South Table Mountain
Colorado › Golden Summit Trail
Added by Kathleen Morton
You can do this one-hour hike in every season, every temperature and at any time. The best part about this hike is that each time you do it, you'll see something different. Make this hike your own by allowing yourself to be in nature, breathe the mountain air and soak up the Colorado sun.
Want to see a rainbow? Possibly some coyotes or other Colorado wildlife?
This hike is full of twists and turns, mostly involving the trail, but also in surprises along the way.
Drive into downtown Golden (grab some food if you're hungry) and then park at the base of the Golden Summit trail. Starting this hike before 4 pm is ideal (after all, it does start to get dark earlier in the winter), but this hike is also fun at night.
Make sure you're equipped with water (Colorado is known to knock the wind out of you when you're at high elevations). Start your hike up a .6-mile incline to Castle Rock (elevation gain: 1,500 ft.). Some people call Castle Rock, "Table Top," so don't be too confused if someone asks if you're headed that way. This is a well-maintained trail, but it is steep and will eventually boost you from city life atop a mountain with panorama views.
When you arrive at the base of Castle Rock, you'll run into a set up concrete stairs. Some people actually do run these stairs (and if you're looking for an added workout, you can as well). I prefer to take them easy myself and head up to the top. This is the best spot to break for snacks and soak up the view. The elevation of Castle Rock is 6,338 feet and you will probably feel it as you enjoy the beautiful view of Golden, Colorado School of Mines and Denver. If it's one of those Colorado summer days with a stormy sky, you may get lucky and catch a rainbow on the horizon.
Descend the stairs to meet up with South Table Mesa Trail. Head .2 miles until the trail splits. This is where the twists and turns come in. Pick the trail to the right (or the southernmost trail). You'll pass telephone wires, a radio screen and old building materials. I almost always see deer and a few times, I've had coyote spottings.
After walking .5 miles, you'll have another chance to choose your own adventure and fate. If you're looking to continue on the trail loop, head left (or north) for .8 miles until the trail splits again. From this part of the trail, you should be able to look out over Jefferson County and catch a glimpse of Denver again.
Continue on until you reach another trail intersection. Choose the left fork (or west) trail and walk 1.2 miles down Golden Summit trail back down to meet your car. If you skipped the pre-hike snack (good thinking), this is your chance to venture downtown and grab some grub. You've earned it.
- Day pack
- Hiking shoes
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ReviewsLeave a Review
Easy Walk to get out of Denver
I would consider this more of a walk than a hike, but it was a nice escape from Denver (only a 15 minute drive). The trail was quiet and climbs for the first 0.5 miles, but once on top there are miles of flat, open trail to add mileage to your trip. We enjoyed the views of Golden from the top of Table Mountain. Trail was a muddy mess from a recent snowmelt though, so I would recommend choosing a drier day for this hike.
Home sweet Home
I have hiked South Table Mountain for 23 years. It is an easy hike, great for beginners. Be careful in the summer time hiking this trail. There are rattlesnakes (in fact, my dog was bit by one on this trail). South Table Mountain provides a whole lot of gratification for such a short hike. The views are amazing of Golden and the valley between Golden and Boulder. Enjoy one of my favorites.
Good Local Trail
This trail is definitely a locals trail and has some good views, quiet, and long enough to mountain bike or jog on. I would recommend using trail during the late spring and early summer. Green grass and lots of wild flowers grow in season.
This was definitely an easy hike that was good for beginners, but the trail was hard to follow because there were so many different ways to go. It was also painfully flat for all except the beginning 0.6 miles. The author of this adventure was right, it's easy to add mileage to - we did 6.2 total miles. I would recommend going for sunrise or sunset because the views were underwhelming at 10am. Overall it was a decent hike, good exercise, and a great way to spend your weekend if you're hiking with kids or people who aren't used to Colorado altitude. If you're used to sweeping vistas and seclusion from city life, this might not be the hike for you.
I visit this spot often, but my favorite time was a night run in the negative temps. It was so cold all the animals were out and moving to stay warm. I saw deer, coyote, owls, and fox. Despite being surrounded by the city, it was so quiet I felt like I was hours from civilization.
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