Saturday, August 29, 2015

Golden Gate Canyon State Park


Golden Gate Canyon State Park is one of the 42 Colorado State Parks, and is located in Gilpin and Jefferson counties, around 30 miles west of Denver. This 11,998 acre Front Range Park has 36 miles of hiking trails-- Horses and bicycles are allowed on 22 miles of those trails. It includes facilities such as a visitor center, over 100 campsites, 5 furnished and heated cabins for rent, 2 yurts, and the upscale 4 bedroom Harmsen Guest Ranch, stocked fishing ponds, and over 100 picnic sites. (All photos, and photo collages, in this post will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on)


The Golden Gate Canyon Visitor Center is open daily, year round. Outside is a placard that tells about wildlife that is in the area and gives hiking tips.


We headed up to the Panoramic Point Scenic Overlook, where we saw a view of 100 miles of the Rocky Mountains Continental Divide in the distance! (Click on to enlarge!)


Some close ups of the mountains we saw along our 100 mile view.


The elevation at Panoramic Point is approximately at 9,400 feet.  Here, the picnic table area was under a shady canopy of trees.


This little chipmunk was waiting for us to leave so he could search under the table for crumbs.


After eating our picnic lunch we headed out on the 2.3 mile round trip Raccoon Loop Trail.  This trail passes through Golden Gate Canyon's upper-montane and lower subalpine forests.  Along the trail we saw lodgepole pine trees, Engelmann spruce, blue spruce, white fir and aspen trees. Do you spot my husband standing next to a giant lodgepole tree on the trail?


Along the trail we had more glorious views of the Rocky Mountains. 


We also saw an array of beautiful wildflowers, more chipmunks, and various fungi along the trail.


We also saw moss and lichens growing on some of the boulders along the trail.


We really enjoyed the beautiful views and the cool mountain air while walking on the trail. 


I was excited to see the 14,259 foot high Longs Peak, located in Rocky Mountain National Park, in the distance.


When we saw this fresh scat, however, we knew it was time to turn back and head home, as we were not carrying bear spray with us.  The black bears have been very active this time of the year along the Front Range, bulking up for their winter hibernation. They need to consume over 20,000 calories a day! Unfortunately, the very rainy spring Colorado had this year, among other weather conditions, caused a decrease in the acorns and berries they like to eat.  They are roaming further into civilization, in search of food, including one cub that was recently found roaming on a street in Denver! Click here to read a Denver post story about that.  We are careful not to have bird feeders hanging in our backyard this time of the year, and to keep our garbage can inside our closed garage and only leave it curbside the morning of pickup. I've also learned to look up into the trees when I walk on a trail, as it is very possible a bear could be up in a tree! Click here to read my blog post where I learned that lesson!


Here is a short Youtube video about winter activities in Golden Gate Canyon Park produced by Colorado State Parks:  (click here if video is not visible)



I feel very fortunate that this beautiful state park is just a half hour drive from my house! It is a place I'll be returning there often in the coming seasons and years. Who knows, I might even buy some snowshoes and hike in winter!  Do you participate in winter activities? What is your favorite thing to do?

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54 comments:

Pamela Gordon said...

This looks like a great hike with really beautiful views Pat. I think I would be up for that this summer. :) Good thing you noticed the bear scat and turned around. Thanks for sharing the beauty of your state with us. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

DeniseinVA said...

Hi Pat, I would love to go to this park. Must be great to be so close. Your photos are spectacular. Have a great week :)

Lorrie said...

What stunning views, Pat! The park looks like a great place to spend time winter or summer. I used to ski but haven't done it in years. And we don't get enough snow to do much of anything close to home.

I don't usually comment on spelling/automatic correction issues, but the line about the view towards the Rocky Mortician made me laugh.

ladyfi said...

What a beautiful park - how lucky you are to have it so close to where you live.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat, what a wonderful park. The views are just gorgeous. I love the cute chipmunk. And the wildflowers are pretty. Looks like a great place for a hike. I love to see the bears in the distance, just not up close. Your photos and post are lovely. Have a happy day and new week ahead!

Nancy's Notes said...

What a trip!! Those views are absolutely stunning! Oh and for bears...picture is all I'd care to see! Not in person! Glad you all turned around! Great post!
Have a grand day, Pat!
Nancy

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

It looks like a beautiful park with great views.

The whole bear thing is concerning. You have to keep your wits about you that is for sure.

Michelle said...

I would love to visit there and stay in a yurt!

podso said...

I'm sure one never tires of those spectacular mountain views. It's nice this park is so close to home for you. Beautiful photos, Pat!

Barb said...

Fabulous mountain and trail shots, Pat. I was doing some gardening and weeding this AM and found bear scat in my front yard! Yesterday, I saw some on the trail I was hiking. It's that time of year.

Sarah said...

Beautiful, informative post, Pat.
Happy Blue Monday!

Margaret Adamson said...

What a fantastic Park to visit with so much to see and photograph.Loved all the fine trees, magnificent views, lichen, Mosses and wild flowers tht you found there. Great video. Have a great week ahead

Hilde said...

Amazing views! I hope one day I will have theopportunity to visit Golden Date Park!
Greetings from Belgium, Hilde

SmilingSally said...

Hi Pat,

No doubt about it; you do have some beautiful views. But, [shudder] I'm glad you scooted back when you saw evidence of bear.

Although I was raised in MD, I have never liked cold weather or snow, so I must answer your question in the negative. Thanks for playing today.

Happy Blue Monday!

DeniseinVA said...

Hi Pat. I am back to thank you for linking with Today's Flowers, and to let you know how much I appreciate that :)

Jeanne said...

Good morning Pat, I am so happy to be here visiting this morning. This year has been a challenge for me to spend time on my computer. Just when I think our lives will calm down another bump in the road happens. My sister is in poor health so her move was a challenge for us all. She needs us to help her a lot. I did not want to say that in my post. Having her close by is wonderful though.

Your post was a great insight in the wonderful things to do and see in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. We have traveled out West three times but we have not visited this park. Bears are very active here too. We have had bears on our deck twice because of the bird seed. We take in the feeder every night now. We had a mama bear and three cubs very close to our house just last week. So cute but potentially dangerous. Our poodle Cheri' is never out without a leash. Our garbage is in the garage. In spite of this, we LOVE living in the mountains.

Your photos are all so wonderful. As always, the text was awesome as well. You should have been a teacher. Smile!

Happy Blue Monday,
Big hugs,
Jeanne

Cathy Keller said...

You do have a way of tugging at my heart strings. We have camped at Golden Gate State Park. It is so beautiful there. The kids really enjoyed the campfire at night when the ranger gave is talk. Wishing you a wonderful week as always!

Shannon @saltlicklessons.com said...

Gorgeous! Sometimes I want to take pictures of the mountains but I feel the pictures won't do the scenes justice. Your picture really do though! I've got to get myself to Colorado one of these days soon.

carol l mckenna said...

Wonderful photos of a beautiful place ~ glad to see you are still having fun exploring your 'new state' ~

Happy Week to you,
artmusedog and carol

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Glorious views of the mountains!

Blue House

happywonderer.com said...

So much beauty to experience in Colorado! Love all your treks!

Felicia said...

such a great state park to have in your back yard. love all those mountain views.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a fabulous state park. Wow. I spotted Vinnie by the tree before I read your words. That's one tall tree!
Sam

Annesphamily said...

Wonderful photo shares Pat! I am chuckling about those bears. I was running some errands earlier today and stopped at Olive Garden for a bite of salad and soup. A party of four were seated next to me and they were talking about the great bear and other wildlife problems Colorado has with the wildlife moving into neighborhoods. I heard one man say "Why doesn't the parks services get the food bears love and move them all back into the forest!?" LOL! Oh my goodness, he is quite clueless about bears. They love food and they do not discriminate! My nieces were visiting a little shop in Estes Park a few weeks ago and that very night a bear broke in to the bakery and ate all the fruit pies leaving the rhubarb pies alone! In my hometown of Pueblo, where they had a huge Pepsi warehouse, a bear got in there and drank, and drank and drank all the delicious sugary sodas! He left his footprints all over that warehouse! I think people are actually imposing on these poor animals and they are just doing what comes natural to them. No quick fix that us for certain.
ALways a pleasure to be here and say hello. Have a great week!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

So beautiful ... The wild flowers alone would be enough to make this a perfect post, and add in all the incredible views and your research ... More than perfect! We actually checked out this park when we were full timing but they had a two week limit back then anyway and we wanted to stay longer ! Beautiful colorado!

LV said...

I want no part of bears, but would dearly enjoy this area.

Donna said...

That's a lot of state parks...and you do find the most beautiful views....bear scat always makes me turn back quickly!

NC Sue said...

This looks like a great place to visit!
Thanks for linking up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/08/strange-visitors-in-garden.html

Joyful said...

Spectacular mosaics and landscapes.

Pamela S said...

Oh wow...these pictures are so beautiful. I get to visit Colorado once a year to see my son and everytime I do we go a new place. What a state

Sheila said...

You are surrounded by beauty Pat. I was wondering about bears as i was reading about your hike. We have seen them in our backyard and so i always take a good look around before going out in the yard. Our son runs on trails nearby his work but runs inside once the Bear warning signs are posted.

jeannettestgermain said...

Looks like a great park I would enjoy! Am off now to read the info about bears, because they also seem to come in the area where I live, but miss city slicker doesn't know anything about bears:) Thank you for sharing!

Rajesh said...

Beautiful state park. The views from the park are amazing.

Ramblings of a Southern Girl ~ Rhonda G said...

Wow, what a gorgeous place to hike and explore! Enjoyed your pictures, especially of that sweet little chipmunk. ...and Yurks, that was a new one on me, pretty neat though! :) ~Rhonda

PS...Thanks for visiting me! I appreciate you dropping in!

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

You have so many great places for hiking within a short distance from your home and I just love seeing the scenery you share. I'm always showing hubby FB photos with the hint that a trip to Colorado would be such fun.
The bears are moving south here too and as you probably know, I'm a bit of an activist for protecting them. ;-)
Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday Pat.

Marie C said...

Very beautiful park! How fortunate you are to live so close. Great photos and the video was so informative!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

You're so lucky to live within 1/2 hour of that park, Pat. You are a great ambassador for all the beautiful places to visit in Colorado.

Mary Cromer said...

Beautiful and this is one park in CO we have not been too, in fact I imagine there are quite a few.

Jacqueline said...

Colorado has to be one of the most beautiful states! Loved this hike with you. The variety of flowers is amazing, and I loved the lichen too. I bet it was a fabulous day!

jaipurthru mylens said...

great blog post...very informative! amazing vistas and photography! I'm sure this post will help others to plan well!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

I can tell you are enjoying your 'new' home and surroundings immensely! Thanks for sharing the beauty around you with the rest of us.

Jeannie Marie said...

I hiked a bit in the winter when I lived in Ohio. Here in Florida it is not a fair question as it's so nice all winter long...of course we participate in outdoor activities! Even our state fair is in February!

Spare Parts and Pics said...

An amazing location, and you capture it really well! I really like that photo of Longs Peak!

TexWisGirl said...

beautiful views and adorable chippy. :)

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat, I loved this post and your beautiful images. It is a lovely park. Love the cute chipmunk. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

Willow said...

I am constantly amazed at the beauty of Colorado that you share here. Someday I'm going to spend a summer/fall just wandering around Colorado!
Thanks for always sharing these gorgeous places!

sandyland said...

want to walk there now Hi little guy

Hannah said...

We did a lot in the mountains when we lived iin Denver, but now we just get occasional snowstorms in winter. The mountains look wonderful and inviting, it's great they are so close to you. I liked to go above timberline and look at the wildflowers, and of course ski at Vale, nothing like it. Bears getting into your trash cans sounds problematic, though. I thought raccoons were trouble!

Rue said...

How gorgeous! I love bears, but I'm a little leery of one finding me walking down a path LOL

Your last post about the little town with the oldest Opera house was wonderful. It made me want to visit there :)

hugs,
rue

The Gathering Place said...

Beautiful scenery! Those bears are a real danger in the mountains. Glad you didn't meet up with one.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I am also enjoying a weekend at a State Park. Your chipmunk is very cute. What a great view of the Continental Divide!
~

Gunilla B├Ąck said...

Gorgeous scenery and the chipmunk is so cute!

RobinfromCA said...

What a beautiful collection of photographs. I think the Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most beautiful in our country. I haven't been there for about 10 years but we used to visit friends in Estes a lot when they lived there. This summer the bears coming into town has also been a problem up where my mom is from in Montana. Bells and spray are the things to carry!

Have a great week!
Robin

Have a Daily said...

What a beautiful place! Hubby and I love going to state parks. We were in Co. this Spring, but I don't think we were in this vicinity. We stayed at Breckenridge. Yes, I'd be high tailing it out of there too, before I came upon a bear! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
hugs,
Jann