This is a fee area - make sure you pay at the bottom of the hill as most parking lots throughout the park do not have payment stations. The only other payment station is at Panorama Point's parking lot or the intersection of Mountain Base Road and Gap Road.
Make sure to check out the Golden Gate State Park - Mule Deer Loop for the ride using this trail.
You can access this trail from MANY points, but if starting at the bottom, from just above Kriley Pond, take Blue Grouse
0.7 mi where you'll join Mule Deer. If you go counter-clockwise, the trail is more blue/intermediate as the initial climb up has some technical sections with heavy incline you may need to walk up in parts and a nice long, flowy end. Going clockwise is more blue/black difficult, as the climb is up a flowy and non-technical singletrack (be careful on corners with riders bombing down) and you have a much more technical downhill towards the eastern side of the route with tight switchbacks and some heavy grades.
Climb up Mule Deer with a few challenging switchbacks and generally rocky trail. There are some nice views of the mountains looking W/SW from the top.
The trail flattens out somewhat across the Rim Meadow and Frazier Meadow. Nice easy riding through aspen and ponderosa forest.
Leaving the meadows, you'll start climbing towards Gap road. You'll pass Snowshoe Hare
on the right keep going.
The trail parallels gap road on the high side and has some nice features in with a mellow descent.
Crossing Gap road to Racoon trail the fun is about to begin. It's a nice descent which opens out to singletrack in aspen meadow. Trail steepens here and becomes rocky and rooted. Open it up and enjoy.
Once at the bottom its over to quick so take the side trail up to the Reverends Ridge campground. This trail is short but a lot of fun coming back down (fast and rooted).
Once you rejoin Racoon Trail, start the climb back up to Gap Road and Mule Deer trail. You could take Panorama Point Trail for some nice views of the Indian Peaks.
If not, keep climbing up on Mule Deer trail to where it crosses Gap Road.
Now the sweet singletrack though open meadows starts (just after a short climb from Gap Road). Go as fast as you dare but note that trail is narrow.
You'll come to Ole Barn Knoll and then have a short climb back up to to complete the loop with the intersection of Blue Grouse
Trail. Enjoy the last descent back to the car park.