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An epic tour of the trails on offer at Golden Gate State Park.

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9,474' 2,888 m


7,634' 2,327 m


4,339' 1,323 m


4,354' 1,327 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (16°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Allowed

You'll need a CO Parks and Wildlife pass to park a vehicle. Day passes are self-pay and cost $10, more info here:….


Get ready for a big day on the bike. At 24 miles, this ride could be considered a "long" one but it is made grueling by the intense amount of very technical climbing. Almost 4,700 feet of elevation gain on trying terrain will have even the most fit riders hurting by the end.

Now that I've sufficiently scared you.... This ride is an absolute blast!

It has a little bit of everything: big rowdy descents, equally big technical climbs, dark lush forest, open sprawling meadows and smooth-flowing singletrack.

Need to Know

Odds are you'll be needing fuel as you go on this mission - pack plenty of snacks and water. There are a lot of (for the most part) well marked intersections along the way. Utilize the MTB Project mobile app to stay on track.


This particular route starts from the southern parking along Golden Gate Canyon Rd. but could really be done from any of the ample parking areas surrounding the park.

Take a short spin up the Blue Grouse Trail to get the legs warmed up and look for an intersection with Mule Deer Trail. Turn right onto Mule Deer Trail.

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. At roughly mile 4.1, you'll come to an intersection with Snowshoe Hare - Turn right and descend for about a mile to a low point at Dude's Hole. Advanced riders may enjoy the challenges of big roots and lots of rocks, but less advanced riders will have to walk long sections of the trail, though the park service may be slowly rebuilding it (already done at the far western end).

This trail seems to be going steeply up or down virtually all the time. You wander around aspen and pine forests with occasional openings, but never any big views. After you top out climbing from Dude's hole, descend sharply, look for Buffalo Trail on the right and take it.

Descend on this wide, slightly loose and rocky doubletrack all the way to the Mountain Lion Loop. Remember this descent as it will certainly be a challenge for tired legs on the way back. Stay left and start peadaling up the partially reclaimed doubletrack that is this portion of Mountain Lion. The trail will transition to singletrack and get very steep and technical.

Climb hard for a long time at heart-attack grades.

Many sections will need to be walked but it is well worth the pain. Views of Forgotten Valley abound as you top out. Follow the trail into the woods for a payoff in the form of a stomach clenching rowdy descent.

You'll descend over 1,000 feet of vert in under a mile an a half. If you like very technical terrain, this trail will have you grinning. The trail sits at the bottom of a rugged drainage and follows it the whole way down. You'll be challenged with large rock-overs, roots and repetitive drops. There are multiple creek crossings, some of which are bridged. Eventually, the trail will open into doubletrack and mellow out.

Follow the trail as it contours through a slight climb and descent and prepare for the biggest burn of the day - the next five miles are a grueling, unrelenting climb. Pedal up Mountain Lion to a junction with Buffalo Connector where you'll turn left and continue onto Buffalo Trail. Remember flying down this fireroad?

Continue on Buffalo Trail to Snowshoe Hare, turn right and head up a near impossible technical climb. Snowshoe Hare will dead-end into a campground - pedal uphill out of the camp grond to Gap Road and turn left. Follow Gap Road for about a mile and look for Mule Deer Trail on the right, take it. After a tiny bit more pedaling, you're done for the time being.

Congrats - you just climbed nearly 2,000' in under five miles.

Consider following Raccoon Trail to the panoramic viewpoint for a rest. Otherwise, enjoy the descent on Mule Deer Trail. Right about mile 20, you'll start the last substantial climb of the day. After topping out, it's a blazing fast descent on narrow singletrack through meadows. When the trail climbs briefly to meet Mountain Base Rd., stay right onto Lower Mule Deer Trail. Follow it to a junction with Blue Grouse and turn right.

You made it. Have a beer (or more), you deserve it.


Shared By:

Brian Smith with improvements by Greg Barnes and 1 other

Trail Ratings

  3.7 from 37 votes


  3.7 from 37 votes
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in Colorado


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31,591 Since Feb 13, 2015
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A little chunk in Golden Gate Canyon SP
Aug 10, 2016 near Coal Creek, CO
Beautiful dense forested terrain
Jul 24, 2018 near Coal Creek, CO
One of many creek crossings on the Mountain Lion descent
Aug 4, 2015 near Coal Creek, CO
Upper Mule Deer is Fast
Aug 27, 2018 near Central…, CO
If you've never ridden Mountain Lion then this is what you can expect. A video is worth a 1,000 words....
Aug 21, 2017 near Coal Creek, CO
Now that is singletrack!
Jun 21, 2014 near Coal Creek, CO


Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Jul 16, 2022
Afun Rider
Not bringing enough food made last 10 miles so slow. 24mi — 5h 00m
Jun 19, 2021
Jonah Petoskey
25.4mi — 6h 58m
Jun 13, 2021
John Hartney
Jun 9, 2021
Just good fun — 3h 40m
Sep 13, 2020
Jim Halvatzis
4,482 feet of climbing! — 5h 54m
Aug 30, 2020
Haluk Turk
May 31, 2020
Evan Baron
Not sure where the extra mile and extra 1000 feet of climbing are 23.3mi — 4h 34m
Oct 16, 2019
Ian Carbonneau
Hard day on the bike — 4h 31m

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