Nestled in more than 12,000 acres of forest,
rocky peaks, and aspen-rimmed meadows, visitors will discover Golden Gate Canyon State
Park. Two different campgrounds provide
either electrical hook-ups or tent sites. Amenities include stocked fishing ponds and picnic
areas. Visitors will also enjoy the Panorama
Point Scenic Overlook, with its spectacular
100-mile views of the Continental Divide.
With its breathtaking scenery, Panorama Point
is a popular spot for weddings.
A variety of scenic trails wander through
meadows and aspen groves, and are a splendorous site in the height of autumn. Sightseers
and photographers alike will appreciate the
changing colors of the leaves. More active
recreation opportunities include mountain
biking, horseback riding, and hiking.
Fishing is exceptional in Golden Gate
Canyon State Park and is permitted
anywhere except in the Visitor Center’s
Show Pond. Hunting is permitted only in the
Jefferson County portion of the park, from
the Tuesday after Labor Day through the
Friday before Memorial Day.
The park’s many picnic sites—offered on a
first-come, first-serve basis—include tables
and charcoal grills.
Reverend’s Ridge and Aspen Meadow campgrounds each have numerous campsites and
provide a unique camping experience.
Reverend’s Ridge includes five camper cabins
and two yurts, which can house up to six
people each. Ninety-seven sites ( 59 of which
have electrical hookups) also can accommodate trailers, pickup campers and tents.
Campers don’t need to sacrifice comfort, with
facilities that include flush toilets, shower and
laundry facilities and a dump station. Each
campsite can accommodate up to six people.
Aspen Meadows campground contains 35
sites for tents only, and in general is more
primitive. It is perfect for campers looking
to “rough it.” Around mid-October, the
campground usually closes for the season,
although the exact timing of the closure is
weather dependent. Simple facilities avail-
able to campers here include a water pump,
vault toilets, and designated campsites with
table, fire rings, and high use tent pads. As
with Reverend’s Ridge, each campsite is
limited to a maximum of six visitors. Several
sites accommodate horses (call the camp-
ground for more information).
Guests looking for luxury should inquire
about the Harmsen Ranch Guest House, a
fully-furnished overnight accommodation.
This four-bedroom (each with a queen bed),
two-bath ranch guesthouse is equipped with
a full kitchen, linen service, gas fireplaces and
can accommodate up to eight guests. An
outdoor deck on the ranch includes a gas grill
for cooking up a feast, and a large corral area
has room for eight horses. This is the perfect
spot for a group of equestrians who need overnight accommodation for their horses. It is
located between Reverend’s Ridge and Aspen
Meadows campgrounds and has easy access to
trails, Panorama Point and Dude’s fishing hole.
Golden Gate Canyon’s Visitor Center is
found at the intersection of Golden Gate
Canyon Road (Highway 46) and Crawford
Gulch Road. The center is open seven days a
week; hours vary by season.
Looking for a more exciting experience?
Backcountry camping is also permitted
at Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Park
visitors can hike to their destination and
whatever they bring into the forest must
come back out with them. Four three-sided
shelters with roofs and wood floors are
located in the park, and each can sleep six
people without a tent. Additionally, twenty
backcountry tent sites are open year-round.
Check the park’s website for updates.
Located just 30 minutes from Denver, this relaxing mountain escape offers
thousands of acres of beautiful forest, with miles of trails for hiking, biking, and
Golden Gate Canyon. Photo courtesy of Colorado State Parks.