Camping in Golden Gate Canyon State Park


Golden Gate Canyon State Park, located just 30 miles west of Denver, Colorado, offers a diverse range of outdoor activities and stunning natural scenery across its 12,000 acres. It’s a popular destination for camping, hiking, wildlife watching, and more.


  • Golden Gate Canyon State Park provides opportunities for camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, and winter sports like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
  • The park features scenic overlooks like Panorama Point, cabins, yurts, and campgrounds for overnight stays.
  • Conservation efforts, including trail maintenance and Leave No Trace principles, help preserve the park's natural beauty.

Destination Overview

Golden Gate Canyon State Park is a true Rocky Mountain haven, boasting over 35 miles of hiking trails, two campgrounds (Reverend’s Ridge and Aspen Meadow), and a variety of accommodation options like cabins and yurts. The park’s diverse landscapes, ranging from aspen meadows to rocky peaks, offer ample opportunities for activities like wildlife watching, photography, birdwatching, and nature walks.

Outdoor Activities

Hiking is a popular pursuit in the park, with trails catering to all skill levels. The backcountry campsites, accessible only by hiking, provide a true wilderness experience while adhering to Leave No Trace principles.

The Black Bear Trail is considered challenging, with areas of the trail requiring experience and a bit of technical knowledge. Families and less experienced hikers will enjoy the Horseshoe Trail and its plethora of wildlife. Nearby is the Blue Grouse Trail. Considered a very easy trail, it is well worth the visit for its beautiful trees and can be hiked in about an hour. For a longer trail with everything from meadows and forests to majestic views of the Continental Divide at the Panorama Point Scenic Overlook, try Mule Deer Trail. It is moderately challenging and requires maneuvering through a variety of terrains.

Anglers can try their luck at fishing in the park’s streams and ponds, while hunters can pursue big and small game during designated seasons with a reservation.

For those seeking a unique overnight experience, the park’s yurts and cabins offer a comfortable way to immerse oneself in nature. These accommodations are perfect for stargazing, wildlife watching, and enjoying the park’s scenic vistas.

Winter transforms the park into a wonderland for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing. Fall foliage enthusiasts can witness the vibrant colors of the changing leaves, making for stunning photography opportunities.


Reverend’s Ridge campground offers sites with electrical hookups, showers, and a dump station, making it suitable for RVs and trailers. Aspen Meadow, on the other hand, provides a more rustic camping experience with tent-only sites and vault toilets.

For those seeking a unique lodging option, the park’s yurts and cabins offer a cozy retreat amidst the natural surroundings. These accommodations are equipped with amenities like fireplaces and kitchenettes, providing a comfortable base for exploring the park.

Conservation Efforts

Golden Gate Canyon State Park is committed to preserving its natural beauty through conservation efforts. Volunteer-led trail maintenance initiatives help ensure the longevity of the hiking trails. Visitors are encouraged to follow Leave No Trace principles, such as packing out all trash and respecting wildlife, to minimize their impact on the environment.

Seasonal Activities

Each season brings its own unique experiences to Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Fall is a prime time for leaf-peeping, with the park’s aspen groves and meadows bursting into vibrant shades of yellow and orange. Winter transforms the landscape into a snowy Rocky Mountain playground, perfect for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing.

Planning Your Visit

Planning ahead is essential before visiting Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Entry fees are required, and visitors should check the park’s website for the latest information on fees and regulations, especially for activities like hunting and camping. Making reservations for campsites, yurts, and cabins is highly recommended, as these accommodations are in high demand during peak seasons.

For first-time visitors, it’s advisable to stop by the visitor center for maps, trail recommendations, and insider tips on making the most of their experience in this natural wonderland.


What types of camping options are available at Golden Gate Canyon State Park?

The park offers two campgrounds: Reverend’s Ridge, which has RV sites with hookups, and Aspen Meadow, a tent-only campground. Additionally, there are backcountry campsites accessible by hiking and cabins and yurts for a more comfortable overnight stay.

Can I go hunting in Golden Gate Canyon State Park?

Yes, hunting is allowed in the Jefferson County portion of the park during designated seasons with a reservation. Big game hunting requires a reservation made up to 45 days in advance, while small game hunting reservations can be made up to 14 days in advance.

Are there any fees to enter Golden Gate Canyon State Park?

Yes, entry fees are required for all visitors. The fees vary based on factors such as vehicle type and whether you have an annual state park pass. It’s recommended to check the park’s website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date fee information.

What are some of the best hiking trails in the park?

Some of the most popular hiking trails in Golden Gate Canyon State Park include the Raccoon Trail, which offers scenic views from Panorama Point, and the Burro Trail, which winds through aspen groves and meadows. The park also has several backcountry trails accessible only by hiking to the designated campsites. Other popular trails are the Mule Deer Trail, Blue Grouse Trail, Black Bear Trail, and the Horseshoe Trail Loop. Golden Gate Canyon trails vary widely in difficulty, so be sure to do a bit of research before embarking.

Can I bring my dog to the park?

Yes, dogs are permitted in the park, but they must be kept on a leash at all times and are not allowed in certain areas like the cabins and yurts. It’s important to clean up after your pet and ensure they do not disturb wildlife or other visitors.


About the author

Ransom Patterson

My expertise in Colorado life extends beyond just residing here; it’s also about living actively within the community. I spend my time cycling through Denver’s trails, experimenting with local cuisines, and immersing myself in the local music scene. These activities give me a unique perspective on the cultural and outdoor offerings of Colorado. This hands-on approach allows me to provide insider tips and personal recommendations that resonate with both locals and visitors alike.