Explore Golden’s Fall Foliage by Foot

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“Golden” takes on a whole different meaning when seen in person!

From Creekside Hikes to Mountain Views, from Thomas the Tank Engine to Chili Cook Offs, Colorado’s First Capital City is Truly “Golden” in the Fall 

GOLDEN, CO—Long after the aspen leaves have fallen in the high country of Colorado, the historic town of Golden still offers outstanding hikes surrounded by vivid shades of yellow, gold, burnt orange, amber, red, and brown.  And we’re not just talking about the colors of the craft beer in Golden’s five breweries.

The town has 24 miles of trails in an interconnected system, many of them lined with trees that retain their fall colors long into October. Golden’s outstanding location in Clear Creek Valley, surrounded on one side by mesas and on the other side by the foothills of the Rockies, makes it the town where the mountains meet the plains.  Combine that with one of the prettiest creekside walks in Colorado and a host of special events – from the Knock Your Boots Off! Beer Tasting and Chili Cook-Off to the Golden Gallop – and there’s no better place to be this autumn than Golden, located just minutes from practically anywhere in metro Denver.

And don’t forget, any trip to Golden for a hike or event comes with an opportunity to enjoy free parking while you stroll the breweries, art galleries, shops, restaurants and museums of historic downtown Golden.   Stop by for a bite or a sip, listen to some live music, get in some early Christmas shopping or just enjoy the views.

Golden brews more beer than any other town in America.  Hike through lovely fall golden colors, then choose you beer from the same array of ambers, yellows and browns at one of the town’s taverns and breweries.  Here are some favorites hikes:

  • North Table Mountain Trail takes hikers 1.5 miles along the southwest side of the North Table Mountain below a gorgeous cliff band with excellent views of the Golden valley. This moderate to advanced trail is easily accessible off of Highway 93 just north downtown Golden.
  • Chimney Gulch Trail climbs 2,000 feet in elevation in 2.5 miles, crossing streams and passing through evergreen forests to the summit of Lookout Mountain.  Here, moderate or advanced hikers have a choice – continue on to Jefferson County Nature Center to learn more about the flora and fauna of the area, or swing over to Buffalo Bill’s Grave and Museum, to learn about the most famous frontier entertainer in the West. Chimney Gulch Trailhead is accessed via Lookout Mountain Road west of Highway 6.
  • Nightbird Gulch Trail is a 1.8 mile-long dedicated hiking trail that connects to the larger Mount Galbraith Park system and offers challenging terrain with stunning views. This moderate to advanced trail is accessed on Iowa Drive west of Highway 93.
  • Clear Creek Tail.  The most popular trail in Golden offers all forms of recreation, from strolling to biking.  The paved, mostly level recreational trail stretches from the beginnings of Clear Creek Canyon, all the way down to the South Platte River in Denver, 19 miles East, offering a tree-lined path with fishing, horseback riding, kayaking – and even gold panning along its banks.  Clear Creek Canyon was the historic route the railroad and stagecoaches took to the gold strikes in Central City and Black Hawk

To complement your golden hikes, historic downtown Golden hosts a handful of great fall events. Some of our favorites include:

  • Knock Your Boots Off! Beer Tasting and Chili Cook Off– Head to beautiful historic downtown Golden on October 11 for the Knock Your Boots Off! Beer Tasting and Chili Cook Off. Attendees have the opportunity to taste more than 70 beers and 50 chilis, while listening to live music. Visit goldencochamber.org for to purchase tickets.
  • Day Out With Thomas the Train– Thomas the Tank Engine chugs into the Colorado Railroad Museum for the annual Day Out With Thomas the Train, September 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28. All fans of Thomas are invited to come spend the day with their favorite No. 1 engine. The event provides an opportunity for kids to ride on board a train led by Thomas and have their pictures taken with Sir Topham Hatt, the controller of Thomas’ railway. For the first time at the Colorado Railroad Museum Thomas the Tank Engine will speak when the train arrives and departs from the boarding area.
  • Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Exhibition – Since 1974, when community watercolor artists approached then Director Marion Metsopoulos with the idea of a national watercolor show, Foothills Art Center has established its own interpretation of this exhibition by introducing “watermedia” as its emphasis. The goal was, and still is, to reach beyond the tradition of pure watercolor and embrace innovation in water-based media that now includes
  • Golden Gallop- The Golden Gallop, Golden’s biggest annual race, will explode into galloping motion for the tenth year running on Sunday, September 27. Starting beneath the City’s famous arch, right in the center of historic downtown Golden, and finishing in Parfet Park besides rushing Clear Creek, the Golden Gallop leads its runners on scenic 5k and 10k loops.
  • Homesteaders Day at the Clear Creek History Park – On Oct. 9, experience 19th century homesteading, explore the historic cabins and take a lesson at the schoolhouse during the Homesteaders Day at the Clear Creek History Park. The park will be abuzz with all sorts of living history programming, demonstrations and games. Free and open to all ages.
  • YETI night at AMC- The American Mountaineering Center in downtown Golden hosts Yeti Night on October 29 for Thirsty Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Yeti Night is for fun, food, beer and dressing up in your Yeti costume. This annual event is sure to get you in the Halloween mood.
  • Zombie Bicycle Cruise – The final Golden Cruise of 2015 promises to be wicked fun, with a zombie theme. Mark your calendar for the last Tuesday of the month, October 27. Cruisers meet up at 5:30 p.m. at the Farmer’s Market parking lot at 10th and Illinois. For more info, check out visitgolden.com.

To make a day of it and experience Golden’s small town charm, plan your visit at www.visitgolden.com.

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