Lookout Mountain via Chimney Gulch, Golden CO Hiked 2/15/14

20 Feb
Best view of the day before the clouds moved in.

Best view of the day before the clouds moved in.

Chimney Gulch> Windy Saddle Trail> Lookout Mountain

Starting Elevation:  5780 Ft

Highest Elevation: 7570 Ft ( total elevation gain around 1800 feet)

Trail uses: Hiker, Biker & Horses

Trail Length:  Officially Approximately 8 miles, my fitbit said a little over 9 miles

Degree of difficulty: Moderate, it is steep in some parts but I am not sure I would say it is difficult.

Bathrooms: Not at the entrance off of 6th Avenue but there is one at the Windy Saddle parking lot and at the Lookout Mountain Nature Center.

Pets:  Yes on leash.

View from the Lookout Mountain Nature Center

View from the Lookout Mountain Nature Center

I have driven past this hike a million times and I am always wondering 2 things.  First, what a weird place to pick up a trail and second, dang that is crowded!  It has seemed crowded regardless of conditions too!

This past Saturday, I had hoped beyond hope that we would have our new snowshoes but we didn’t so I decided it was time to check this particular trail out.   I am not sure why I have been avoiding this one for the past 2 years, but strangely I have manged to completely block it out of my mind.  It is a shame too because after the first mile and a half it is beautiful.

You start out literally on the side of 6th Avenue in Golden… And I mean on the side of the road.  If I hadn’t passed it a million times I would never know the Chimney Gulch trail head was here.

The pull off On 6th Avenue to start the trail

The pull off On 6th Avenue to start the trail

Starting out on Chimney Gulch

Starting out on Chimney Gulch

The first mile just starts climbing up along the road and the neighborhood.  Before it gets steep, we came to this cement something or other that acted as a bridge over a little creek or drainage crossing.  I only mention it because there is also a path you can take over to your left which seems more likely but it is the neighborhood access trail, not the Chimney Gulch Trail.  So climb that cement thing and cross over, continuing up.

Drainage Crossing

Drainage Crossing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On Saturday the trail was super muddy all through this section, with the wind blowing good and strong but strangely warm, we were sliding all over the place!

trail conditions on the first half of Chimney Gulch

trail conditions on the first half of Chimney Gulch

After the first mile you come up to a dirt road/driveway… more likely driveway, go left and look on your right and you will see the continuation of the trail.

Me at the Driveway break with the sign Aaron made for my backpack advertising my blog...isn't he sweet!?!

Me at the Driveway break with the sign Aaron made for my backpack advertising my blog…isn’t he sweet!?!

go left when you get here

go left when you get here

Trail picks up again on the right

Trail picks up again on the right

This next section of the trail goes for 1.5 miles and crosses over a true paved road 2 times.  This is a windy mountain road that I assume ultimately goes to the top of lookout mountain too, but you have to watch out for both cars and bikers.  It was pretty slick from snow/ice, we did have to put on traction devices to help us walk through it safely about a half a mile in.  We must have hit at the right time or the wind and clouds kept everyone at bay, because we had most of the way up to ourselves.

Crossing the road to get to the second section of Chimney Gulch

Crossing the road to get to the second section of Chimney Gulch

Icy conditions

Icy conditions

Views are changing

Views are changing

At the second Road crossing you come to this very picturesque parking lot with a great view of mountains and beautiful stonework.  This is the Windy Saddle Trailhead and parking lot where the one port-o-potty is.  From here it is just over a mile to the Lookout Mountain Nature Center and top of the mountain.

As we climb up to the Windy Saddle Trailhead

As we climb up to the Windy Saddle Trailhead

Windy Saddle Parking lot

Windy Saddle Parking lot

Windy Saddle

Windy Saddle Trail

Windy Saddle Trail

I am not sure exactly when it moved in, but about half way up this final climb, clouds encompassed the top of the mountain and all views evaporated.  Don’t get me wrong, the cloud and fog brought its own beauty to the hike, but I have no good summit shots for you.  Instead of ohhing  and ahhing at Golden down below, we hit the Nature Center talked to the people running it that and found out that Boettcher Mansion was open to the public right that minute for wedding reception tours.  I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to check that out so we walked through there too.  I am sure the views are spectacular here  but the clouds just got thicker.  The house was hauntingly beautiful in all the fog.

Take the Lookout Mt Trail

Take the Lookout Mt Trail

Trail Conditions on Lookout Mt Trail

Trail Conditions on Lookout Mt Trail

At the Top of Lookout Mountain

At the Top of Lookout Mountain

Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve

Inside Nature Reserve

Inside Nature Reserve

Boettcher Mansion

Boettcher Mansion

We made a super quick descent because it was cold up in the clouds!  There were way more people out on the trail now and much of the ice that caused problems on the middle 1.5 miles was melting at a good pace.

On the way down

On the way down

I will tell you I am not very fond of the first mile of this hike, it is kind of boring and your views are of houses with some of Golden spread out below you.  But once we got to that second part, the surroundings totally changed and it was all trees, mountains and terrain which was all lovely.  I think if we do this one again, I would start at the first road crossing on the second section of Chimney Gulch.   I am not sure how to get to that road but I think  it is the light just south of the turn off for the first section.   If you find yourself in Golden CO and need a good diversion, check this hike out, I think you will like it.  My Favorite Pictures from the hike will be after the directions.

Directions: Take 6th Ave West from Denver to Golden for about 12 miles. About ¼ mile before the 6th Ave/Route 58/Route 93 intersection there will be an unmarked pullout on the left side of the road. Park here. You will see some single track leading up the mountain. Take this.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA fav1 Denver back at windy saddle

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10 Responses to “Lookout Mountain via Chimney Gulch, Golden CO Hiked 2/15/14”

  1. Heather 02/20/2014 at 10:06 pm #

    Hey there! Fun hike! You’re right about the road. Lookout Mountain Rd is the first one south of Clear Creek Canyon which is Highway six. Go uphill at that light. Pass through the stone pillars. It will take you all the way up if you like. Thanks for posting this hike!

    • hikingtohealthy 02/21/2014 at 1:48 pm #

      Ohhh thank you Heather! It is good to know maybe cutting of that first mile is easy! Thanks for reading!

  2. marcopesce57 02/21/2014 at 6:28 am #

    Thanks for posting about these trails. This hike will be a great training opportunity to prepare for our March crossing of the Pyrenees while on the Camino de Santiago. We will likely hike it this week as our last hike in the states before we depart. Keep up the great work!

    • hikingtohealthy 02/21/2014 at 10:35 am #

      Oh my gosh, you must be so excited that it is finally here!!! I cannot wait to read about your journey!!! I hope you like this trail, bring traction devices, the backside is in the shade and probably has some nice icy spots hanging on. Thank you!!!

  3. nancytex2013 02/22/2014 at 6:25 pm #

    Nice job Kathy!
    p.s. I love the sign!! I’m thinking I need one too! 🙂

    • hikingtohealthy 02/23/2014 at 8:00 am #

      Thanks! He was so cute coming up with them… he did one for his backpack too.

  4. AndrewGills 02/23/2014 at 12:08 pm #

    I love reading about your walks. Your blog is one of the reasons I am going on my cycling adventure later this year. I am hoping to cycle North America after I do South America. Then I will stop in Colorado to do some hiking 🙂

    • hikingtohealthy 02/23/2014 at 6:55 pm #

      Wow! Thank you so much Andrew, that means a lot from you when I know what an amazing person you are! Please let me know when you are here, I would love to show you our state!!!! Travel Safe!!!

  5. clgphotos 03/11/2014 at 11:36 am #

    Love the sign. What a neat idea. I bet it also helps motivate you. Going to have to get my wife to make me one. I have no artist talent in that regard.

    • hikingtohealthy 03/11/2014 at 12:51 pm #

      Thank you! He was so cute putting it together for me, I love it!!!! Like you, I have no artistic talent in that area so I am very lucky to have him taking care of me!

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