Golden Gate Canyon State Park Best Campsites

Golden Gate Canyon State Park is very accessible to all Front Range towns and offers a wealth of activities, including overnight camping.

Of course, day visitors will also enjoy biking, hiking, trail running, and wildlife viewing, which is prevalent in this sprawling park.

Despite the easy access to this beautiful park, there is generally no cell phone service here, adding to the place’s wild feel.

But there’s nothing like spending a night or two out of town under the stars. For that, Golden Gate Canyon offers ample opportunity.

And, unlike National Parks, dogs are welcome in the backcountry here.

Backcountry campers looking for something more remote can take advantage of four Appalachian Trail-style three-sided structures that can sleep six people each, as well as about 20 backcountry camping sites.

Golden Gate Canyon is 16 miles northwest of Golden. It encompasses 12,000 acres along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, including portions of Promontory Ridge.

Golden Gate Canyon occupies an ecotone between plains and Front Range forest communities and Ralston, Nott, and Deer Creeks, which drain into Clear Creek.

Situated in Golden, the main activities are biking, camping, fishing, hiking, and horseback riding. There is a limited amount of rock climbing, but it’s located in the backcountry.

The park is open year-round, with cross country skiing and snowshoeing popular during the winter.

There is a wide variety of camping options – cabins, yurts, backcountry, and modern campgrounds.

All five of the park’s fishing ponds, Kriley, Slough, Dude’s Fishing Hole, Forgotten Valley, and ranch, are stocked with fish during the spring and summer.

More than 12,000 acres of pine forest, aspen groves, rocky peaks, and subalpine wildflower meadows provide 35 miles of mostly wooded trails to explore, making it the perfect playground for outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels.

Here are several campsites in Golden Gate Canyon:


Reverend’s Ridge

Reverend's RidgeThere’s room for everyone at Reverend’s Ridge. Trailers, motorhomes, and tents all co-exist peacefully here, but if you’re feeling a bit more glamorous, you’ll find cabins and yurts here, too.

The campground even has flush toilets (ooh la la!), showers, and laundry facilities, so that you never have to smell like a stale bonfire for too long.

Unless you want to… because bonfire perfume only gets better with age; either way, you’ll want to call your mom to tell her about how awesome your camping trip is going.

Except you’ll have to use a payphone. They still exist, at least out here, and that’s a good thing: there’s little to no cell coverage out here.

This campsite is located toward the northern end of Golden Gate Canyon State Park; the easiest way to reach the campgrounds is by taking Highway 93 through Golden to the north and turning left onto Golden Gate Canyon Road of Washington Avenue.

The road will take you from Golden to the campgrounds. The site is located in Gilpin County, which is currently in a Stage 2 Fire Ban.

This campground offers 97 reservable sites, two yurts, and six cabins. The campground is known for its summer and winter activities, with September being a great time to mountain bike, hike, or fish at the campgrounds.


Aspen Meadow

Aspen MeadowLocated only 30 miles from Denver, Golden Gate Canyon State Park is characterized by its rocky peaks, aspen-drenched forests, abundant wildlife, and plentiful activities.

Home to aspen forests and diverse wildlife, the scenic site offers similar activities to neighboring Reverend’s Ridge, including hiking and fishing in the summer months.

The Aspen Meadows Campground features 35 tent-only camping sites with amenities like fire rings, tables, tent pads, water pumps, and unisex toilets.

Two of the sites are even designed to accommodate horses, but you will have to build your stall. Camping is permitted anytime from May 1 to mid-October.

Fall is a wonderful time to visit when the entire campground is surrounded by groves of aspens in mid-change, creating a wonderfully colorful camping experience.

Yurts, cabins, and guesthouses are also available at nearby Reverend Ridge Campground, though this book quickly, so advanced reservations are recommended.

The campsites provide a raised gravel bed and plenty of shade trees. There are several moderate hiking trails from the campground that generally are along well-graded fire roads.

We took the Snowshoe Hare hike to Dude’s Fishing Hole, a catch and release pond. We also took the 2.5 mi Buffalo Trail from Rifleman’s Group Compound, a bit further down Gap Rd., through Forgotten Valley, to a restored settler’s house and pond.

The views from Panorama Point, west on Gap Rd. of the Rockies’ central ridge, are gorgeous, and there is a 3.5 mi loop on the Raccoon Trail there.

There is plenty to see and do here in the winter or summer, including mountain biking, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, hunting, picnicking, and wildlife viewing.

You can also enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. Happy camper!

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