Round-Trip Length: 2.75 miles
Trailhead Location: The trailhead is north of Golden on State Highway 93, just north of Pine Ridge Road.
Sunday was another nice day with a high of 54 degrees so we decided to go out for a quick hike around noon before moving our daughter back to college. We decided on North Table Mountain Park near Golden, CO. Another Jefferson County Open Space Park, in December they completed the 7.5-mile North Table Mountain Loop trail, bringing the total trail miles in the park to 14 miles. We only had time on Sunday to hike a little under 3 miles and will have to go back another day to complete the entire loop.
North Table Mountain is a mesa located just northeast of downtown Golden, Colorado. Its most distinctive feature is its cap of basaltic rock formed from Tertiary lava flows from the nearby Ralston Dike. The mesa is habitat for prairie dogs and a population of 80 to 100 mule deer. Golden eagles and red-tailed hawks nest in the mesa cliffs.
We started our hike around noon and headed up the steep gravel road to the top of the mesa, climbing about 450 feet in the first 0.7 miles.
Near the climbing area the trail splits with the left fork heading down the Tilting Mesa trail and the right fork continuing on the North Table Loop. We continued down the right fork. After continuing down the trail a distance, we took this small side trail up the hill to the right to the top of a ridge to get a view looking down on the Coors Brewery in Golden below.
We returned to the main trail. After 1.1 miles from the trailhead, we came to another split – the North Table Loop trail continuing to the left and the Golden Cliffs trail heading to the right. We chose the Golden Cliffs trail. A view of downtown Denver to our east.
After another 0.25 miles, the trail ended at a small climbing area where we saw some people practicing their climbing skills. It was about 1:00pm so we turned around and headed back the way we had come. A view looking back across the mesa.
Another shot of the North Quarry climbing area as we approached the area again.
A shot of the Sea Cliffs.
We took a side trail up and around the climbing area. Other hikers taking the same trail up above the Sea Cliffs.
A shot to the west of the foothills with some more cliffs in the foreground.
A view looking back down towards the parking lot from the Sea Cliffs.
Views looking both up and down the steep gravel road as we headed back to the car.
We made it back to the car around 2:00pm and headed back to help move our daughter back into her dorm for the start of the new college quarter. We’ll have to come back to this park again when we have more time to complete the entire 7.5-mile North Table Mountain loop.