Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado, is just a few miles from the city center. It offers some relatively easy hikes with truly incredible views!
Lookout Mountain is an ideal trek for first-timers, families, and visitors to the area. Trail conditions are generally favorable on Lookout Mountain’s packed dirt trails. Due to its proximity to Denver, Lookout Mountain is a trending hiking destination.
There are tons of things to do, see, eat, drink, and experience on Lookout Mountain. You can access vast forests, laid-back mountain towns, tall peaks, and other attractions as you hike the summit. This location is also ideal for longer overnight trips and weekend outings because of the various activities it offers.
If you plan to hike Lookout Mountain in Golden Colorado (one of the cutest small towns in Colorado) and are curious about the other things to do in this area, you are in the right place!
Here’s absolutely everything you need to know not only about hiking Lookout Mountain in Denver, but also the best things to do on the mountain.
What You Need To Know About Lookout Mountain In Denver
Highlights: Several trail systems heading to a summit that offers incredible vistas and historical treasure
Distance: 6.9 miles out and back
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Elevation Gain: Around 1800 feet
Trail: Dirt, rock
Hiking Time: 2-3 hours
Permit Info: Hiking Lookout Mountain does not require any permit.
Golden, Colorado’s Lookout Mountain is a 110-acre outdoor enthusiast’s playground about 20 minutes west of Denver. Open Space of Jefferson County maintains and provides an accessible entrance.
Overlooking downtown Golden, Colorado’s Lookout Mountain sits over 7,300 feet above the ground. A trip to the top, whether by foot or car, is well worth the effort due to the area’s natural beauty and the stunning views it offers.
You can see the rocky mountains and Denver in all their glory atop this mountain.
The local Ute Indian Tribe, the area’s first known occupants, used this peak as a lookout. Even now, its towering statue above the surrounding landscape lends validity to its moniker.
Lookout Mountain has long been essential to Golden’s recreation, transportation, water system, and telecommunications infrastructure.
Bicyclists, rock climbers, and hikers flock to the area because of the numerous paths it offers. You can walk, bike, or drive to the top to check out these views.
Those looking for a paved road with elevation gains might ride Lookout Mountain Road. As the winding road approaches Highway 6, drivers should keep an eye out for bicyclists. The Chimney Gulch/Lookout Mountain track, which begins on Highway 6 and ascends Lookout Mountain, is suitable for mountain biking.
It’s also an excellent place for rock climbers to find bolted routes that range in difficulty!
At the summit of Lookout Mountain Colorado, tourists can take a panoramic view of Denver. Both Buffalo Bill’s burial and memorial Museum are atop the mountain and are both famous things to do in the area. William F. Cody, the legendary buffalo hunter and star of the Wild West Show, lived in the Museum’s exhibits.
Directions to Lookout Mountain
There are numerous ways to go to Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado, and numerous trailheads when hiking the mountain. Here is a couple of them:
Windy Saddle Park is set in Golden, Colorado, just a short drive from Lookout Mountain. The antennae on this mountain are visible if you’ve ever traveled westward from Denver to the mountains.
Windy Saddle Park, on the north slope of Lookout Mountain, is roughly a 30-minute drive from Denver and offers three hiking paths for the more daring among you.
On the weekends, this park is likely to be crowded with other adventurers looking for a breath of fresh air. Don’t be deterred by this. You’ll find the peace you’re looking for within a quarter-mile of the parking lot, and you’ll have the companionship of other hikers if you’re worried about being alone in the woods.
On any given day, you can choose from various paths in Windy Saddle Park, which is the park’s most appealing feature.
Chimney Gulch Trailhead
If you want to hike from Chimney Gulch Trailhead, just off 6th Avenue (Highway 6) in Golden, Colorado, turn onto 6th Avenue and head toward Clear Creek Canyon Road. Look for a little dirt parking lot next to the Colorado School of Mines Football field.
On the western edge of 6th Avenue are two tiny open dirt parking lots (Highway 6). Approximately 20 automobiles can fit in each parking space. At the trailhead, there are no restrooms available.
If you’re having difficulties finding parking, seek the Colorado School of the Mines baseball and football grounds, and the two lots will be on the other side of the road. You won’t find any restrooms in the parking lot.
Best Time to Hike Lookout Mountain
You can hike Lookout Mountain each day of the year, but there are a few things to remember when trekking to the mountain’s summit.
Lookout Mountain can be both magical and dangerous during the winter months. Although the trails are quieter than in summer, your adventure will be challenging. It is worth the challenge, as you can picture breathtaking vistas in thin sheets of snow.
With the season becoming warmer, a hike to Lookout Mountain during spring is another beauty. You can see green trees and other surrounding views from the top of the mountain. Unlike winter, the trail will start to have more people like tourists and hikers flock.
Lookout Mountain has been a prevalent destination for months. During this warmer time, many people enjoy the picturesque sceneries and other activities in the area. But it would help if you were watchful during these times, as wild animals can linger across the trails.
The fall season also sees many visitors in the area. You can witness breathtaking views in different colors. While on the trail, be careful of the slippery leaves and other branches on the ground.
Ways To Go up the Lookout Mountain
There are two ways to go up Lookout Mountain; driving and hiking. Regardless of your preferred method, accessing the summit will give you the most scenic routes along the way. Here are the two forms of going up (and down) Lookout Mountain!
Roads on Lookout Mountain
The 7,377-foot peak of the Front Range west of Denver is a must-see. The Ute tribe occupied the mountain long before the surrounding settlement of Golden was formed and utilized it as a vital viewing point. These plains extend eastward for miles in every direction, making it a popular tourist spot.
There are several hiking trails, road cycling routes, and a winding, steep road to cycle on the mountain, all of which you can explore. The Lariat Loop, built-in 1913, is a 4.6-mile switchback with 56 twists that ascends from 2,000 feet to Buffalo Bill’s burial at the mountain’s summit.
“Buffalo Bill” Cody is buried at the peak of this mountain, making this mountain a must-see for anybody interested in American history. Baptized the day before he died at the Denver Cathedral, Cody is a well-known soldier and a showman.
The decision to bury Cody at the summit of Lookout Mountain came after he told his wife of his desires. Additionally, the Buffalo Bill Museum, which aims to preserve his story-worthy legacy, is situated on the mountaintop.
Lookout Mountain Road begins on the west side of 19th Street, just west of 6th Avenue. For around 2 miles, there is a marked cycling path. Bikers, pedestrians, hikers, longboarders, and those heading to the Lookout Mountain hang gliding and paragliding site all utilize the road frequently.
Trails on Lookout Mountain
Starting from the city, the Lookout Mountain Trail will soon have you hearing nothing but birdsong and crunching earth beneath your feet and a few mountain bikers passing by. The trail will eventually take you through an evergreen, but first, you’ll see hectares of valleys that arise out of nowhere.
Even while the Lookout Mountain Trail is only a few miles long, it’s packed with numerous side trails worth exploring if you have the time. There is a bifurcation in the path after passing a rockslide.
Although there is no marking at this point, Lookout Mountain Trail ascends and turns right. To avoid becoming lost, you should backtrack if you encounter an unusually high concentration of loose rock on this well-traveled trail.
You can see the fantastic view of Golden from an open ridge after following the fork. As it winds down Colorow Road, the Lookout Mountain Trail eventually arrives at the Lookout Mountain Nature Center & Preserve.
As a result of turning back at the nature center, you’ll be able to explore additional side trails and their associated views. Whatever direction you take, this private excursion outside the city will not disappoint you.
Predominantly dirt and grass covered the first several kilometers of the route, which was regular high desert hiking. It’s never an entertaining experience to have to cross a road when hiking. You’ll come across roadways which you should have driven up.
Each time the Gulch Valley Trail intersects the Lookout Mountain Road, there is a parking place.
The second parking lot is located approximately an hour and a half into the walk (about 1.5 miles from Lookout Mountain summit.) The most excellent sights of the day were immediately outside the parking lot.
You can see the views of distant mountains and Clear Creek Canyon directly below.
It was a significant change of scenery in the first few miles of the trail, conquered by aspen and pine trees. About fifteen minutes later, you’ll reach the summit, where the views are stunning.
If the climate permits, you can spend some time at the summit. Mountains and other landscapes can be visible in the distance.
However, if furious clouds begin to form, you can only have a few minutes left at the summit. Leaving the area and heading down the mountain is preferable when the weather gets bad.
You can come across various wild animals as you descend the mountain. Rattlesnakes and deer are typical sights in the area. As you walk your way down, exercise extreme caution.
The Lookout Mountain Trail begins at the Windy Saddle and ascends to the Lookout Mountain Nature Center via an evergreen forest. Weekends are the busiest times to climb the path, with most hikers congregating at the trail’s beginning and ending overlooks.
To get to the Beaver Creek Trail, take the trail west from Windy Saddle. After skirting the ridge, the trail enters the forest. Take a right here and head up the hill—the path here follows moderate switchbacks through the woodland with numerous lookouts.
Continue upward beyond the intersection with the Buffalo Bill Trail on the right. Look at your request as you approach the Lookout Mountain Nature Center’s gate, and you’ll see a bench-shaped granite outcrop.
This outcrop offers the most pleasing view, and a short trail leads down to it. Turn around at the Lookout Mountain Trailhead and return directly to the Windy Saddle along the path you took to get here.
There are plenty of other activities that you can do on Lookout Mountain. Here are some of the best things you can do in the area.
William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s legacy lives on at the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, a Denver-owned and operated complex.
“Buffalo Bill” Cody’s tomb and surrounding facilities on Lookout Mountain Park are maintained by the National Park Service; it collects and cares for objects associated with Cody’s life and times from 1846 to 1917, and it documents Cody’s continued impact on American culture.
Cody rested at Lookout Mountain Park in Lookout Mountain, Wyoming, where he passed away in 1917. A close acquaintance tells Mrs. Cody and other family members that he had requested to be put to rest on Mount Cody in the Great Plains.
Johnny Baker established the Buffalo Bill Memorial Museum near Buffalo Bill’s final resting place in 1921. The Museum’s relics accumulated throughout his career and resulted from the friendships he made while performing in the Wild West.
Even though she passed away and lay next to her husband just weeks before the Museum opened, Mrs. Cody donated many artifacts. However, the Bakers owned the antiques and Museum, not Denver’s city.
Using the name of Cody’s hunting lodge in Yellowstone Park, they renamed the building “Pahaska Tepee.”
The Buffalo Bill Museum is home to some year-round displays and a special temporary exhibit dedicated to Buffalo Bill’s life and times. In addition to Buffalo Bill’s birthday celebration in February, the location hosts a variety of other festivities throughout the year.
Buffalo Bill’s tomb is the Museum’s most important exhibit and the focal point of its special events. This place is just 30 minutes from downtown Denver, where you can enjoy the fresh mountain air, feel the Ponderosa Pines, and see animals.
The naturalists and educators at Lookout Mountain Nature Center are committed to fostering a lifelong love of nature. Visitors can tour the foothill’s habitat using a series of interactive exhibits.
There is a hands-on play area and an observation room for the children to enjoy. Every season, the Nature Center provides free naturalist-led programs for people, families, and groups of all sizes. Guests can also take a meander through the nature preserve while they are there.
The Beaver Brook Trail connects Windy Saddle Park and Genesee Park to the north and south for hikers only. Instructional Methods give a variety of events throughout the year on various topics related to the natural history, plants, and history of the county.
Interactive displays, hiking paths, an observation room, and more await nature lovers at the Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve. Mountain lions, bobcats, and elk roam the 110-acre park you can see, which is also a great experience in the area.
Tiers of Zion is a distinctive location along Clear Creek Canyon. It is a beautiful summertime crag since it is located on Lookout Mountain’s north face and is shielded from the traffic noise many of the other famous cliffs in the canyon suffer.
Slab and face climb leads up to airy perches overlooking tranquil woodlands filled with willows, wildflowers, and much wildlife in the Golden region.
While paragliding, you can see vultures, raccoons, and perhaps a golden eagle circling above, and hummingbirds will accost you as you ascend in the spring and summer.
There isn’t a city or house in sight from the broad vistas to the west surrounding Clear Creek Canyon. Although it is only a few blocks from downtown Golden, it feels like a world apart from the traffic and bustle of the canyon.
When climbing or belaying, it can be challenging to see your partner or your next hold if the sun is directly overhead during the day, especially if you’re on the Lower Tier in the summer when the ridgeline blocks the sun from shining directly down the routes.
Cell phone reception is generally good in the area. The earth in the Lower Tier descends abruptly after a thin swath follows the bottom of the walls. There are fewer shrubs, more gravel, and even less flat ground in the Upper Tier, making it much less inviting to groups congregating at the foot of climbs.
The Tiers’ upper and lower layers naturally break into multiple unique faces. From the main trail, you can get to both of them. If you’re at one level and have to get to the other, walking backward to the trail connection is best rather than scrambling between them.
Hang Gliding and Paragliding
Paragliding, like hang gliding, is a popular technique to get a bird’s eye view of the planet. Several locations provide year-round tandem paragliding flights, while others are only open for a limited time each year. The most admirable part is that you can take pictures while gliding with your camera.
Colorado is one of the most charming states in the union. Because there is so much natural beauty, getting a bird’s eye view is sometimes the best option. These two activities, paragliding and hang gliding, are among the most memorable in the world.
If you’re not afraid of heights, or even if you are, try one of these unusual activities a shot. Once you’re back on solid ground, you’ll cherish the memories and savor the exhilarating ride back down. This season, make a reservation for a tandem hang glide or paragliding flight.
All around the state, paragliding companies are available. If the weather is good, flights can last anywhere from ten to twenty-five minutes, depending on the location of your launch.
Instructors who have been flying for a long time will ensure that your flight is as enjoyable as possible. They use a parachute-like canopy to glide through the air.
As you soar above the Lookout Mountains, you can capture breathtaking images with your camera. From May to September, summertime is when most people go paragliding, but it’s possible to do it all year round in specific locations.
Tandem paragliding is available in several sites, including Aspen, Boulder, Glenwood Springs, Golden, Telluride, and Vail.
In Colorado, hang gliding is less prevalent than paragliding, but it’s still a unique experience that takes you to new heights. A bird-like flying provides the safest and most convenient way to see this phenomenon.
Tips on Hiking Lookout Mountain
Dog Friendly: Lookout Mountain is dog-friendly and great place to take your puppy for a walk. Be alert for snakes, especially in the summer, when rattlesnakes are common.
Loop Hike: Lookout Mountain is a one-way hike, but if you want to go further, there are other nearby hiking paths you can take.
Rattlesnakes Awareness: Rattlesnakes in the spring and early summer months are frequent on Lookout Mountain. If you’re hiking or planning to go off the beaten path, you’ll want to be aware of these hazards. Despite their relative lack of venom, rattlesnakes pose a severe threat to humans and their pets if they are not faced seriously.
Rest in Parking Areas: You can always park at one of the two pull-offs on the route to the summit if 7 miles is too long. The bottom parking lot is .85 miles away, while the upper parking lot is 2.32 miles away. You can shorten the hike by parking at both locations with limited parking capacity. The second parking lot has the most incredible views, hands down.
Best Views for Pictures: The spectacular views of the hike can be seen directly off the parking area of the second parking location. Photographing the sunrise or sunset from Lookout Mountain would be possible. Looking out across the plains from the summit of Lookout Mountain is a great place to take photos because of the mountain’s thick cloud cover. Of course, you must exercise caution, but if you are taking pictures of a lightning storm, you are probably no stranger to the experience.
Things To Consider When Hiking Lookout Mountain
These are the things that you should consider before hiking Lookout Mountain in Colorado.
Colorado’s Front Range includes the grassland prairie, the pinyon-ponderosa forests, and the mountains, all of which sustain various amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles.
A few of the wildlife that calls the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains home: Rabbit, hare, prairie, dogs, fox, coyote, badger, bobcat, mule deer, elk, black bear, and mountain lion.
When you hike up the mountain, there is a possibility of encountering wild animals. Ensure that their ecosystems will not be affected by your hike and protect yourself!
Leave No Trace
Since the Lookout Mountain in Colorado is home to many wild animals and is famous to tourists and hikers, it is wise to keep the area as it is when you first arrive. Pick up whatever you bring out as you continue up the mountain.
Stick only to designated trails and keep out of sensitive and native areas. Clean up any recyclables and trash that you bring with you. You can put it in the designated bins along the route to preserve the site.
Use of Trail
The trail of Lookout Mountain in Colorado is accessible to bikes. We recommend keeping bikes under control and at a safe speed. Stick only to the bike lanes and do not wander off the course.
Be polite to residential neighbors. Be aware of your noise levels, especially when it is dark.
Lodging Options Near Lookout Mountain in Colorado
Options for housing can vary widely depending on your demands and aspirations. Before or after your trek on Lookout Mountain, you can stay at one of these neighboring lodges or utilize some campsites if camping is what you prefer.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park, located about 30 miles from Denver, has two campgrounds with electricity hookups and tent sites, stocked fishing ponds, and picnic areas.
You can see one hundred miles of the continental divide from the Panorama Point Scenic Overlook. You can hold workplace picnics, weddings, family reunions, and everything at the state park’s extensive group facilities.
In addition to camping, Golden Gate Canyon State Park has five cottages and two yurts for tourists. For the first time in Colorado State Park’s history, the park began leasing out guest cottages in 2008.
Cross-country skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and ice skating are all popular winter activities. Golden Gate Canyon State Park’s extensive network of hiking paths caters to all skill levels.
The usage of animal footprints denotes the trailheads of Golden Gate Canyon’s twelve different paths, each with its unique name and designation. The main park roads lead right up to the trailhead parking lots. On the park’s multi-use trails, mountain bikes, and horses are welcome.
Nott Creek trailhead near Red Barn Group Picnic Area and Kriley Overlook above Kriley Pond have plenty of parking for horse trailers.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park is a brilliant option to stay to do plenty of activities in the area other than hiking Lookout Mountain in Colorado.
The Eddy Taproom & Hotel gives locals and visitors a place to meet up with old and new friends, unwind after a long day of exploring, and enjoy each other’s company in a lively and vibrant atmosphere.
Eddy is an excellent location for a pre-adventure base camp outside Denver, nestled at the bottom of the mountains. Mile-high walks and long days are celebrated with BBQ feasts, while the strains of urban life are set aside owing to spectacular mountain sunsets in this mountainous paradise.
Rental bicycles, fitness centers, and other forms of entertainment are available on-site. There is a coffee shop, full bar, snack bar, and restaurant on-site for guests to enjoy. Air conditioning and high-speed wireless internet are available in every room at this hotel.
This housing option also provides a refrigerator, hair dryer, and mini bar as additional conveniences. The Eddy Taproom & Hotel is a great place to stay after climbing Lookout Mountain in Colorado if you want to relax or do more.
1400 10th Street is the location of the City of Golden’s small, welcoming RV park. It has a country-like atmosphere and is close enough to Golden’s historic center to be easily accessible on foot.
Large, clean toilets, shower stalls, and laundry facilities are available at the RV park year-round. There are 22 full hookups and 11 50-amp electric-only sites available.
RV Park Clear Creek Enjoy the peace and tranquility of Clear Creek’s banks while still only a short distance from downtown through the Clear Creek Trail. Within only 20 minutes from downtown Denver, Clear Creek RV Park allows quick access to Central City and Blackhawk.
If you like to be close to downtown and enjoy what it offers before or after hiking Lookout Mountain in Colorado, Clear Creek is the perfect place to lodge.
The Dove Inn, a Golden institution with a new design and an ancient character, is located at the base of the Rocky Mountains and only steps from the historic downtown.
It has just completed a renovation of its exquisite 1866 10-room mansion to include all of the modern conveniences guests expect while keeping the home’s original Victorian charm. The Dove Inn employs a service paradigm that is mainly unseen from view.
In a typical continental breakfast, you’ll find things like yogurt, granola, and pastries on the menu. The hotel’s breakfast is composed of primarily locally sourced ingredients, and the coffee is roasted on-site by some of the most excellent roasters in town.
While the hotel is happy to assist guests with additional necessities, it prefers to keep itself out of the guests’ way. A stay in this beautiful hotel will allow you to enjoy the property as if it is your own.
Located in historic Golden, the Hampton by Hilton Denver West/Golden is just a short drive from the city’s most popular attractions.
Travelers on business or pleasure will appreciate the hotel’s amenities: complimentary hot breakfast and Wi-Fi, an indoor swimming pool, business facilities, and a fitness center.
Among Golden’s hotels, the Hampton Inn Golden is one of the best-kept secrets. While in Denver on business or for pleasure, the Hampton Inn by Hilton Denver West Golden is a terrific spot to unwind and take in the sights and sounds of the Rocky Mountains.
Its proximity to Colorado attractions such as Fossil Trace Golf Course, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, Colorado Mills Mall, the Coors Brewery Tour, American Mountaineering Museum, the Colorado School of Mines, Dinosaur Ridge, Bandimere Speedway, and Blackhawk Geoservices makes it great for visitors.
You can also enjoy leisure activities near the hotel, such as hiking, golfing, and fishing.
Some of the few perks offered by this 121-room Golden, Colorado hotel are a 37″ LCD TV with top-quality movie channels, a labor desk with an adjustable lamp, an additional laptop-sized desk for guests to use, and free high-speed internet access.
A stay in this hotel will not just shelter you before or after your hike on Lookout Mountain in Colorado, but it will also bring and give you access to other activities you can enjoy while in the area.
There is much to be found in the Silk Pincushion’s features!
There is a wide range of activities, from resting on the weekends to attending business meetings and holiday parties. It features a carriage dwelling suite with a kitchenette, three gorgeous Victorian-themed guest rooms, and a modern-themed room.
You can experience the comfort of your home in every hotel suite. With complimentary soaps and shampoos, you’ll be able to wash your face and hair in the privacy of your bathroom.
Their lovely and spacious dining area is where you’ll be able to enjoy a hearty breakfast. Access to the client portions of the house is available via a numeric code. Free Wi-Fi is accessible in all guest rooms and the entire property.
Equipment and accessories can also help you with your sewing and quilting. Sewing machine components and accessories can be found here, including needles, fabric, rulers, and more.
The company’s team, who are more than delighted to assist you with your endeavors, will punctually address any queries or concerns you have.
Located about 1.5 miles from Lookout Mountain, this motel is ideal for preparing or resting before or after a journey to the mountain’s summit.
Lookout Mountain is a must-see in Golden, Colorado if you’re seeking activities involving the great outdoors. The mountain’s steepness and difficulty make it ideal for people who want to challenge themselves and enjoy breathtaking views at the top. You can reach the peak by foot, bicycle, or car.
For those who prefer to drive, there is a road ascending to the summit. As you reach the pinnacle, you’ll witness awe-inspiring views. You can also enjoy other activities other than hiking. You can start by exploring a museum to paragliding!
Save this article if you plan to hike Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado, to get ideas you can include in your itinerary on this area!