FATMAP difficulty grade
Golder Ranch is a complex trail system with a plethora of trail and route options to choose from.
Complicating the decision process is the unfortunate reality that none of the trails in this area are marked, and unless you're using a digital map like FATMAP, you won't have any idea of the name of the particular section of trail that you might be riding.
So, if you head out to attempt the Golder High Loop, I highly recommend that you download this route for offline navigation. The "High Loop" shown here climbs up to the highest trails in the Golder Ranch Trail System.
At least, it reaches the highest trails that are generally considered worth riding.
Again, since none of the trails are signed, it's a bit fuzzy where this trail network actually ends, but the forest service road that forms the upper edge of this loop is as good a boundary as any. To begin, you'll pedal out the 50-Year Trail like normal and follow the map to locate the Around the Mountain Trail, where most of the climbing takes place.
But before you get to Cowboy Slickrock, you'll take a left onto yet another unmarked trail known as "Hernia" to reach Forest Service Road #4496.
Turn right onto the forest service road, and you'll climb until you reach the Cherry Tank and the singletrack descent by the same name.
Finally, it's time to go downhill! Cherry Tank rips downhill quickly on an eroded, little-ridden singletrack, dumping into the upper end of Around the Mountain and subsequently descending to Cowboy Slickrock.
Cowboy Slickrock is arguably the premier trail in the entire network, featuring fantastic slickrock slabs, long-range views, and steep descents.
It's a challenging romp that's not for the faint of heart, but it can stand against some of the best slickrock slab rides anywhere! This loop wraps up on the Upper 50-Year trail with a return to the trailhead on Lower 50-Year.
But if you haven't had enough yet, you can always extend this ride by tacking on the Middle Gate Trail.