Climb to the panoramic top of North Table Mountain near Golden.


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North Table Mountain is one of two prominent mesas between Denver and Golden (its counterpart is South Table Mountain).

They are the eroded remnants of large lava flows, evidenced by vertical basalt cliffs making the sides of the mesa.

On top is an island of nature in the city, where wildflowers pop in early summer, and mule deer graze open grasslands.

Trails crisscross a broad, mostly flat summit and grant views over the metro area, plus mountains and plains beyond. Many of the trails get crowded with mountain bikers, but the Golden Cliffs Loop is a foot travel-only route that samples some of the best scenery on North Table Mountain.

The Golden Cliffs are a stark crag in the basalt rim, and they’re popular for rock climbing.

You will probably see climbers on the walls, especially on chilly days when the sun warms the south-facing rock. On the run, an initially steep and rocky climb will get your heart beating and your legs warm, but the mellow section on top will let you relax and take in the panorama.

One side of the loop is atop the mesa, above the cliffs, and the other side traverses beneath them.

You can complete the loop in either direction.

Note that this trail gets very hot in warm months and shade is scarce.

Come prepared with water and sun protection. Sources: