Trail Snapshot: Blue Grouse Trail
- Hike Distance: 1.4 mile RT
- Difficulty: Easy to Medium
- Duration: approx 1hr
- Trail Type: Out & Back
- Elevation Gain: +400′
- Seasons: All Year, depending on snow fall
- Dogs: Allowed on Leash
- Pass Required: Daily Pass Link Annual State Parks Pass Link
- Hike Trail Map: Click for a Map of Blue Grouse Trail
- Denver Drive Time: Approx. 1hr
- Directions: Click for Google Map
- Town Nearest Hike: Golden, Colorado
- Beauty: Wildflowers, pine and spruce trees, aspen meadows, big boulders, wildlife, mountain views.
- Activities: Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding (permitted on trail), Fishing at Kriley Pond (permit required).
- Video: Click For a Video
Before you start this hike there are some things you should know – a Colorado State Park Pass is required to enter Golden Gate Canyon State Park. A day pass can be purchased at the Visitors Center upon entrance into the park. Some trails offer passes at self-serve dispensers, but the Blue Grouse Trail does not.
Hiking the Blue Grouse Trail
You’ll make your way along a nice dirt path with a few rocky sections. The elevation gain is slight, and this short hike can be turned into a longer one by joining up with the Mule Deer Trail where the Blue Grouse trail terminates at .7 mile. Mule Deer Trail is a 7.4 mile loop, and there is a Golden Gate Park map at the trail intersection.
The Blue Grouse Trail is a popular trail for mountain bikers who use it to access the longer trails in Golden Gate. Mountain bikers in Colorado are typically very considerate of hikers, but just be aware that you’ll be sharing the trail with others. After the initial rise, the trail is more gentle as it ascends the hillside. You’ll be drawn to the rock outcroppings ahead and a beautiful grove of aspens.
Tips & Resources for Hiking the Blue Grouse Trail:
- Trail options: View the Golden Gate Canyon Park map to see the various other trail options you have after hiking the .7 mile in on Blue Grouse.
- Rim Meadows: a great destination if you would like to continue on the Mule Deer Trail but are not wanting to hike the entire Mule Deer trail loop.
- Picnic: Because Golden Gate Canyon State Park is an hour drive, make a half-day or full-day out of your trip. Bring a picnic, and sling up a hammock for a nap in the shade.
- Download our Dayhikes Hiking Guide for a day hike packing checklist
- Sun protection: The trail is only partly shaded, so be sure to bring sun protection for the parts not covered.
- After the Hike: Buffalo Moon Coffee
- Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
- Trail Map for Blue Grouse Trail: Trail Map Link
Kriley Pond at Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Kriley Pond is a popular fishing spot in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. In the fall, the hillsides are peppered with the golden glow of Aspens.The early morning hours are the best time to visit if you want to soak in the songs of Colorado songbirds before families and fisherman arrive. Fishing in Kriley Pond requires a Colorado Fishing License. There are several other ponds to visit at Golden Gate Canyon, including: Ranch Ponds, Slough Ponds, Dude’s Fishing Hole, and the pond at Forgotten Valley.
Camping in Golden Gate Canyon State Park
There are several camping options at Golden Gate. However, because this State Park is less than an hour from Denver, the sites can fill up fast in the busy summer months. There is a car camping area at Reverends Ridge, a tents only site at Aspen Meadows, 20 backcountry shelters, and a limited number of cabins and yurts that can be reserved. All sites require fees which are posted at the Golden Gate Canyon Camping page.
We want to thank Lisa Palmer, a member of our Dayhikes Pathfinder Team, who hiked this trail with her family, gathered the information for the trail profile, and took the photos for this post.
Map & Driving Directions
Click for Driving Directions