Trail Snapshot: Mt. Galbraith Loop Trail Near Golden
- Hike Distance: 4.9 miles
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Duration: Approx 2 hr
- Trail Type: Lollipop
- Elevation Gain: Approx. +1100′
- Seasons: Spring, Summer and Fall
- Dogs: Allowed on Leash
- Hike Trail Map: Click for a Map of Mount Galbraith Park
- Denver Drive Time: 26 min
- Driving Directions to Mt. Galbraith Trailhead: Click for Google Map
- Town Nearest Hike: Golden, Colorado
- Beauty: cliff-nesting golden eagle, views into Golden, big horn sheep
- Activities: Hiking, Picnics, Mountain Biking
- Video: Click For a Video of Mt. Galbraith Loop
The Hike: Mt. Galbraith Loop via the Cedar Gulch Trail
After crossing the stream, it’s a steady, moderate climb with views into Golden Gate Canyon. In the Spring and early Summer, wildflowers will be blooming trailside.
The Cedar Gulch trail runs for 1.3 miles skirting the side of Mt. Galbraith until it hits the intersection with the loop. At this point, you can choose to take the Mt. Galbraith loop trail to the left (clockwise), or to the right (counter-clockwise). We recommend taking the clockwise (left) route which will make for a nice shaded downhill hike off the mountain.
Before you hike to the backside of Mt. Galbraith, you’ll get some great views into Golden, Colorado with the Coors Brewery dominating the landscape below, and views to the southwest of Clear Creek Canyon. The video below gives a short panorama from the overlook where you can look down into Golden.
As you continue on the Mt. Galbraith, the trail will take you west until you encounter a rock outcrop (pictured below). I scrambled up to the top and got some great views of the sides of Mt. Galbraith and far down into Clear Creek Canyon. If you are hoping to see wildlife, this is where I’d recommend stopping for a while and breaking out the binoculars.
The back side of Mt. Galbraith provides a bit of shade under ponderosa pines. You’ll enter a burn area, and that’s when the rest of the hikes shifts to going gradually downhill. As the trail enters the canyon again the pines will transition to spruce and fir, and the trail will become more rocky. I talked with a volunteer ranger and he mentioned that this section can be a bit harrowing when it’s covered with snow and ice, but on the May morning I hiked it, only small patches of snow were left.
Soon, you’ll emerge from the canyon and be back on the hillside. You’ll see the familiar trail intersection where you’ll want to take a sharp left onto the Cedar Gulch trail which will take you back down Mt. Galbraith to the trailhead.
Tips & Resources for Hiking the Mt. Galbraith Loop Near Golden
- Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get list and dayhiking packing checklist.
- TIP: The Mt. Galbraith trailhead is on the south side of the road. Be aware as you pull out and back onto Golden Gate Canyon Road, as it’s difficult to see cars coming around the bend.
- TIP: If you’re taking your dog to hike Mt. Galbraith with you, it’s a good idea to bring extra water because there is only one stream at the entrance of the trail and no where else for them to drink. However, after a rain, near the rock outcrop, you should be able to find water pooled the rock alongside the trail.
- TIP: Bring the sunscreen. Although there are a lot of trees on the western and northern sections of the loop, most of the trail is exposed to the sun.
- Keep and Eye Out for Rattlesnakes: Like many of the trails in the foothills and along the Front Range, hikers should keep their eyes out for Rattlesnakes as they will often sun themselves to keep warm on the path or along the path.
- TIP: Take it easy at the beginning of the trail. Hiking Mt. Galbraith is most challenging at the start and the rest of the trail is more peaceful and relaxing after that initial incline.
- Trail Map for Mount Galbraith Park: Trail Map Link
- Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
- After the Hike: Big Daddy Bagels
Map & Driving Directions
Click for Driving Directions