Blue Grouse Trail at Golden Gate Canyon Park

September 20, 2014 Comments (2) 1-2 Miles, About 60 Min, Birdwatching, Bluff Top Views, Boulder Hikes, Colorado State Park Hikes, Deer, Dog Friendly Hikes, Easy, fall colors, hikes near golden colorado, Lakes, Meadows, Mountain Range Views, Rock Formations, Wildflowers

Blue Grouse Trail at Golden Gate Canyon Park

Golden Gate Sate Park Blue Grouse Trail Landscape

The Blue Grouse Trail is a short, 1.6-mile hike on the western edges of Golden Gate Canyon State Park. A pleasant trail with little gain in elevation and mellow terrain makes this a great escape from the city. The Blue Grouse Trail is a perfect hiking trail for spotting wildlife, from birds to deer, viewing fall colors and wildflowers, and taking in the beautiful scenic view along the trail. Explore the full hiking trail profile below for hike details, trail map, and links to similar trails near Denver.

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.

To get to the Blue Grouse trailhead, pass Kriley Pond and take the first right at Mountain Base Road. The trailhead parking area is to the right at the fork in the road. At the trailhead you’ll find picnic tables. There is a porta-let at Kriley Pond and there are restroom facilities at the Visitors Center. Below you’ll find more details on the trail, Kriley pond, and some information on camping at Golden Gate Canyon State Park.

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.
Blue Grouse Trailhead Golden Gate Colorado

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.

Blue Grouse Trail

more dog friendly hikes

Tips & Resources for Hiking the Blue Grouse Trail:

    blue grouse trail marker

    • 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.
kriley pond at Golden Gate Canyon State Park

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

2 Responses to Blue Grouse Trail at Golden Gate Canyon Park

  1. Kendel says:

    My boyfriend and I hiked this trail last April when there was still snow on the ground and it was fantastic! Beauty all around you and I personally, loved that there was still snow! We also camped in a Yurt which was wonderful. The Yurt is heated with log cabin style bunk beds and a small ground grill to cook with located outside just off the deck and a picnic bench as well. We did learn that you can not hang hammocks from the trees which we didn’t know. Hope to go again this spring!

  2. Jessie says:

    Not as family friendly as we had hoped. The first major issue is the 14 miles of winding road to get up to the trailhead. If you have young kids that get carsick easily I would save yourself the trouble and stop at Galbraith trailhead that you pass on the way up.
    The initial incline from the parking lot is pretty steep and I would not suggest for kids or out of state visitors. Lastly, I would only go during summer months. We went in February at it was cold and windy!

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