wildfowers in foreground on top of north table mountain in golden colorado

North Table Mountain Hike Near Golden, Colorado

When the sun rises over the North Table Mountain, you'll see this mesa rising above the town of Golden, Colorado. A vast network of trails awaits hikers, mountain bikers, and nature photographers. This is a perfect hike near Denver for when you don’t have much time on your hands but need some fresh air. While the trails on Table Mountain are accessible all year round, the best time to hike it is in the Spring and early Summer when wild flowers start to bloom. Check out our detailed description of the hike, the Table Mountain trail map, driving directions so that you can explore this unique Colorado hike.

Trail Snapshot: North Table Mountain Near Golden

Start your tour of North Table Mountain (really it's a mesa) a few hours after the daybreak by entering the main parking lot off of Highway 93, just north of Golden, Colorado. At the trailhead, you'll find a kiosk with trail maps, and a public restroom. There are three ways you can explore the North Table Mountain, so scroll down to read the details on all three options.

Hiking North Table Mountain

road trail up to north table mountain hike near golden

#1 The (short) North Table Loop trail - 3.2 Miles

The first part of the trail starts with a wide path, a long ramp up to the top of the mesa. It's a bit of a challenge, but when you get to the top, the paths level off and are much easier. Leaving the parking lot, take the North Table Loop trail south for 0.7 miles until you reach a trail intersection. Take a left onto the Tilting Mesa trail. Follow Tilting Mesa trail for approximately 1 mile until the next trail junction. Take a left onto the Mesa Top Trail, hiking on it until it intersects with the North Table Loop trail again. Take a left onto the North Table loop trail which skirts the sides of North Table Mountain and takes you back to the trailhead.

north table mountain west side looking toward golden colorado

#2 The Longer North Table Loop Routes - 6-8 Miles

Shake it up a bit: This is a longer route that combines a tour of the top of Table Mountain and a hike around the perimeter. Start the same way you would start the short table loop trail by taking the North Table Loop for 0.7 miles until you reach the Tilting Mesa trail. Follow the trail to the first unmarked intersection and then turn right. On your next intersection turn right again onto the Mesa Top trail. After about .6 mile, you'll encounter a trail intersection with the Rim Rock Trail which is closed seasonally (March 1 through July 31). Continue on the Mesa Top trail until it intersects with the North Table Loop trail which will take you all the way back to the west side of the mountain and to the parking area. This is approximately a 6 mile loop.

Adapt to a Closure Route: At the time of this post, April 2014, a segment of the Mesa Top trail is closed due to flood damage. An alternate route adds some mileage and difficulty to this loop, but that just may be what you are looking for. Here's the route: Same as above, but when on the Mesa Top Trail, take the Cottonwood Canyon Trail (right) until it links you back up with the North Table Loop trail. Then take a left back on to the North Table Loop trail which will then take you on a tour of roughly 3/4 of the perimeter of North Table Mountain. Here's a link to the North Table Mountain Trail Closure map that should help you plan this route. This Route is approximately a 7.5 mile loop.

The Straighforward Approach: The final route is pretty straightforward, just take the North Table Mountain Loop all the way around the perimeter of the mountain. This results in an approximate 7.7 mile loop.

mountain biker on top of north table mountain with denver skyline in background
#3 The Golden Cliffs Trail - 2.7 miles RT

If you are a climber or just looking for a shorter hike, you can take North Table Mountain trail to the Golden Cliffs trail. The Golden Cliffs are very popular Colorado rock climbing attraction. This area is actually a preserve managed by the Access fund. For more information on rock climbing the Golden Cliffs, see the Golden Cliffs page on the Mountain Project and Access Fund Sites. This is a 2.7 mile (Round Trip) out-and-back trip.

Tips for Hiking North Table Mountain:

  • Wear sunscreen because there is no shade once you are atop Table Mountain.
  • Camping and open fires are not permitted at North Table Mountain Park.
  • Don’t forget to bring your camera. You can get some very interesting wildlife images.
  • Rattlesnakes: Jefferson County Open Space notes that North Table Mountain is a known Rattlesnake habitat. They recommend downloading their Snakebite Prevention and First Aid Guide to better understand this native reptile of Colorado.

whitetail deer trailside on north table mountainWeather

Map and Directions to North Table Mountain West Trailheaad

man painting red rocks at trading post trail in red rocks park near denver with red rocks in background hikes 30 minutes from denver

Forgotten Valley Hike at Golden Gate State Park

Can you think of a more mysterious name for a hike? Colorado's Golden Gate State Park has many trails, and the Forgotten Valley is a great place to start discovering this gem that is tucked between Golden and Boulder, Colorado. Get all the details on hiking the Forgotten Valley by scrolling down to the hike snapshot and hiking tips below.

Trail Snapshot: Forgotten Valley Hike at Golden Gate State Park

The Forgotten Valley in Golden Gate Canyon State Park is a step back in time.This day hike near Denver takes you 1.5 miles to an old homestead complete with front porch views of the small lake that sits in the bottom of the valley. From the Bridge Trailhead, take the Burro Trail for approximately 3/4 of a mile to where it intersects with the Mountain Lion Trail. Turn North (Left) on the Mountain Lion Trail, and follow that for about 3/4 of mile to Forgotten Valley and the Tallman Homestead. The pond in the valley is stocked by the division of wildlife. We want to thank Kenny Chaffin for his photo of the Tallman Homestead. You can view more of his Denver area photos here.

forgotten valley homestead hike golden

Tips & Resources for Hiking Forgotten Valley Hike at Golden Gate State Park :


Map & Driving Directions

Click for Driving Directions

man painting red rocks at trading post trail in red rocks park near denver with red rocks in background hikes 30 minutes from denver

maxwell falls with waterfall and hikers above and at the base of the waterfall

Maxwell Falls Near Evergreen, Colorado

The Maxwell Falls hike is our most popular hike near Denver. Why? Because it's a perfect Colorado family hike with a variety of terrain, and the it takes you to one of the closest waterfalls to Denver. Below you'll find three different hike options: a one mile hike, a three mile loop, and a four mile trek--all taking you to Maxwell falls.

In the last few years, Maxwell Falls has become one of the most popular destination hikes near Denver, and it's having a negative impact. In other words, Maxwell Falls is being loved to death. Please read through the orange box for some of the basic trail etiquette that will help protect this beautiful place.

Trail Snapshot: Maxwell Falls Hike

When we were moving to Denver, we were looking for a great house and for great hikes, and our favorite hikes end with a waterfall. Waterfalls close to Denver, Colorado don't have a lot of wow-factor, but they make great for great destination hikes. There are 3 ways to hike to Maxwell falls. Our favorite is the Cliff Trail loop because it gives you the falls a reward at the end. The falls are more of a series cascades, but are worth the hike. If you want to explore more waterfalls near Denver, check out our Waterfall Hikes Near Denver page.

Hike Options for Maxwell Falls Trails.

1. The Short Version:

Less than 1 mile round trip - Begin at the Upper Trailhead and follow the signs to the falls. It's just under half a mile, one way.

2. The Cliff Trail Loop:

3 Miles - Start at the upper trailhead lot. The trail will split a couple times and you'll want to bear left, following the signs that point you down the Cliff Trail. You'll climb a bit to a rock promontory that gives you beautiful views of the valley below. You will begin a descent to the creek bed, then the trail will turn and head upstream. Follow it until you hear the falls. After the falls, follow the trail back up to the upper lot.


3. Lower Maxwell Falls Hike

- 4 Miles Round Trip - Begin at the lower parking area and hike up the valley and along Maxwell Creek for about 2 miles. About 1.7 miles along the trail, you'll cross to the other side of the creek. Shortly after that, you'll hear the falls. Return the same way you came.

We've had some inquiries about whether or not there is camping at Maxwell Falls. Because this area gets so much traffic, we recommend camping elsewhere. It is permissible to camp on USFS land, but it's important to take into consideration our impact, and the Maxwell Falls area is getting loved to death. I'd recommend checking out Reserve America for other camping ideas.

So, strap on your hiking boots, grab a picnic lunch and your trekking poles, then hit the trail to Maxwell Falls.

Help Care for Maxwell Falls Area

Maxwell Falls and the surrounding trails get an incredible amount of traffic, and in recent years, hikers have really harmed the area. So, during your visit (and as always), follow Leave No Trace principles and the following:

  • Pick up trash on your hike (especially your own). There is no trash service at this trailhead.
  • Pack out dog droppings
  • Keep Dogs on a Leash
  • No fires or digging fire-pits. Fires pose an extreme danger to nearby residents.
  • If parking is full, come back later, or find a different hike. Roadside parking is causing erosion and safety hazards.

Tips & Resources for Hiking Maxwell Falls:

  • TIP: This trail gets a ton of use, so make an effort to pick up a few pieces of trash while you are making your trek to the falls.
  • TIP: Be on alert for the signage. It's easy to miss, and sometimes in disrepair. I'd recommend reading through the comments section below for details.
  • After the Hike: Beaujos Pizza in Evergreen
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions


Map & Driving Directions

Click for Driving Directions for Upper Lot

waterfall in canyon with bridge in foreground fish creek falls waterfall in colorado

Looking for more waterfalls near Denver? Explore our more than 50 Colorado Waterfall Hikes, our favorite Waterfall Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, or 7 Waterfalls within One Hour of Denver.