North Table Mountain Park is an open space located in Jefferson County, Colorado and is perhaps the most prominent park in all of Golden. Indeed, the 6,552ft. North Table Mountain is an unmistakable landmark towering over downtown Golden, formed into a mesa millions of years ago by ancient lava flows. Both North Table Mountain and its neighboring mesa, South Table Mountain, are proudly displayed on Golden’s flag, highlighting the unique beauty these mesas bring to the area’s landscape. The sheer beauty of North Table Mountain Park makes this destination a popular local attraction for outdoor enthusiasts. For other Jeffco parks, check out our destination reviews on Mount Galbraith Park and White Ranch Park.
Destination Guide Series: North Table Mountain Park
Where is North Table Mountain Park?
North Table Mountain Park is an open space located in Jefferson County, Colorado and the city of Golden. The two most commonly used parking areas are at the West Trailhead and the Golden Cliffs Trailhead. The West Trailhead is located just off of CO-93 (4788 Highway 93, Golden, CO 80403). The Golden Cliffs Trailhead and overflow parking area is located in a more residential area off of Peery Parkway, perhaps best accessed via CO-58 (Golden Freeway).
Why Should You Visit North Table Mountain Park?
Hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers, equestrians, and rock climbers all share North Table Mountain Park. Being less than 30 minutes away from Denver, the park sees considerable use. But, with 17.3 miles of trails over 1,998 acres, North Table Mountain Park has ample space for exploration even during the busiest of times. Adding to the park’s popularity is the easily accessible Golden Cliffs climbing area, with a good amount of sport and trad climbing routes. In sum, North Table Mountain Park is a great year-round adventure destination with diverse activity options for all skillsets.
Things to Do
Hiking and Trail Running
North Table Mountain Park is a very popular hiking and trail running destination given its proximity to Denver and Boulder. With 17.3 miles of trails, the park has a variety of interesting terrain suitable for all skillsets, ranging from “Least Difficult” to “Most Difficult.” Because these trails are mostly all designated as “multi-use,” be observant of mountain bikers and horseback riders.
The park’s signature trail is the 7.4-mile North Table Loop, which intersects with virtually all of the other park trails. Given the North Table Loop’s multiple intersections, visitors can shorten or lengthen their outing by using the park’s various connector trails. Check the park map before you go to see which parking area is best for your day’s adventure. However, the West Trailhead is the most convenient for immediate access to the North Table Loop.
For trail runners, consider picking up a copy of Best Trail Runs Denver, Boulder & Colorado Springs that has more details on awesome routes.
Mountain biking is permitted on virtually all of North Table Mountain Park’s trails, with only a few exceptions (e.g., Lichen Peak Trail). The majority of the trails are not overly technical, so novices and intermediate riders can thoroughly enjoy the park. Given the popularity of the park and multi-use trail designations, bikers will likely encounter trail traffic with hikers/runners and occasional horseback riders.
For a good balance of ascending and descending, consider the popular 7.4-mile North Table Loop. Starting at the West Trailhead in a counter-clockwise direction will begin the loop with a steep ascent. There is more modest elevation gain along the route, but the initial ascent is the most challenging. If you prefer to avoid an immediate steep ascent, opt to begin the loop in a clockwise direction.
The other connector trails within the park are useful to design your own routes and loops. Consider the Mesa Top Trail as an option to shorten the North Table Loop, since it connects the east and west sides of the loop. In addition, the Tilting Mesa Trail is a great option to shorten the North Table Loop.
For more details on other routes, check out MTB Project. Also, consider picking up a copy of Mountain Biking Colorado: An Atlas of Colorado’s Greatest Off-Road Bicycle Rides if you plan to do more mountain biking around Colorado.
Horseback riding is permitted on the multi-use trails throughout North Table Mountain Park’s trail network. Nearly all of the park’s trails are multi-use, so prepare to share the trails with mountain bikers and hikers. Note that the connector trail leading to Lichen Peak is designated as hiker-only.
The Golden Cliffs area of North Table Mountain is renowned for some great sport climbing, though there are plenty of trad, top-rope, and bouldering options as well. Climbing at these crags has long been popular, and in the mid-90s, the Access Fund became stewards of this amazing place. It’s amazing to think that the Golden Cliffs area only officially became a part of North Table Mountain Park in 2014, upon donation to Jefferson County.
Some of the best climbing routes are in the Brown Cloud Crags, The Overhang Area, and the Table Top Area. For detailed climbing route descriptions, check out Mountain Project. Also, a good guide book to consider picking up is Best Climbs Denver and Boulder: Over 200 Of The Best Routes In The Area.
For a well-rounded and more interpretive Colorado Open Space experience, consider picking up a few naturalist guides. An easy to use field guide for plants and birds will help identify species and further add to the enjoyment of your time outdoors. In addition, there are a few area-specific guidebooks that offer more details on rock climbing routes, as well as hiking, running, and mountain biking trails.
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