Windy Saddle Park is a picturesque park located on Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado. The park is part of the Jefferson County Open Space system, which was established in 1972 to preserve and protect open space lands for future generations. With over six miles of trails, Windy Saddle Park is a popular destination for hikers, mountain bikers, and nature enthusiasts looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the beauty of the Colorado wilderness.
Indeed, Windy Saddle Park features a variety of trails that range from easy to moderate difficulty, making it accessible to hikers of all skill levels. The trails wind through the park’s rolling hills and offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the city of Golden. The park is also home to a diverse array of wildlife, including deer, elk, foxes, and birds of prey. Visitors can often spot these beautiful creatures as they hike the trails or relax in the park’s picnic areas. In addition to its natural beauty, the park is also steeped in history, with several historic sites and landmarks located throughout the park.
DESTINATION GUIDE SERIES: WINDY SADDLE PARK
Why Should You Visit Windy Saddle Park?
Windy Saddle Park is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience Colorado’s natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities. Furthermore, it’s very close to Denver making it a great day trip. So, whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a place to relax and enjoy the views, Windy Saddle Park has something for everyone. For example:
- Stunning views: Windy Saddle Park offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and the city of Golden. The park’s trails take you to the top of Lookout Mountain, where you can see for miles in every direction.
- Hiking and mountain biking: The park has over six miles of trails, ranging from easy to moderate difficulty. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, you’ll find a trail that suits your skill level. Some of the park’s trails are also open to mountain bikers, making it a popular destination for cyclists.
- Wildlife viewing: The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, elk, foxes, and birds of prey. Keep an eye out as you hike the trails for a chance to spot these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.
- Picnicking and relaxation: The park has several picnic areas where you can relax and enjoy the park’s natural beauty. Pack a lunch and spend the day soaking up the sun and fresh mountain air.
- History: Windy Saddle Park is steeped in history, with several historic sites and landmarks located throughout the park. In addition, the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave are located nearby, as is the Lariat Loop Scenic Byway, which takes you on a tour of the area’s rich history and scenic beauty.
Where is Windy Saddle Park?
To get to Windy Saddle Park from downtown Golden, head west on 10th Street/US-40 West. Next, turn right onto 19th Street, which will turn into Lookout Mountain Road after about 1.5 miles. Continue on Lookout Mountain Road for about 3.5 miles. The park entrance will be on your left.
Things to Do
Windy Saddle Park has a limited number of trails, but each one offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and foothills. The following is a list of the trails in the park, noting the type of trail, trail length, and difficult:
- Lookout Mountain Trail: This is an out-and-back trail that starts at the Windy Saddle Trailhead and climbs up to Lookout Mountain Summit. The trail is 1.4 miles each way, with a total distance of 2.8 miles round-trip. The trail is rated as moderate, with a steady incline and some rocky sections.
- Chimney Gulch Trail: This is an out-and-back trail that starts at the bottom of Lookout Mountain near downtown Golden and winds through Chimney Gulch to reach the Lookout Mountain Nature Center, offering views of Clear Creek Canyon and the surrounding mountains along the way. The trail is about 5.0 miles long and is rated as moderate, with some steep sections and rocky terrain.
- Beaver Brook Trail: This is a hiker-only out-and-back trail that starts at the Windy Saddle Trailhead. The trail connects Windy Saddle to Clear Creek Canyon Park and Genesee Park, offering excellent views of rock formations and lush vegetation. The full trail is 10.0 miles long one-way and is rated as difficult, with steep sections and rocky terrain.
Windy Saddle Park offers several mountain biking trails that provide a fun and challenging riding experience for bikers of all skill levels. For example, the Chimney Gulch Trail and the Lookout Mountain Trail are popular options for mountain bikers, offering a mix of technical terrain, steep climbs, and exhilarating descents.
Windy Saddle Park is a popular destination for paragliding enthusiasts, with its high altitude and panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Paragliding is permitted in the park, but there are some regulations and guidelines that must be followed to ensure safety. For instance, a valid United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA) rating and insurance are required. Pilots should also be aware of local airspace regulations and obtain any necessary permits before launching.
For a well-rounded experience of the Windy Saddle Park area, trails, and ecosystems, we recommend picking up a few guidebooks. Accordingly, an easy to use trail guide provides additional day hike ideas and/or a field guide for plants and birds helps identify species to add to the enjoyment of your time outdoors. Below are a few of our recommendations:
- “Best Hikes Near Denver and Boulder” by Sandy Heise and Maryann Gaug – This book features 40 of the best hikes within an hour’s drive of Denver and Boulder, including several hikes in and around Windy Saddle Park.
- “Wildflowers of Colorado Field Guide“ by Don Mammoser – The park is home to many wildflower species, and this guidebook features over 200 species of wildflowers commonly found in Colorado, with detailed descriptions and photos.
- “Birds of Colorado Field Guide“ by Stan Tekiela – Windy Saddle Park is also a great spot for birdwatching, and this guidebook features over 140 species of birds commonly found in Colorado, with detailed descriptions and photos.
- “Colorado Wildlife” by Todd Telander – This pocket guidebook covers over 100 species of wildlife commonly found in the Rocky Mountains, including those in and around the park. In addition, it includes detailed illustrations, range and habitat descriptions, and natural history information.
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