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Golden Gate Canyon: Black Bear to Horseshoe loop

Golden Gate Canyon – Black Bear

I kinda have to hand it to Colorado, they will reward you with amazing views but they certainly make you work for it. I went to Golden Gate Canyon today and took the Black Bear trail. Bit of a side note, Golden Gate Canyon has several parking areas near different trail heads so part of hiking there is the luck of where you can find parking. Let me tell you Black Bear trail is, pardon the pun, a bear to hike. More on that later but first rule in journalism school is don’t bury the lead so:

An view of snow capped mountains.  Two peaks are visible.  In the foreground rolling hills of green trees and brown rock roll towards the towering mountain range in the background.  Wispy clouds dot the sky.

Black Bear Trail

So that view is the carrot, let me explain the stick. The Black Bear trail is extremely rocky, has an elevation gain of about 1500 feet and at many times the trail just disappears and you have to locate a trail marker to make sure you are in the right spot. I definitely wouldn’t try this hike if you are just starting out, not comfortable hiking on rocky terrain, or if you are looking for a nice gentle walk for some casual exercise. That all being said, the views are outstanding. I actually stayed in the spot I took the above picture longer than I usually do just taking in the enormity of it all.

Horseshoe Trail

After Black Bear, the Horseshoe portion goes a bit easier for a while. The trail on Horseshoe is still a bit rocky and also sandy but well defined. I met a wonderful couple on the Horseshoe portion, whose names I can’t seem to recall because I am terrible with names, and walked a good portion near them. (socially distant). I did want to let them know that it did go up again after yall turned around. I am glad I was walking down the eastern side of the Horseshoe trail as it seemed pretty steep to be walking up but less rocky and more sandy than the Black Bear. My favorite part of the Horseshoe is that you are following a creek most of the way and it gives you that wonderful sound of rushing water. You even will cross it a couple of times.

Elevation and Distance

If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 6.5 miles and had a total elevation gain of 1519 feet.

I am a Pro member of AllTrails and love it. If you are interested in the platform, please consider using my affiliate link for AllTrails. It gives me a small commission with no extra cost to you.

Time Lapse of the Black Bear Mule Dear Loop

I put together some video of this hike. This is a time lapsed version of the hike to give viewers a feeling of what the terrain is like. If you enjoy the video make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel to get the latest updates.

All in all, some great views but you are definitely going to have to work for them. Here is a look at the hike:

A different take on “Last Words” today, as the view literally left me speechless.

After the hike I ate at Los Marcelos in Golden. If you are in the area give them a shot.

If you have a suggestion for a hike that you would like me to try, feel free to email me at or you can follow me on the below social media platforms. I have also added this hike and all the hikes to the interactive map that you can find here.

4 thoughts on “Golden Gate Canyon: Black Bear to Horseshoe loop”

  1. I think this is one of the prettiest hikes you’ve been on. The trees look so green against the blue sky and that view from the top is truly spectacular.

  2. Pingback: Fat Man Little Trail White Ranch Park – Rawhide Trail

  3. Pingback: Golden Gate Canyon State Park: Burro-Windy Peak - Fat Man Little Trail

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