White Ranch Park – Rawhide Trail

It is nice to be back in Colorado after the trip to Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nebraska. The FMLT team decided to stay close to base and head over to White Ranch Park in Golden. I had seen the sign for the park on my way to Golden Gate Canyon State Park and wanted to give it a try. The trail ended up being pretty long although we did backtrack a little bit to see other parts of the park. The track that we did included 1,109 feet of elevation gain and was between 6 and 7 miles depending on which app we checked. The trails are wide in most places with occasional spots of walking over rock but all told they are in pretty good shape and easily navigated. I would rate this trail as a moderately difficult hike. The hiking isn’t overly complicated but the elevation gains can go on for long stretches and we all know how much I love the elevation gain. I had my hiking pole out but didn’t really need it that much. I think if you have an average ability you should be fine on this path as long as you take your time on the elevation and catch your breath and drink plenty of water.

Like most parks in Colorado, parking is a premium. There is a small upper lot that fits about 10 cars near the Belcher trail and a larger lot at the main trail junction but I would highly recommend getting to the park early to find a spot in one of these areas. We parked in the upper lot and decided to start on the Belcher trail and connect to the Rawhide trail. From the smaller lot the Belcher trail carves through a wooded area and starts with a quick descent that gets you down to a nice field to connect to the Rawhide Trail.

Blecher Trail.  The trail is going through a heavily wooded section with the sun peeking through.
Belcher trail

Once you get to the Rawhide trail the trail itself gets much wider and and you find yourself in the middle of an open area and you really have nice views of most of the park.

The view from Rawhide Trail at White Ranch Park.  A wide green grassed meadow with trees littering the hilly landscape

From the Belcher trail parking area you are still walking mostly down hill at this point. We decided to take the Wranglers Run trail which is a quick third of a mile trail that connects with the East side of Rawhide which is the more scenic area. The east-side heading north is where you run into the most difficult area of the trail in terms of elevation and rocky terrain but as I said before it is manageable. It also is currently covered with pockets of wild flowers that have a nice purple color that breaks up the landscape. I’m sure they have a name but I sure don’t know it.

Wildflowers blooming at White Ranch Park.  The flowers purple blooms stand out against the brown and gray, rocky and dirty landscape

The northeast side of the trail also has my favorite view of the park. The only problem with the view is that you can see the city in the distance. I prefer to be far enough out that you can’t actually see civilization but this view is pretty spectacular.

View looking east from White Ranch Park.  There is a rolling meadow with trees littering it.  The background opens up to show the horizon and another mesa.

The rest of the east side of Rawhide that circles back to the west and where we started has some long runs of consistent elevation gain but again it is manageable with wide trails. This part of the trail will take you past some campsites that were not occupied and will be opening at some point. We circled back and took the Wranglers run trail to get back to the east-side of the Rawhide loop but this time we went south to head towards the main parking area. This again was an easy stretch of hiking but still more consistent elevation gains. As you get closer to the main parking area you get the view of the same meadow as earlier but from a higher vantage point which really shows how big and nice the park is.

High angle of the meadow at White Ranch Park.  The tree pocked meadow falls away.  A distant high rocky outcrop looks over in the background

It was nice to get back to Colorado. One thing I noticed is just how much bigger the spaces are in Colorado parks, at least the one’s that I went to, than the surrounding states. The walks are longer and the elevation is bigger and the views are worth it but Colorado is going to make you work for them.

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 6.3 miles and had a total elevation gain of over 1109 feet.

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

Here are the rest of the pictures from the hike:

After the hike we had lunch at the Old Capitol Grill in downtown Golden.

2 thoughts on “White Ranch Park – Rawhide Trail”

  1. Pingback: Fat Man Little Trail Old Capitol Grill – Golden

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