|Elevation Gain||705 ft|
|My Time||1 hr 48 min|
|Food Nearby||Parkside Cafe|
I was looking for a less challenging hike a little bit closer to home and was very happy that I found Genesee Mountain. I was even more excited to see bison at the trailhead!
The Genesee Mountain trail begins at the Patrick House trailhead. Next to the trailhead is a fenced in field that was full of bison. I believe that it is a reserve of sorts and the hike surrounds it for a good portion.
Once the excitement of seeing a field full of bison passes, it is time to get on with the hike. I took the hike counter clockwise so I could keep an eye on my grazing friends so that is how I will explain it.
The hike begins up a wide service road flanked on one side by the bison field and the other side with some private residences. If you are only doing the outer loop this hill is about the biggest elevation gain you will have for the hike. From the trailhead to the top of this first hill is about seven-tenths of a mile where you will gain about 300 feet of elevation gain. Not too bad but something to keep in mind.
When you get to the top of the hill you will be in a more wooded area. The bison field will still be on your side but to the other side (south) you will start to get views of the surrounding area.
At the 1.2 mile mark the Genesee Mountain Trail will split off from the service road. The trail is next to the bison fence and much more narrow. There is a trail called the American Bison trail that splits off and gives you a view of the bison field that you can take. That trail will loop in front of Genesee Mountain and connect later in the hike. I did not take that however.
Genesee Mountain Summit
I did take the Genesee Mountain Summit trail which is at the 1.4 mile mark. Keep in mind that this trial will have a bit of elevation to get you to the peak. The peak is a half mile and around 260 feet of elevation from the junction of the Genesee Mountain trail.
The hardest part of the trail is towards the end where there are some stairs built into the trail. Again, not a ton of elevation but something to keep in mind. At the top of the mountain the views to the south are pretty impressive.
The views to the north and west are a bit obscured by trees which was a little disappointing but it is still worth a trip up here if you are able. For the return I back tracked to the original trail so that I could continue the loop.
The Genesee Mountain Loop
Once I made it back to the original trail, the loop was really enjoyable. Most of the hike is in a moderately dense forest that is pretty flat and turns into a bit of a nature walk. I really enjoyed the quiet as I was the only one on the trail and it was a beautiful day.
From the return from the summit to the end of the hike is 2.2 miles of walking through this type of forest. You will have to cross a two lane road at one point and the last half mile of the hike is within view of the highway. The highway noise got a little annoying on the last half mile but the nice part was that I couldn’t hear the noise for most of the hike.
Of course at the end of the hike brings you back to the bison! They must have been pretty tired after their breakfast because they were all laying down in the field near the trailhead when I returned.
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 4.99 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 705 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 8,269 feet. I was also moving for a total of 1 hour and 48 minutes.
This is a pretty straight forward hike. The start of the hike up the service road is the most challenging portion from an effort standpoint. If you decide to climb to the summit there is some additional elevation gain as well. I was having a bit of a problem with my Fitbit so no official step count. I can give an estimated of about 11,000.
The hike starts on a dirt, two lane service road which is easy to handle. When you get near the summit and around the backside the trail narrows into a single file width. There are some rocks and roots on the trail but not too many. Bikers also use the trail a lot.
This Genesee Mountain trail starts at the Patrick House Trailhead portion of Genesee Park. It is located at the end of Genesee Lane in Golden, CO. The last half mile or so of Genesee Lane is a dirt road that is very well graded. There is parking for about 5 cars and there are a couple of pit toilets at the the trailhead.
Wrap up of Genesee Mountain
This was a nice little hike just off of the highway. It was easy to get to it and it wasn’t too challenging. I enjoyed it for a good workout on a beautiful day.
One of the biggest surprises was that it was right next to a bison reserve and at the parking lot I was greeted by a few bison eating their breakfasts. I would say the first quarter of the hike is close to bison field giving you a good chance to see some. I also went to the peak of Genesee Mountain which ads a bit to the difficulty but increases the views. If you decide to just do the loop you will still have some nice views and wonderful forest setting to walk through. I think this would be a good hike for most skill levels and I am going to rank it as moderate for the first hill but it is the easier side of moderate.
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