Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Aliases: Bootleg Bottom Trailhead, Ole Barn Knoll, Dude's Fishing Hole
A large state park beautifully situated in the upper foothills, this is a popular place for Denver area birders traveling into the mountains. The size of the park means that a wide range of montane habitats are present, including coniferous woodlands, aspen groves, and wetlands, along with an extensive network of walking trails. The best roadside birding is along Mountain Base Road, and several trails heading off it allow further exploration. Look in Ponderosa woodland for Pygmy Nuthatch and Williamson’s Sapsucker; in Aspen woodland for Red-naped Sapsucker, Violet-green Swallow, Warbling Vireo, and Western Wood-pewee; and in areas where the two mix, keep an ear out for Flammulated Owl (at night).
Lower lying areas near the Visitor’s Center have extensive willows, along with Lincoln’s Sparrow, MacGillivray’s Warbler, and Wilson’s Snipe. Finally, the open country could yield up Mountain Bluebirds and offers the best place for mammal spotting, including increased sightings of Moose. A State Parks pass is required for entry and hunting occurs here, so be sure to check for seasonal restrictions before visiting.
Directions: There are multiple routes to Golden Gate Canyon State Park, please refer to the website. The easiest route from Denver is to take I-70 to exit 265/Hwy 58. Continue west on Hwy 58 to Hwy 93. Go north on Hwy 93 for 1 mile to Golden Gate Canyon Rd. Head west on Golden Gate Canyon Rd for 13 miles to the park entrance. At Crawford Gulch, make a sharp right and then another right turn at the Visitor's Center Parking Lot. Daily parks passes can also be purchased at any of the self serve kiosks.
Dates of Access: Open all year
Hours: 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Ownership: Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Admission: State Parks Pass. Additional fee for camping .
Restrictions: Please obey all rules and regulations. Dogs must be under control and on a leash at all times.
Lodging: Camping at the State Park. Lodging in Black Hawk, Nederland and Golden
Handicapped Access: ADA accessible facilities, viewing limited to birding from your car.