When I was traveling to the Denver / Boulder area for work, one of my favorite things was to be able to sneak in a scenic hike on the same day that I had to fly. You could either get in a morning walk with enough time to catch a mid-day flight, or even better, you could catch an early flight from the East Coast and be on a trail by 11 AM Mountain Time. I started to think of some of these trails as perfect “layover hikes”: Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWA, Walkers Ranch in Boulder, and this week I have to add North Table Mountain in Golden, CO to the list.
This is the perfect place to stop and stretch your legs after a flight into Denver before you head by car into the Mountains. In less than 2 hours, you can put in a few miles and take in some great scenery of the foothills and metro Denver. This flat topped Mesa dominates the Golden, CO skyline and has easy access to Route 70 if you are on your way to the ski resorts of Colorado.
On a recent afternoon, we hiked the North Table Loop Trail and passed a herd of wintering Elk and watched a lone Coyote chase down his lunch. The beautiful flat, grassy meadows at the top offer expansive views of the Plains to the East, the foothills to the West and a great view of the Denver skyline to the South. The trailhead is just north of the city of Golden on Route 93. Take a picnic to the top or build a little time to enjoy lunch on Washington Street in downtown Golden.