Last weekend, my husband and I decided to venture just 30 minutes from Denver to hike around Golden. We didn’t actually run, so this is a bit of a variation on my Run-Eat-Drink series. However, after hiking about 7 miles, I definitely felt like I had gotten a solid workout. I will be back here to train for the Ragnar Trail Relay we’re running in Zion. There are beautiful – and somewhat intense – trails all around Golden that are perfect for training. Even with snow on the ground, runners were out in full force.
We hiked the North Table Mountain loop, which offers beautiful views of both Golden, the foothills and the Denver skyline – although it would be hard to see on a cloudy day.The loop offers a range of difficulty levels, from steep inclines to steady straights. The whole loop is pretty long, and if you’re not the mood to run – or hike – that far, there are other routes you can veer on to to create the run you want.
We chose to hike on North Table Mountain, but there are a number of other great running trails and paths in Golden. There are hundreds of acres of parks and open space for outdoor recreation. Just on the other side of Highway 58 from where we hiked is South Table Mountain Park, another great option for running trails. It offers about 4 miles of marked trails, providing similar views and scenery as North Table Mountain.
Golden Gate Canyon Park features 35 miles of hiking/running trails, and there are 12 different paths each named after a certain animal and marked with that animal’s footprints. If you’re looking for something that’s more of a running path, head to Clear Creek Trail, which runs along the river and through downtown Golden. This path is great for a quick, easy run. There are many more trails in Golden, but this should be enough to get you started. And if you’re a resident of Colorado, you’ll have an opportunity to try all these.
My favorite part of a good run – or hike – is refueling afterwards. There are some amazing spots to grab a bite in Golden. It’s a great place to get some Colorado classics, like bison, green chile, Colorado lamb, to name a few. It also has some great casual eateries to grab a quick bite before heading back out on the trail, or home for the day. D’Deli Golden has been around since 1975. The old-fashioned sandwich shop serves some crazy combinations slathered between two pieces of bread. Try one of the corned smoked elk or buffalo sandwiches for a savory, satisfying meal. Those with a sweet tooth may want to the try the Camper, made with nutella, peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chips, marshmallows, bacon and banana. For flavorful Southwestern fare, visit Table Mountain Grill & Cantina. It serves delicious tortilla soup and fire-roasted chile rellenos, two of my favorites. After our hike, we munched on some wood-fired pizza from a food truck, which you will find at many a craft brewery in Golden. If pizza is your post-run food of choice, Golden has no shortage of good places to grab a slice.
I love topping off a workout with a solid brew. Golden is known as the home of Coors, but I’m not one for the commercial brands. Craft beer is the only brews I’ll drink (I know, I’m a bit of a beer snob).
We toasted our hike with some beers from Cannonball Creek Brewing Company. Founded in 2013, this brewery is named after the original name of Clear Creek, which runs through Golden. Even though the brewery has only been open a little over three years, it’s brought home a few medals from the Great American Beer Festival. The tap rotates consistently, which means there is usually a couple new beers to try every few weeks. Since we didn’t have a lot of time, we went for a tasting of four different brews.
I wanted a variety of flavors, colors and varieties, and as you can see from the photo above, there’s a nice variation. The Solid Gold Belgian Gold (7.4% ABV) is a Belgian style ale. It’s super crisp and citrusy, incredibly refreshing after a long hike or run. The Featherweight Pale (5.7% ABV) is a session ale with strong hops – but not too hoppy – and some fruity notes. The Victorville Red (6.9% ABV) is a West Coast style red, with bold caramel notes that both my husband and I both really enjoyed. It was probably my favorite of all four beers. The Battlecat Stout (8.0% ABV) is a rich dark beer, with roasted malts, coffee and chocolate flavors. I’m a fan of chocolatey stouts, and enjoyed this one, while my husband felt it was too sweet and filling. I hope to return and try a few other beers on the menu, as there were many I was interested in tasting.
I look forward to my next trail run and craft beer in Golden. What are your favorite trails, restaurants or beers in Golden?