Located only 20 minutes from Denver, Golden Gate Canyon State Park is an incredible destination for RV lovers that is full of adventure and relaxation opportunities. The history of the park dates back to 1960 when it was first established, and since then, it has grown in popularity to have over 800,000 visitors a year. Golden Gate Canyon State Park consists of over 12,000 acres that include tranquil forests, impressive mountain overlooks, and beautiful meadows.
There are many activities you can participate in during your visit, so you’ll never be bored. From the Panoramic Point Scenic Overlook, you can see 100 miles of the continental divide, and there are over 40 miles of trails here that are available for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. You can also enjoy your time fishing or having a picnic in the summertime and go skiing, ice skating, and sledding in the wintertime. Colorado tends to be pretty cold compared to other places in the US, so expect mild summers that rarely reach temperatures in the 80s. Winters can be pretty harsh, reaching down into the single-digit temperatures.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park is well suited for RV camping thanks to the Reverend's Ridge Campground that has over 97 sites for you to choose from, including some with electrical hookups. If you want to experience some other accommodation, there are also tent camping opportunities, a guest house, cabins, and yurts. There are lots to see and do at Golden Gate Canyon no matter when you visit, so get out on the road and go check it out!
Driving to and from Golden Gate Canyon State Park is fairly straightforward since it is located around 30 miles northwest of Denver. There are several ways to get to Golden Gate Canyon State Park, and whichever route you decide to take, bear in mind that most of the routes consist of mountain passes with switchbacks, inlines, and downgrades.
There are many places for you to grab any supplies that you might need before you arrive at the park. These include Golden (around 14 miles away), Idaho Springs (around 19 miles away), and Evergreen (about 24.5 miles away). Despite being around 9000 feet above sea level, driving up to Golden Gate Canyon State Park should be easy as there are no major obstacles that will be a cause of concern. This can change on a whim during the winter months when the snow starts to fall, so if you plan on visiting during this time, we recommend that you keep an eye on the weather conditions.
There are parking lots located throughout the park, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding a place to pull up for a short time. During the busy season, though, it’s easier to go ahead and set your rig up at your campsite and head out into the park on foot or in a smaller vehicle.
Reverend's Ridge Campground is the only RV friendly place for you to set up your rig and call home during your visit to Golden Gate Canyon State Park. The campground is renowned for being kept in excellent condition, even in the peak summer months, where it usually operates at near capacity. The campground consists of 97 sites that can accommodate up to six people. 59 of the 97 have the option to connect up to 20, 30, or 50-amp electrical hookups so that you can enjoy the creature comfort of power during your camping trip. Within the campground, you won’t have access to water or sewer hookups, but there is a dump station that you can use. You’ll also find showers and flush toilets nearby, along with laundry facilities. Reverend’s Ridge is the perfect campground for any RV camper to stay at, but please note that there is hardly any mobile phone reception in this area. If you plan to bring your RV during peak season, we definitely recommend making reservations ahead of time. You can book your spot as late as three days in advance or as early as six months in advance. Reverend's Ridge Campground is open all year round.
If you’re planning to visit during the warmer months, tent camping is a great way to experience nature at Golden Gate Canyon State Park. If you wish to leave the RV behind, Aspen Meadows is the perfect place to stay, as this is a tent-only campground. There are 35 sites to choose from, and you’ll have access to a water pump and vault toilets. You’ll also have a picnic table and fire ring at each site so that you can enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of your campsite. There are even two sites that can accommodate horses if you’ve brought them.
If you’ve brought your RV but are looking for a change of pace, or maybe realized that your party is too big, you can come and stay at the Harmsen Ranch Guest House. It has everything you need for a luxurious stay. The property consists of four bedrooms, two bathrooms, dining areas, a full kitchen, and access to trails.
This guest house is perfect for large groups such as big families, but groups are limited to a total of 20 people. There are even two spots where you can set up your rig and still RV camp here, and you can also bring your horses along with you and keep them in the corrals. This is a great place to stay, and you’ll be guaranteed to have everything you need for a nice vacation.
Another alternate camping option if you want to get out of the RV or aren't traveling in one is to stay in one of the onsite cabins or yurts. The yurts are open for use year-round, can accommodate up to six people, and you can even bring along pets for a fee. If you choose to stay in a yurt, you will have to bring your own linen and use the Reverend's Ridge bathrooms. If you want a more rustic feel, a cabin is a good choice. You’ll need to bring your own bedding and keep in mind that you’ll need to head over to Reverend’s Ridge to use their showers and toilets.
If tent camping at Aspen Meadows isn’t wild enough for you, try backcountry camping instead. There are four shelters and 20 tent sites to choose from, but you must have a permit before heading out. This can be a great way to experience nature in the park on another level since you will be out in the sticks if you choose to go backcountry camping.
Whether you’re new to snow tubing or do it all the time, you can enjoy the sport right here at the park. It’s similar to sledding, but as the name suggests, you’re in a tube. Just bring a tube, pick a hill, and go wild! There are many places to go snow tubing within Golden Gate Canyon State Park, but the most popular places are off the trails where there is a slight change in elevation. Don't forget to pack clothing that is easy to layer. When the sun comes out, you won't feel as cold as the temperatures outside might indicate.
Don’t let the snow get in the way of your enjoyment of all the trails here in the park. In fact, make the most of it. There are lots of trails to be enjoyed, and the stillness of winter lends a whole new beauty to the park. Once the snow has fallen, exploring the terrain with your snowshoes will be the best way to get out, so just strap on your snowshoes and head out for winter trek. We recommend that you bring your own snowshoes as there are no guarantees that any will be available for rent. If you want a little extra help along your walk, bring some hiking poles with you as well.
You don’t have to wait until it gets warm again to enjoy the joy of fishing within the park. There’s still plenty of fish under the ice to catch—just make sure the ice is plenty thick enough before walking on it and drilling your hole. Remember that you will have to bring your own equipment to access the water under the ice, and be sure you have a valid Colorado fishing license. If you are unsure about the ice conditions on the lake, ask a member of the park staff to give you some pointers for ice safety.
Are you interested in ice skating? Visitors to Golden Gate Canyon State Park in the wintertime will be pleased to know that there are two ponds open for ice skating once they freeze over. Ice skating is a great way to enjoy the winter weather, so if you haven't tried it before, you should give it a shot! Remember to pack your own skates if you would like to hit the ice and to check the ice thickness before you get out there as the depth if the ice is not regularly monitored.
The most popular activity during the winter months at Golden Gate Canyon State Park is to hit the trails and go cross country skiing. There are lots of trails that are perfect for cross country skiing, but the best time to come is right after a good snowfall. In total there are seven trails suitable for skiing, including at Reverend’s Ridge Campground, which is a great place for beginners. Each trail and its conditions are different, but the trails on the north and east sides of the park are usually in a little better shape.
There are plenty of fishing opportunities here at Golden Gate Canyon State Park. All of the waterways beside the Visitor Center Show Pond are open for fishing, so you will have plenty of places to cast out a line. The most common pond to fish in is Kriley Pond since it contains an ADA accessible pier. There is a bag limit of four fish per day, and you will need a Colorado fishing license to fish legally.
Picnicking is a great way to relax in the summertime at Golden Gate Canyon State Park, and throughout the park, there are 125 different picnic areas to choose from. The park is a beautiful place that offers lots of different scenery, so you're sure to find the perfect spot for a picnic with friends. In addition to fantastic views, you’ll have a picnic table and a charcoal grill at each site. If you are traveling in a larger group, there are group picnic sites that can be reserved up to six months in advance.
If you’ve brought your horse along with you on your trip, you can take it out onto some of the 19 miles of multi-use trails. Lose yourself in all the pretty scenery and take this time to bond with your big, furry friend. There’s so much to see, and what better way to see it all than on horseback? Please note that there are plenty of places to park horse trailers, but there are no permanent stables or feeding areas.
There are lots of climbing opportunities all throughout Golden Gate Canyon State Park thanks to the many rock faces that have slowly formed over the previous centuries. If you are interested in rock climbing, keep in mind that you are not allowed to fix any hardware to the rocks. The rock climbing activities are not monitored by park staff, so you should have some experience with climbing if you choose to do this adrenaline-pumping activity.
The hiking trails are available for use year-round, but they are the easiest to navigate and the prettiest during the peak season. There are over 35 miles of hiking trails to discover, and 19 miles of those are also open and available for bike riders. Whether you’ve brought a bike or not, taking these trails can be a great way to experience the park, see some of the animals that call the park home, and get some exercise. If you don't have a bike, consider renting one at a nearby local outfitter.