Located in the heart of Golden, Colorado, Chimney Gulch Trail is not for the faint-hearted. It's a 10-mile Out & Back course that promises to challenge even seasoned mountain bikers. Labelled as "Difficult" for good reason, this trail offers everything from steep ascents to technical sections and flowing downhills.
Access is relatively straightforward. From I-70, take Hwy 6 North for approximately 2 miles. Just before reaching the Hwy 58 intersection, you'll notice a small dirt pullout on the left. Jeffco Open Space provides an excellent map for the trail, which is a part of Windy Saddle Park. Parking is usually available across from the School of Mines on Hwy 6.
The first mile tests your mettle with steep, pea-gravel switchbacks that could force all but the most proficient riders to dismount. The challenges dissipate once you cross the road, shifting to a slightly more manageable ascent that resembles the neighboring Apex Park.
Past the first road crossing, the trail morphs into a relatively pleasant climb through a scenic canyon. It remains steep, so a strong resolve is necessary. Covering the next mile and a half under a canopy of trees provides some reprieve from the sun. The summit is around a mile past the road.
Upon reaching the summit, take a breather and snap some pictures at the picnic table. A short ride uphill on the pavement leads to another trail between the road and a large fence. This fast, fairly level singletrack is recommended for an additional mile of fun. It eventually intersects with Lookout Mtn Rd, where you can opt for a descent into Apex Park or loop back to Chimney Gulch's parking lot.
The return route simply retraces your ascent, making for a long and exhilarating downhill experience, replete with small jumps and technical challenges that won't disappoint.
Chimney Gulch Trail is a roller-coaster of emotions—from the steep climbs that almost break you, to the relief of tree-covered sections and rewarding downhill segments. Its close proximity to Golden makes it an excellent choice for those looking for a challenging after-work ride or a weekend excursion. While the uphill sections are grueling, they are a small price to pay for the adrenaline-pumping descent that follows. Prepare for a lung-busting, leg-burning adventure that will leave you coming back for more.