Apex Trail is the roughly 3-mile root trail of a 9.7-mile trail system winding through Apex Park outside Golden, Colorado. With plenty of loops and cross-trails available, you can customize a journey that's pawfect for pups of any age, size, or fitness level in this 705-acre nature preserve.
Park and trail hours are governed by the sun rather than the clock: your pack has from an hour before sunrise until an hour after sunset to enjoy the terrain. You'll find restrooms and drinking water at the eastern trailhead in Golden, and parking is available at Heritage Square. Starting from the east, you'll be heading uphill; climb for as long as your fur family is willing, and then scramble back down to the car.
The trail can also be reached at its western trailhead along Lookout Mountain Road for a mostly downhill journey. There is no public parking on this end, but you can park at Lookout Mountain Nature Preserve (where you'll find the nearest restrooms and drinking water for this trailhead) and take a connecting trail to Apex. Lookout Mountain Road also has some pull-out roadside parking spots.
Whichever direction you travel, keep an eye/ear out for mountain bikes. Certain trail segments are reserved for hikers and their doggos, so check the map at the trailhead kiosk if you'd rather not share the road.
When the Apex and Enchanted Forest trails diverge, note that the wild, rocky Enchanted Forest Trail is where the Yeti R&D team test-rides their new bikes. For a peaceful walk without yeti sightings, stick to the Apex: the views are just as magical and the trail is a bit smoother.
Parts of the trail were widened and improved after sustaining damage in a 2013 flood, including bridges over particularly rough spots. However, the upper portion of the trail is still narrow and rugged--a poor fit for pampered lap dogs, but a great adventure for sturdy pups.
If your pack is gutsy and sure-footed enough to make the full hike, you'll enjoy views over Golden and Denver with the Front Range stretched out to either side. Best of all, your very best friends will be there to share the moment.