Heading out of Denver toward the mountains, Lookout Mountain is a prominent presence on the horizon, and is a pupular hiking destination for humans and their outdoors-loving doggos. While it may not be the longest or steepest of the area’s trails, the Lookout Mountain Trail rewards hikers with stunning panoramic views and mild challenges that can be shared with the kiddos too. The trailhead rises off Crystal Mountain Road (Forest Road # 344) near Golden. It stretches steadily upward to its intersection with the Lookout Mountain Summit Trail, which requires another half mile climb of 400 feet to the summit.
This trail’s proximity to Denver and Golden make it a busy one, with the small parking area often full early in the day, which is all the more reason for a sunrise hike! Or a late-day sunset walk when many have gone home! Porta-potties are available at the parking lot, but you won’t find any along the trail, so be prepared to carry trash and waste out, including your pup’s. And please remember to keep your furry bestie leashed to avoid mishaps with other hikers, mountain bikers and wildlife!
In spring and summer, wildflowers will provide a colorful accompaniment, as will multiple species of birds and deer. Butterflies and bees grace the flowers with their flitting and buzzing, and small forest floor critters can be seen foraging in the undergrowth. A few boulder fields dot the trail that require a little climbing and scrambling, and the path can be muddy in the spring as the snow melts. Winter and early spring feature snow and ice, and in summer the thick trees provide lots of welcome shade.
Many hikers will make the short side trip about halfway up the trail to Buffalo Bill Cody’s gravesite, where you’ll find several touristy features, like a gift shop. From the summit, Lookout Mountain rewards your efforts with furtastic views or other mountains and the Denver metro lying below.
A pleasant walk in shady woods and a view you will remember await you and your fur-baby at the end of the Lookout Mountain Trail!