Photo from Base Camp at Golden Gate Canyon website

We’re booked! One night at Base Camp at Golden Gate Canyon, and two days noodling around Golden Gate State Park and surrounds.  I’m calling it camping because there will be outdoor cooking. Ooh, and s’mores!

Trip Goals

  • Experience cabin camping, and campground-camping, both for the first time
  • Assess the day-trip-worthiness of this area for summer picnicking
  • Write up the State Park as a Destination for my in-development travel site

General Plan

Day 1 – Frolic with children

Night 1 – Cabin-camp at Base Camp at Golden Gate Canyon (private campground)

Day 2 – Explore Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Heading home at the end of Day 2, because the following morning we’re headed to the Colorado Medieval Festival. And, yes, of course we’ll be in garb.

Out and About

I probably will take the children swimming at the Gilpin County Community Center before campground check-in, per Base Camp’s recommendation.

In Golden Gate Canyon State Park, travelers recommend the visitors’ center, fish feeding at the main entrance ponds, picnicking, and the park’s Forgotten Valley area. It seems to be all quite lovely and I’m sure we will have a nice day exploring.

That said, because I am a delightful wife, I’ve researched some local hikes for DH just in case he finds the state park too sanitized:

Caribou Peak Trail (off Hwy 128, Nederland)

Black Hawk Peak (mixed reviews)

Fairburn Mountain (moderate hike, bushwhacking)

  • Trip report (directions to trailhead @ Cold Springs Campground)

Campsite Activities

For this mini-trip, we’re sticking with card games and s’mores. If DH does not show, the girls probably will be allowed to watch a movie on their tablets while Mama enjoys a glass of wine.

Glamping Equipment

New for this trip: cabin glamping.  Base Camp’s new management has garnered such nice reviews (and maintains such a diligent Facebook presence) that I’m intrigued.

Plus, if there’s a flight delay, DH won’t make it for this trip. So I want things to feel safe and manageable. With a campground cabin, I need only pull up the the Grocery-Getter, unpack the sleeping bags, and skewer some hot dogs. Dinner is served.

Area Research

Golden Gate Canyon offers a generous amount of in-park camping.  In the near-Denver radius, only Chatfield, Cherry Creek, and Golden Gate Canyon state parks offer camping at all, and they often fill up, so you’ll want to plan ahead on lodging.  Try the “amenities” filter in Colorado’s online park finder.

The good news: with a little research, you’ll find a decent number of RV parks, national forest campgrounds, national forest boondocking, and private campgrounds in easy driving distance.

For Golden Gate Canyon State Park, unless you have an annual pass, bring $7 for the day parking fee. Exact change is recommended.