Not that I have anything against free beer tours with complimentary beverages along the way, but Golden has a lot more to offer than beer. Besides, I haven’t been on a Coors Tour, so I can’t write about it yet. Stay tuned.
Golden is one of those cute little small towns alongside a creek with a historic downtown and a backyard full of mountains. Plus, if you ever get bored, it’s only a 20 minute drive to downtown Denver. I’m thrilled to be moving to this spot of geographic perfection in August, so more Golden posts may be popping up here in the next few months.
But for now I’m still a Golden tourist, and any day in Golden has to either start or end with a hike. The most obvious choice is up North Table Mountain. This is an easy hike. (Easy means that I saw families with small children and grandmas on the trail. My five-months-pregnant self actually got a little bored and had to start running to work up a sweat.) It is just a few miles north of town on highway 93. You can’t miss the trailhead sign or parking lot on the left side of the road as you are heading north out of town. As the “Table” part of name suggests, this mountain is actually a large plateau. It’s a steep gravelly hike to the top, and then there are several flat loops to walk or bike through when you get to the top. This fact coupled with the lack of trees makes for not the most interesting hike in the world, but if you follow North Mesa trail there are great overlooks of the town of Golden. Plus, if the wind is blowing right, you can smell the beer from atop the mountain.
After your walk, hike, trailrun or bike ride, cooling off is a must. This can either be done with a refreshing dip in Clear Creek or by enjoying a cool beverage.
Clear Creek runs through downtown, with the most populated spots just north of downtown on Washington street.
A paved trail meanders along Clear Creek for miles in both directions. Walk along the south side to check out the historical stops near the trail. There are several spots alongside the trail in which you can easily step down to the creek to cool off and play in the water. If you are lucky you might even see a kayaker navigating the shallow waters (usually about a half mile or so up the trail, west of town).
If splashing in a creek isn’t your idea of “refreshing,” there are several places in town where you can grab a drink. Buffalo Rose has an outside patio bar if you’re a beer and bikers kinda person. Come back at night for live music and/or karaoke. On the other side of the drinking spectrum, there is patio seating at Grappa from which many enjoy glasses (or bottles) of wine.
Downtown Golden isn’t exactly Chicago’s Miracle Mile, but there are cute shops along Washington Ave and its side streets. My favorites is Silver Horse, where I drooled over $600 cowboy boots and long strands of turquoise jewelry. Rewind is another popular place, with antiques and secondhand clothes and furniture, organized thematically in different rooms.
There are a few places to stay in Golden. The Golden Hotel is the most centrally located, right on Washington Ave alongside Clear Creek. A few blocks north is Table Mountain Inn, with an abode façade that looks like it was airlifted from Santa Fe. Down alongside Clear Creek is a secluded RV park, shaded by trees – that’s where I would stay (they only have three tent sites though).
This post is somewhat of a teaser, Golden has tons more hikes, shops, restaurants, and museums for me to explore. Plus that Coors Factory. I can’t wait to get to know my soon-to-be-new home.