Location: Jefferson County Open Space
Nearest town: Golden
Distance from Denver: 13 mi / 0:19
Trail distance: 5.5 mi lollipop + 5.3 mi of additional trails
Elevation: 6,210 ft at TH
Directions: From 6th Ave in Golden, veer left on W Colfax Ave/Hwy 40 West. Shortly after Hwy 40 meets up with Hwy 93, turn left into Heritage Square and head all the way across the large parking lot to the northeastern edge where a wooden fence and paved walkway mark the TH.
Date hiked: 1/2013
Jefferson County Open Space
Trail notes and photos:
I took advantage of an unseasonably warm January day to check out Apex Park near Golden. The Jefferson County Open Space system provides easily accessible parks and trails which are well-signed and mapped. Most of these THs have bathrooms, signage and park brochures with maps available, but Apex Park is just a parking area. The maps are easily downloaded and printed from the above link.
I chose to hike the Argos Trail to the Pick ‘N Sledge Trail, do the Grubstake Loop counter clockwise, then back down the Pick ‘N Sledge and Argos Trails the same way I came up, for a 5.5 mi lollipop. The trail starts off totally exposed with only the occasional tree for shade as it switchbacks up the side of Indian Mountain. The wildflowers must be amazing in the spring due to all this exposure.
About 2.5 mi in, along the northeastern side of the Grubstake Loop the trail enters a forested area with the occasional spotting of a house through the trees.
To cut 0.6 mi off the loop, take the Bonanza Trail. According to the map there is a viewpoint along the loop, which I kept waiting for, finally realizing the view was the same as what I had been taking in for much of the first park of the loop.
After reaching the top of Indian Mountain, the loop continues back down the mountain to meet up again with the Pick ‘N Sledge Trail.
As with many of the trails in the foothills, there were quite a few hikers and mountain bikers. As noted on the park map and signage, mountain bikes are restricted to particular directions of travel on odd days on a few of the trails, so odd dates could be quieter days to visit.