Burro Trail to Windy Peak, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Boulder - Denver - Golden - Fort Collins - Lyons, Colorado
Burro Trail to Windy Peak - 6.35 miles
Golden Gate Canyon State Park
|Round-Trip Length:||6.35 miles (includes side trip to Windy Peak)|
|Start-End Elevation:||7,830' - 9,132' (9,132' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+1,302' net elevation gain (+1,825' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Golden Gate Canyon State Park supports over 35 miles of multi-use trails across 12,000 acres ranging from 7,600' to 10,400'. The Burro Trail circles the southeast flank of Windy Peak, located in the northeast corner of the Park. Visitors will enjoy remarkable views across numerous valleys, meadows and mountain ranges, varied terrain, and good wildlife viewing throughout.
The Burro Trail - a lollipop loop - makes several connections with other trails, including a short spur to Windy Peak. Though well marked, take advantage of free maps from the Visitor Center to guide you through these intersections and remain on course. The following description begins from the third and easternmost parking lot for the Bridge Creek Trailhead, located 2.45 miles east of the Visitor Center.
From the 3rd parking lot and trailhead, cross Bridge Creek and begin a winding northwest climb through generously spaced ponderosa, fir, and aspen. Small meadows support grasses, sage and diverse wildflowers. You'll reach the first Mountain Lion Trail connection in .7 miles and bear left to a 2nd just steps away (.77 miles : 8,127'). Veer right to stay on the Burro Trail. The trail soon crests and drops steeply through dense lodgepole to Nott Creek, where it levels and crosses an aspen-studded corridor to reach the beginning of the Burro Trail Loop (1.1 miles : 7,932'). The following description travels clockwise:
The Burro Trail heads northwest and climbs steeply with emerging views back south across yawning valleys and nearby mountains. Look for wildlife on these sparsely treed slopes. The trail levels briefly at 1.65 miles (8,320') before resuming a strenuous pace through intervals of mixed forest and open hillsides.
The trail abruptly enters a thick, uniform lodgepole forest (2.15 miles : 8,618') and eases along moderate undulations to the Windy Peak access spur (2.45 miles : 8,667'). Bear left for a moderately steep, rocky climb to the summit.
You'll pass another connection for the Mountain Lion Trail (2.7 miles : 8,863'), past which no bikes or horses are permitted. A final twisting push leads to the talus strewn summit of Windy Peak (3.03 miles : 9,132'), from which you'll enjoy rangy panoramas across gaping valleys and mountain ranges near and far. Retrace your steps back to the main Burro Trail and continue the loop (3.7 miles : 8,667').
The trail bends southeast and drops across rolling hillsides ideal for spotting deer, elk, coyote, fox, bear, mountain lion, and turkey. The trail reaches the valley bottom and Deer Creek campground spur (4.65 miles : 8,055'), bends southwest and levels through an expansive meadow. Follow signs carefully across short sections of service roads.
You'll veer right off the service (4.8 miles : 7,985') and continue on a rolling course to complete the Burro Loop (5.25 miles : 7,932'). Cross Nott Creek, climb one final steep ridge and retrace your steps back to the Bridge Creek Trailhead (6.35 miles : 7,830').
Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84View Interactive Google Map
- N39 50.780 W105 22.673 — Bridge Creek Trailhead
- N39 50.975 W105 22.498 — .7 miles : Mountain Lion Trail junction #1
- N39 51.006 W105 22.541 — .77 miles : Mountain Lion Trail junction #2
- N39 51.161 W105 22.227 — 1.1 miles : Begin Burro Trail Loop
- N39 51.248 W105 22.545 — 1.65 miles : Brief reprieve with good views
- N39 51.411 W105 22.451 — 2.15 miles : Enter lodgepole forest
- N39 51.700 W105 22.371 — 2.45 miles : Burro Trail - Windy Peak summit spur
- N39 51.703 W105 22.804 — 3.03 miles : Windy Peak summit
- N39 51.700 W105 22.371 — 3.7 miles : Back on Burro Trail Loop
- N39 51.366 W105 21.741 — 4.65 miles : Deer Creek Campground spur
- N39 51.263 W105 21.835 — 4.8 miles : Veer of service road, resume trail
- N39 51.161 W105 22.227 — 5.25 miles : Complete Burro Trail Loop
- N39 50.780 W105 22.673 — 6.35 miles : Bridge Creek Trailhead
- Consider the Mountain Lion Loop Trail for a longer alternative with similar ecological and terrestrial characteristics.
- Having a map is always a good idea in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. There are many interconnecting trails that, though well marked, can easily cause confusion. Minor distance discrepancies among trail signs and map sources are not uncommon in GGCSP.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- Reverend's Ridge Campground
- Reverend's Ridge Campground has 97 sites and accommodates trailers, pickup campers, and tents. Facilities include flush toilets, shower and laundry facilities and a dump station. Some facilities are closed during cold weather months. 59 sites have electrical hookups. Each pedestal has 20, 30, and 50 amp capability. Non-electrical sites are $16 per night, $18 per night May 1st- Sept 30th. Electrical sites are $20 per night, $22 per night May 1st- Sept. 30th. A $7 park pass is required for each vehicle. Each site is limited to a maximum of 6 people.
- The Reverend's Ridge office is located off of Gap Road. The office is open seven days a week from Memorial Day weekend- September 30. 303.642.3856.
- Aspen Meadows Campground has 35 sites for tents only. Facilities include a water pump, vault toilets, and designated campsites with table, fire rings, and tent pads. All sites are $16 per night, $18 per night May 1st- Sept. 30th, plus a $7 park pass for each vehicle. 6 person max at each site. Sites #15 and #16 accommodate horses (call for specific information). This campground closes in mid-October and typically opens mid-May, depending on weather.
- There are 4 backcountry shelters at Golden Gate Canyon State Park. These three-sided structures are built in the Appalachian trail-hut style with roofs and wood floors. Each can sleep up to 6 people without a tent. Shelters are $10 per night, $12 per night May 1st- Sept. 30th, plus the $7 vehicle park pass.
- There are 20 backcountry tent sites open year-round . Backcountry Camping Permits must be obtained at the Visitors Center. Fires are not permitted in the backcountry. 6 person max at each site. Tent sites are $10 per night, $12 per night May 1st- Sept. 30th, plus the $7 vehicle park pass.
Aspen Meadows Campground
Backcountry Camping - Shelters
Backcountry Camping - Tent Sites
Rules and Regulations
- There is a $7 entry fee to Golden Gate Canyon State Park. You may pay at the Visitor Center or, if closed, use the self-pay station located beside it on Golden Gate Canyon Road. Display payment verification as instructed.
Directions to Trailhead
The Burro Trail is accessed from the Bridge Creek trailhead in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Three parking lots service this trailhead; the third, easternmost parking lot is located at the trailhead itself.
Take Highway 93 north from Golden one mile to Golden Gate Canyon Road. Turn left and continue 13 miles to the Vistor Center. Turn right on Crawford Gulch Road for 2.45 miles to the trailhead and parking lot. If full, park at one of the first two lots and walk back up the road.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park
3873 Highway 46
Golden, CO 80403