Trailhead: Our favorite Centennial Cone Park trailhead is on the north end of the park.
Activities: Hiking, Mountain Biking (Note that the park is closed during certain times of the year and due to heavy visitation on the weekends, hikers are only allowed to hike on one of the days. You can check here for additional info on seasonal closures and when hiking is allowed.)
Closest City / Town: Golden
Driving Directions: From Golden, head north on Hwy 93 and then take a left (west) on Golden Gate Canyon Road about a mile north of town. Travel 7.9 miles and take a left (south) on Robinson Hill Road. You’ll travel 1.1 miles and then take a slight left on Camino Perdido. Follow this to the dead end/trail head about .6 miles up the road. You can also check out this map for directions.
Hiking Distance: 12 miles (roundtrip)
Description: Centennial Cone Park provides a near-backcountry experience, with a 12-mile trail loop that challenges stamina, offers sweeping views of Clear Creek, and will knock your socks off with the opportunity to see elk and other wildlife over wide expanses. Though the trails are all technically easy, the long climbs and precipitous drop-offs might not make it suitable for some beginners.
On weekends, hike and ride horses on odd-numbered days; bike on even-numbered days.
We last hiked Centennial Cone Park in November, and the hike took just over four hours. There was some mud but conditions were mostly dry with sections of snow and some ice. We started off at the north trailhead off of Douglas Mtn Road, and did the Elk Range to Travois loop. My watch registered 12.8 miles total, with 2,085 ft of elevation gain.
The trail was very quiet, we saw 3 people total. There were views of beautiful wide open meadows, steep canyons, and some creek crossings. As far as difficulty goes, it was a moderate 12.8 mile hike – not an easy hike. Realize that the distance is on the long side for a day hike, set aside 4+ hours, and take it easy and enjoy the solitude and views. The elevation gain was minimal and spread out; we enjoyed the gradual ups and downs especially with the snow and ice sections.
I would definitely recommend this hike as a Denver Metro area day trip.
17.3 miles total trails
80% Single track
6% Avg Grade (3°)
22% Max Grade (12°)