Apex Park

Golden from Argos trail

Overview

A mountain biker’s mecca, Apex park has some very popular trails that won’t take you hours to reach. The park is located right outside of Golden near the Heritage Square parking lot. The restroom facilities are top notch and there is ample parking at the Colfax area lot along with extended spaced for those taking their Centaur friends out for a nice day on the trail. While we are on the topic of mystical creatures it’s important to note that you should feel free to bring your dog to the park but please do remember that the “Chocolate Fairy” leaves lots of bags in the area and no one wants to confuse your best friends dinner remnants with a glorious bag of free chocolate. The northern section of the park houses a protected area for butterflies and during the spring and summer you can gather some stunning pictures of butterflies doing butterfly type things. The tree cover in the park is sporadic so high exposure is likely on the trails within this park, plan accordingly and wear something to protect you from the sun.

Road Tolls in Apex Park
Road Tolls in Apex Park

9.6 miles of trails

Park Details

  • Hiking on all trails
  • Mountain biking on all trails (There are specific directions of travel on a few trails for Mountain bikers  on odd numbered days. Make sure you follow the signs.)
  • Centaurs Equestrians
  • There is a protected butterfly area along the Grubstake trail
  • Clean odor free restrooms
  • Dogs allowed but must be leashed
  • Ample parking
  • Park open 1 hour before and after sunset
  • Drinking or drug use in the park is prohibited
  • Weapons are not allowed
  • No overnight camping
  • Trails are well marked
  • No entrance fees

Emergency contacts:

Jefferson County Sheriff’s office @ (303) 277-0211

If the event is life threatening dial 911

Quick Reference Map

Downloadable map of the area can be found at Jefferson County Parks Free GPX files can also assist in planning your next hiking trip.

Argos Trail

Rocky path looking at Green Mountain
Rocky path looking at Green Mountain
Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)5 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)6
Distance0.6 miles
Time Needed12 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects with Pick N Sledge, and Apex trail
  • Mountain bikers must follow specific directions of travel on certain days. Signs on the trail will indicate what you need to do.

Trailhead: S – Apex Trail | R – Argos

Trail Highlights:

  • Views of Denver
  • Views of Golden
Green Mountain from Apex Park
Green Mountain from Apex Park

Review:

When you start off in Apex park you are quickly presented with a couple hiking options, following the Apex trail which runs the length of the park, or taking the Argos trail for the first portion of the park. If you are looking to hike the park’s northern trails and looking for less tree cover and views of the Denver and Golden area, Argos will be a more efficient route than taking Apex to Pick n sledge, and up to the trails in the northern section of the park. The trail is moderately steep and nearly entirely exposed on the west side of the mountain. The trail is well marked and easy to follow with only a couple switchbacks.

Apex Trail

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)5 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)6
Distance2.6 miles
Time Needed1 hour

Details:

  • Connects with Argos, Pick N Sledge, Hardscrabble, and Enchanted Forest trails.
  • Mountain bikers must follow specific directions of travel in sections of this trail. Signs on the trail will indicate what you need to do.
  • Most of the hikes in the Apex park connect to this trail.

Trailhead: Starts at the parking lot

Trail Highlights:

  • Runs along Lena Gulch
  • Treed valley with a lot of natural beauty
Apex Trail
Apex Trail

Review:

This trail is moderate with a fair amount of elevation gain in places, but with enough flat hiking to not wear you out too much. Lena Gulch runs the length of the trail offering you ample opportunity to view wildlife partaking in the life giving waters that flow down the valley. Certain times of year will also offer a spectacular display of both wildflower and cactus in bloom. When hiking this trail keep in mind that it is very popular even on the weekdays, due to it being an absolutely beautiful hike and also being very close to Denver. I highly suggest you follow the trail to the end and take the Enchanted forest trail back to its junction with the Apex trail near the halfway point. All of the trails in this park are well marked and you should have no problems with navigation.

Apex Spur Trail

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)4 (Easy)
Views Rank (1 – 10)5
Distance0.2 Miles
Time Needed5 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting Trails: Apex Trail
  • Short trail that can be used to connect with the Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve

Trailhead: S – Lookout Mountain Road. or S – Apex trail | R – Apex Spur Trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Views of the valley
  • Ability to connect with different parks

Review:

This ohh so short spur trail runs from the junction of Apex trail and Enchanted Forest trail up to Lookout Mountain road, where just a short saunter down Lookout Mountain Road and a left onto Colorow Road will let you jump on the Lookout Mountain Trail. From there you can connect with the trails in the Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve. For those that have to ask YES it is entirely necessary to saunter the entire way to the Nature Preserve. Remember this is a mystical area and I cannot be held responsible for those that deviate from the required gait.

Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest trail
Enchanted Forest trail
Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)5 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)8
Distance1.4 miles
Time Needed30 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects with Apex and Hardscrabble trails.
  • Mountain bikers must follow specific directions of travel on this entire trail. Signs on the trail will indicate what you need to do.
  • Connects to the Apex trail in two places to form a loop trail.

Trailhead: S – Apex | L – Enchanted Forest

Trail Highlights:

  • Thick beautiful forest
  • Lena Gulch
Tangled roots on trail
Tangled roots on trail

Review:

This trail is very appropriately named, as soon as you start to see the signs you will feel as though you are being transported into another world. There is plenty to see and lots of small forest creatures enjoying the shade and protection of the forest. While there are some rather steep inclines in portions of this trail over all it is not too strenuous, and I have seen many a wee human frollicking under the shady cannopy of the forest. There are a couple of creek crossings that are mild and should be crossable without getting wet.

Hardscrabble

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)5 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)5
Distance0.3 miles
Time Needed7 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects to Sluicebox and Apex trail.
  • Little tree cover

Trailhead: S – Apex | R – Hardscrabble

Trail Highlights:

  • Great aerial views of the valley

Review:

Given the name one would anticipate a real struggle on this trail, but the elevation gain is moderate and not to technical at any given point. The modest tree cover along this trail creates several great spots worthy of a rest and gander upon the valley below, but the trail is in my opinion less difficult than most of the other trails that make up the northern section of the park.

Sluicebox

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)7 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)6
Distance0.7 miles
Time Needed14 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects to Hardscrabble, Pick N Sledge Bonanza, and Grubstake trails.
  • Technical if you are mountain biking
  • Steep
  • Little tree cover

Trailhead: S – Apex | R – Sluicebox

Trail Highlights:

  • Technical rocks for mountain biking
  • Fairly steep

Review:

Several switchbacks make up the core of this trail snaking up the side of the mountain. The elevation change is strong and the tree cover weak, so if it’s a hot day you will be getting your sweat on. The trail is more technical than some of the other trails in the park, but if you are hiking there is nothing too demanding about the trail aside from the elevation gains.

Pick N Sledge

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)7 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)6
Distance1.6 miles
Time Needed36 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects with Argo, Grubstake, and Sluicebox trails

Trailhead: S – Apex | R – Pick N Sledge

Trail Highlights:

  • Views of the remains of Heritage Square

Review:

Some technical sections with a good variety of hill climbs and flats make this a great trail for both hiking and biking. There is a fair amount of tree cover once you near the top of the mountain, but most of the trail is exposed so a hat or sunscreen is a good idea if you are taking this trail.

Grubstake

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)5 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)6
Distance1.0 miles
Time Needed32 Minutes

Details:

Connects with Sluicebox, Pick N Sledge, and Bonanza trails

Trail Highlights:

  • Forested on the north west portion of the trail

Review:

Grubsteak is a great trail if you are looking to make a loop trail with some elevation gains. Fortunately this trail has some tree cover towards the middle of the hike, which gives some relief from the sun on those warm summer days. There is a healthy population of Ebert squirrels in the area messing about, and the forest is beautiful at the top of the mountain where this trail runs. The forest is very similar to the Enchanted Forest Trail, but not quite as dense or steep.

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