Hiking in Centennial Cone Park

Roadtrip to the Rockies: Centennial Cone Park

Centennial Cone Park is part of Jeffco Open Space and is located just west of Golden, Colorado.  The park includes over 16 miles of trails, though Jeffco closes a large section of the park as well as Elk Ridge Trail seasonally for elk calving season. 

This did not stop Diana, Jim and me from checking out the southwest corner of Centennial Cone Park beginning at Mayhem Gulch Trailhead.  We decided on this hike Thursday night, but after 7 inches of snow in Denver (forecast called for 1-3), we expected we’d be snowshoeing.

Given Jim, Diana, and I live in three opposite directions, we met in the middle at the Jefferson County Building Parking Garage, a perfect carpool location except when the RTD light rail gates malfunction!  We eventually made it across the tracks, gathered our gear into my car, and ventured to our starting point in Centennial Cone Park.

Upon reaching the parking lot, we were surprised to see Centennial Cone Park and the surrounding foothills received far less snow than the Denver Metro area, an unusual occurrence.  As such we just strapped our snowshoes on to our packs, reviewed the map at the trailhead, and started our hike on a pristine layer of soft snow without any traction devices.

Mayhem Gulch Trailhead

To complete a 4.8 mile hike, we combined the Mayhem Gulch Trail and the Juniper Trail making a lollipop loop.  We gained a little over 600 feet in elevation over 1.6 miles as we climbed the moderately graded “stem” of the lollipop. 

Snow dusted junipers peppered the south side of the slope while slightly deeper snow and pine trees awaited us on the north side of the loop which was relatively flat.  Aside from an occasional blasting wind, the conditions for the day were absolutely spectacular…sunny and 40 degrees!

After our wonderful late morning hike at Centennial Cone Park, we stopped in Golden for lunch at Colorado + 49 Cidery & Pub.  It likely would have been wonderful as well if we didn’t the worst waitress ever!  Anyway, we were blessed with an amazing day and hike.  I’m so glad after Jim and Diana’s crazy week, they could join me for a pleasant morning.  ETB

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned travel photographer and blogger.

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