Golden Bear Peak (13,010′) | CO Rank: 634/637
via Straight Creek Trail | Front Range | White River National Forest | Silverthorne, CO
08/08/19 | 6.93 miles | 1,950′ gain | Class 2
Golden Bear has been on my list for a day when I needed a quick & easy peak. And today was that day. There is no route listed on 14ers.com (the website I usually use for 14er/13er hikes), so I had to do a little more research than normal. I lucked out when I found the Upper Straight Creek Trail that would take me most of the way to the summit.
This trail starts from the strangest trailhead I’ve ever been to. Heading west from Denver on I-70, after you exit the Eisenhower Tunnel, take an immediate right into the “Brake Check Area”. There is no parking lot or signage indicating a trailhead, but it’s legal to park alongside the truck area. The Upper Straight Creek Trail starts right off I-70.
Follow the side road north into the basin, where it eventually turns into a trail.
The wildflowers in this basin were UNREAL and I stopped often to take picture after picture.
For the most part, the trail is gradual. It slowly switchbacks up the ridge, eventually tops out on the Continental Divide, and continues down the other side.
When we reached the Divide, we turned off trail and headed north along the ridge to Golden Bear. It would be very easy to turn off sooner, saving a bit of mileage.
I think the t-posts were just marking the ski area boundary, but they were easy to follow all the way to the summit. There was even a faint trail through them.
On the way down, we cut back to the trail sooner on slightly steeper terrain, which saved us maybe 1/4 mile or so. Golden Bear is a quick & easy summit that would be great for a beginner!