Golden Bear Peak (13,010′) | Colorado | 08/08/19

Golden Bear Peak (13,010′) | CO Rank: 634/637

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 (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.

Walk on the paved road for a short ways into the basin.
The paved road becomes a 2-track.
The 2-track becomes 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.

Heading further into the basin.
Looking back towards I-70.
Getting close to the Divide! You can see the parking area below.
The guardians of Golden Bear taunted poor Otis as we climbed higher.
Views to the west.
The summit is in sight! It’s the pointy one in the center.

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.

It was easiest to follow the line of t-posts.
Some sections were rocky, but the terrain was mostly grassy tundra.
Views off the east side of the ridge.
Still following t-posts…summit getting closer

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.

Almost there!
The summit is rocky, but stable.
The bumps just on the other side of the summit are slightly shorter.
My golden bear on Golden Bear.
Looking towards Grays Peak (14,270′) and Torreys Peak (14,267′).
Looking at the off-trail portion of the route, nice and gradual! You can JUST see the trail in the center, and the parking area bottom right.
Summit views

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!


11 thoughts on “Golden Bear Peak (13,010′) | Colorado | 08/08/19

  1. pam@ichoosethis

    Looks like a great hike! I’ll have to check it out next summer. I think I have only hiked a couple of 13ers, so this is great info. and it looks like there is a nice trail!


  2. This looks amazing! Thanks to your blog post, we are going to try for it this weekend. I know it’s been a year, but can you recall how much of the hike was class 1 verses class 2? Your photos make it seem like it’s just a class 1 most of the way! I want to take my 3-legged dog but want to be cautious. Thank you so much for all this helpful beta, it’s impossible to find much info on this hike!


    1. Hi Brittany! The route I took is a Class 1 trail all the way to the ridge, then mostly Class 1 grass (off-trail) all the way to the summit. There is very minimal Class 2, just a few small sections of easy talus. Hope this helps, and that you have a great hike!


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