Distance: Approx. 3.6 miles round trip
Elevation: 8,140’ to 9,065’
Bathroom at Trailhead: Yes
Trail open to: Hikers, dogs
Dogs: Yes, on leash
Usage: Very high
Fees: Park day pass $7.00 per car
Date hiked: September 27, 2015
Overview: The Golden Gate Canyon State Park is 30 minutes from Denver, up a winding canyon road. The Horseshoe Trail is one of the more moderate hikes in the park due to its continual upward climb. The hike provides views of rock outcroppings and lodge pole pines and ends in the beautiful Aspen lined Frazer Meadow. Signs along the way tell stories of the people who lived in this area in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The Hike: The hike begins at the Horseshoe trailhead, just up the road from the visitor’s center on the right hand side of the road.
Begin hiking up the canyon and cross a stream via a large sturdy bridge. The falls colors on this hike are spectacular!
In a little over a mile, you’ll reach the side trail which goes to backcountry campsites. Continue on the Horseshoe Trail. After another ½ mile, you’ll intersect the Mule Deer Trail. Follow the Mule Deer Trail to Frazer Meadow.
Frazer Meadow contains the ruins of the barn built by local miner turned farmer, John Frazer in the 1860s.
A little further up the trail is a small sometimes elusive natural spring. We found the spring, but it looked more like a mud puddle at this time of the year. Near the spring there is a nice shaded rock area, which makes a good place to stop for lunch or a snack.
Return the way you came, or for a longer more difficult hike, take the Black Bear trail back down to the trailhead (see the sign at the intersection of the Horse Shoe Trail and Mule Deer Trail for directions to the Black Bear Trail).
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