Length: 6.46 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1709 ft
Trailhead: Burro Trail Head
Family Friendly? Older kids, yes
Windy Peak is an absolutely underrated hike in the Colorado front range. Only about 45 minutes drive from Denver, it’s still more secluded and less trafficked than some of the close hikes. The trail is beautiful and scenic and the view from the top is amazing. I recommend this hike to anyone looking for a moderate-difficult hike on a well-groomed trail with fabulous scenery.
There’s also great signage along the trail pointing you in the right direction at each junction.
Now you can do this route as an out and back or a loop. I’ll talk about the loop in this trail report, and I also recommend it because you get a lot more scenic views with no downsides.
From the Burro Trailhead start up the Burro Trail. Only after about half a mile it’ll join up with the Mountain Lion Trail (also called the Rocky Mountain High trail to celebrate John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High 50 year anniversary).
Walk a short distance on the Burro/Mountain Lion trail until you reach a junction where they split again. This is where you’ll choose if you want to do the loop clockwise or counterclockwise. I did it clockwise, so I actually went straight here instead of right even though it says Windy Peak is right (you can get there from either direction).
Not long after going straight on the Mountain Lion Trail you’ll come to another junction. Again, the trail is super well marked, so just continue following the Mountain Lion trail here.
The trial will be super wide and slightly inclining for a while.
Further up the trail narrows a bit, but is still good quality. This section is where a lot of your elevation will happen, but none of it is super steep. Now you’ll start getting amazing views of the landscape and can even see Windy Peak up ahead at some points.
I did this trail in April so there’s still snow closer to the top. Eventually the trail will top inclining and plateau, and go downhill a little.
After going downhill a little you’ll reach another split where you’ll turn right back onto the Burro Trail again.
Then, after a short distance, you’ll reach a sign pointing you towards Windy Peak. Follow that sign for the final out-and-back half mile to the peak.
It’s not too far or too steep to the peak. Once there, hang out on the rocks and enjoy the views. You should be able to see some high peaks off in the distance.
Now it’s time to go back down. Return to the previous junction by following the trail you came up about .4 miles.
Once at the junction again, turn right onto the Burro trail.
This downhill section is wooded and smells like pine.
The Burro Trail splits again up ahead, this time into two Burro Trails. Turn right.
This downhill section was one of my favorite sections. It’s a bit narrower and steeper than the rest of the hiking route, but very manageable.
At the bottom of the descent, you’ll reach a T junction and turn right (on the Burro Trail). There’s a small uphill section, after which you’ll join back up with the Burro/Mountain Lion Trail that you came up . Turn left here.
And then a short ways after that you’ll turn right back onto the Burro Trail.
Cruise back down to the parking lot from here.
The drive to the Burro Trailhead is actually very scenic in and of itself. People drive the winding Golden Gate Canyon road as a fun activity on its own. From Golden go north on 93 and then left on Golden Gate Canyon Rd. Take this road, winding through the gorgeous canyon, for about 4 miles and the turn right on Crawford Gulch Road. Stay on this road for 8.8 miles until you encounter the trailhead on the left.
You can also use Google Maps to take you there. Just type in “Bridge Creek Trailhead” and it should come up. For some reason they call it that instead of the Burro Trailhead that’s stated on the sign.
There’s tons of parking at the Burro Trailhead, but at high season in the middle of summer on a weekend there’s still a possibility it can be full. Also, there is a restroom at the trailhead.
Also keep in mind there is a Colorado state park fee of $10 unless you have an annual pass. You can get your day pass by stopping in the Golden Gate Canyon State Park Visitor Center. They have both machines and live humans to help you get your day pass.