North Table Mountain Park

Jefferson County Open Space provides over 51,000 acres of public land in the foothills west of Denver.  These parks cover various parts of Jefferson County, and offer access to hiking, mountain biking, picnicking and wildlife.

View towards Lookout Mountain from North Table Mountain
North and South Table Mountain separate the City of Golden from the rest of the Denver metro area.  North Table Mountain has over 1,900 acres available for hiking, biking and rock climbing.  The trails along the park start out steep to climb up on top of the plateau.  Once on top, the trails rise and fall gently along rolling hills.  There are many different types of rock that you can see along the edges of the plateau and on top.  Here is what the Jefferson County Open Space website says about the history of North Table Mountain:

The mountain is the result of three lava flows that originated from the Ralston Dike located about two miles northwest of the mountain.  After centuries of weathering, North Table Mountain has been transformed into an area that contains several different types of habitat.  These habitat types include grasslands, shrub communities, lichen rock gardens, riparian, shore and cliff habitat.  Although human activity has occurred over the years, it is still considered high-quality habitat and in 1993 the Colorado Natural Heritage Program classified North Table Mountain as one of only twenty-seven Conservation Sites in the County.
-Source:  Jefferson County Open Space

Tilting Mesa trail on North Table Mountain
For an easier hike or bike ride, you can travel around the trail along the perimeter of the mountain.  It offers rolling hills and skirts along some of the nearby neighborhoods.  For a better view of the mountains to the west and downtown Denver to the east, hike up the steep, but relatively short trails to the top.

North Table Loop on North Table Mountain
If you hike up to the top of the mountain from the trail head marked in the map below, you will end up on top of North Table Mountain and have a choice between the North Table Loop above and the Tilting Mesa Trail further above.  These trails meander across the top of the mountain  and have gentle hills, but no major climbs.

View of downtown Denver from North Table Mountain
While you're hiking in the open space, keep your eye out for the typical front range animals.  You may see deer, coyotes and rabbits.  Be cautious of snakes, there are occasional rattle snake sightings around North Table Mountain.  I make sure my kids stay on the trail!  In the spring you may find wildflowers mixed in with the wild grasses.  There is also cactus, you can catch it flowering like in the photo below:

Cactus on North Table Mountain

North Table Mountain on Google Maps:
View Larger Map

Have you hiked at North Table Mountain?  Let me know your favorite front range hiking spot in the comments below.


Popular Posts