This is a short nature trail within the Lookout Mountain Nature Preserve and adjacent to Lookout Mountain Park high above Golden, Colorado. The pleasant hike meanders among shady groves of butterscotch-scented ponderosa pines and meadows of colorful wildflowers. Kids will enjoy exploring in the forest and adults will appreciate interpretive signs along the way.
Wildlife is common in this nature preserve. You will likely see squirrels, rabbits, bluebirds, Stellar's jays, birds of prey, and mule deer. Be sure to stop in the visitor center to check out the wildlife displays that show all the different animals to be found in the area. Park staff have also set up motion-sensing cameras along a few wildlife corridors, and a screen in the visitor center lobby scrolls through fascinating candid shots of raccoons, skunks, foxes, mountain lions, and bears that roam nearby.
The solitude and natural bounty of Lookout Mountain has attracted outdoor enthusiasts for a long time. The loop trail passes by the extravagant Boettcher Mansion, which was built in 1917 as a hunting lodge by wealthy Denver businessman Charles Boettcher. Today, this national historic landmark is owned by Jefferson County and rented out for events.
Lookout Mountain Nature Preserve, its forest loop, and other trails are worth a stop if you are visiting the Denver and Golden area or passing by on I-70. The steep and windy two-lane road up the mountain is popular with cyclists and runners, so drive with caution.