Millions of people each year visit the Coors Brewery, but have you hiked the rock formation above the brewery? It’s called Castle Rock. And back in the early 1900s, there was a dance hall on the top of the rock and an incline railway (called a funicular) took dancers to the top of the rock.
There appears to be several different trails to get to the top of South Table Mountain including the Cretaceous Trail from the NREL parking lot on the southeast side of the mesa. However, the shortest way up is the Lubahn Trail on the west side. Lubahn was a professor at Colorado School of Mines who built the trail in the late 1960s, according to a sign on the trail. Google maps calls this the Sleeping Elk Trail.
No matter what the name of the trail is, it starts on Belvedere Street in a Golden neighborhood (directions below). A sign says “Golden Trail Rules,” but there’s no sign with the trail’s name. From here, hikers start up a series of switchbacks to the top. In summer, you’ll find we found beautiful wildflowers at every turn. In winter, expect lots of ice, snow and mud.
After about 0.5 mile, hikers come to a bench with a view down to the neighborhood and across to Lookout Mountain. This is a great spit to take in the view of Golden and the front page foothills. After a break, keep hiking up the twisty trail. When the trail ends at a rocky area, and you can’t go any further, you should see a rocky path to the top of the mesa.
At the top, turn left, following the path to “Castle Rock” in the northwest corner of the mesa. At the Castle Rock, a series of steps takes hikers to the top for a view of the city of Golden and the Coors brewery below. Search around at the top for old bolts, concrete pieces and other remnants from the foundation of the old funicular, dance hall and other buildings. From the trailhead to the top of the Castle Rock is less than 1 mile, but it has enough elevation gain to get your heat pumping.
After enjoying the view, hike around the mesa top for extra mileage and views. Read more about the Lubahn Trail on the city of Golden’s website. Learn more about South Table Mountain’s trails on the Jefferson County Open Space website. Be aware, the city of Golden’s website says the Castle Rock is private property. However, JeffCo’s website says while it is private property, it says stay on designated trails.
Details: The hike from the trailhead to the top of the Castle Rock is about 0.85 miles each way with 600 feet of elevation gain. Add more mileage for whatever exploring you do on the mesa.
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Directions: From U.S. 6 in Golden, drive east on 19th Street until it ends at Belvedere Street, about 10 blocks. Turn left and park between 18th and 19th Streets. The trail begins at 18th Street. Visitors park on the street and space is limited.