Black Bear Trail
Black Bear Trail Map

Black Bear Trail

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Black Bear Trail

Black Bear Trail

Distance: 4.2mi
Elevation: 1,188ft
Time: 2-3h

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The Black Bear Trail is an awesome day-hike in the Golden Gate Canyon National Park. Hike beneath the shade of golden aspens interspersed with towering pines, and up the rocky terrain to a luxuriant meadow that exposes epic mountain views. This hike is a must add to your day-hikes near Denver list.

Black Bear Trail Map

Getting there

The Black Bear Trail departs from the parking lot and trailhead off Crawford Gulch Road.

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Backcountry Campground

Rim Meadow Dispersed Campground

When to do


Pets allowed

Yes - On Leash

Family friendly

Older Children only

Route Signage


Crowd Levels


Route Type


Black Bear Trail
Elevation Graph

Black Bear Trail Description

You can probably tell, but we love this hike. The Black Bear exhibits some of our favorite ecosystems: forestlands and meadows. You get the best of both worlds on this hike, both shaded verdant woodlands and open meadows that reveal sights of the encompassing snow-capped peaks of the Front Range, what more could you ask for? There are some steep sections, so be mindful of your footing, but they are nothing extreme. This path also is prone to moose and deer, so keep an eye out as you travel through the wilderness. Note that this hike is located within the State Park, so visitors are required to purchase a day pass, which typically costs around $6USD.

Embark on your adventure along the Black Bear Hike from the trailhead off Crawford Gulch Road. From here, the trek can be completed in either direction, but we prefer to hike clockwise on this one. Shortly after your departure from the trailhead, you will encounter an intersection, turn left here and you will begin your hike along the Black Bear Trail. Hike the path through the shade of the towering pines and aspen trees, minding your footing on the rocky terrain. Navigate a few sets of switchbacks up to the summit of a rocky ridge and hike the increasingly exposed terrain past Ralston Roost Peak to an intersection. At the junction, turn right onto Horseshoe Trail, tracking past the dispersed campsites through the meadowlands.

Keep an eye out for moose and grazing deer in this area. At the next fork, keep right along the gradually descending path. Follow the Horseshoe Trail back beneath the timberline and down through a forested Gulch. At the trail’s end, turn right and track the Black Bear/Horseshoe Connector Trail back to the trailhead, marking the end of your adventure.



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