Golden Gate Canyon State Park – camping, Aspen Meadows

The following is a trip report for a camping trip we took on July 17th 2015 to the Aspen Meadows campground on the North side of the park. The park is about an hour from Boulder, CO or Denver and is accesable from highway 93 in the east or the Peak to Peak Highway in the west. From the State park website:

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​More than 12,000 acres of dense forest, rocky peaks, and aspen-rimmed meadows laced with miles of trails awaiting the hiker, horseback rider, mountain biker and winter sports enthusiast at Golden Gate Canyon State Park.

Impressive hey, but we were simply after a mini, mid week family camping experience, some place close to home and with the potential for pleasant scenery. We left Boulder around 3:20pm and took Highway 93 south out of Boulder to Coal Creek Canyon. I rarely go up Coal Creek as I normally take Boulder Canyon to get to Nederland so it was fun to see how much steeper and more winding the road is. We turned off onto 123 and headed up an even steeper road that took us to the entrance of the park. A quick note on fees here, while I think $7 is not an unreasonable fee to get into the park we had to fork out $18 for the campsite AND a $10 online booking fee to a third party company called I think this is a little cheeky – ok so we should of booked for more than one night but a markup of more that 50% hurts. We also could of just rocked up there and paid at the entrance to the campground but the campsites are super busy, no so in the week I discovered so next time for a single night mideweek we’ll skip the resevation perhaps. But $35 for one night, ouch!!

The campsite was nicely laid out with a raised platform for the tent and spaced a good distance from the adjacent camp sites. The sites all seemed to be pretty well maintained by the camp hosts with no trash to be found anywhere. We joined two others familys for dinner that night, they booked two campsites that were close to one another. The following morning after a lesuirely breakfast we did a small hike down the Snow Show Hair Trail. So all in all a pleasant experience (well in all honesty I caught the flu the night we arrived and spent a hell night in the tent and was barely mobile the next day). It also seemed that the campsite and this part of the park sits below a main flight path out of DIA. I didn’t notice the noise much but some others commented on it – strange. So a pleasant place that I’d recommend anyone in the Denver / Boulder area checking out if your’re in need of some mid-week car camping action.

Here is a link to a PDF version of a park map