Frazer Meadows via Mule Deer Trail, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Boulder - Denver - Golden - Fort Collins - Lyons, Colorado
Frazer Meadows via Mule Deer Trail - 4.9 miles
Golden Gate Canyon State Park
|Round-Trip Length:||4.9 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||8,662' - 9,065' (9,095' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+403' net elevation gain (+708' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Frazer Meadows via Mule Deer Trail - 4.9 Miles Round-Trip
Frazer Meadows is highlighted by luxuriant aspen groves, summer wildflowers, year-round wildlife viewing and numerous backcountry campsites. Several trails within the Park lead to Frazer Meadows; The Mule Deer Trail is slightly longer but enjoys less traffic and more varied terrain:
From the Ole' Barn Knoll Trailhead, the Mule Deer Trail drops through an open aspen-ponderosa park, crosses Mountain Base Road (.45 miles : 8,572') and rises gradually along a forested, south-facing hillside.
In .85 miles you'll merge with the Mule Deer Cutoff Trail (a .2 mile spur that connects an alternative starting location on Mountain Base Road to this point), past which the climb intensifies up winding switchbacks with SW views of the Gore Range and James Peak Wilderness.
The climb moderates in a dense aspen-pine forest (1.85 miles : 9,030'), weaving past connections for the Black Bear Trail (1.95' : 9,040') and Horseshoe Trail (2.35 miles : 9,075') to the edge of Frazer Meadows (2.45 miles : 9,065'). This .6 mile stretch holds Golden Gate Canyon's finest autumn colors and most accommodating terrain for exploration.
The forests surrounding Frazer Meadows support a rich understory of lupine, yarrow, blueberry, thimbleberry, Woods' rose, snowberry, kinnikinnick, nodding brome, western wheatgrass, pine dropseed, blue grama, heart-leaved arnica, goldaster, beard-tongue and Oregon grape.
Summer wildflowers include paintbrush, sunflower, iris and columbine. Look for signs of bear, elk, deer, mountain lion, coyote, fox, skunk, porcupine and snowshoe hare in and on the periphery of Frazer Meadows.
The trail continues past Frazer Meadows to connections for the Coyote Trail and Natural Spring (2.5 miles : 9,080'), Greenfield Meadow Campground (2.55 miles : 9,112'), Backcountry Campsite #7 (2.6 miles : 9,135') and Backcountry Shelter #2 (2.7 miles : 9,217').
- N39 50.999 W105 26.718 — Ole Barn Knoll Trailhead
- N39 50.796 W105 26.539 — Cross Mountain Base Road (.45 miles : 8,572')
- N39 50.505 W105 26.311 — Mule Deer Cutoff Trail junction
- N39 50.478 W105 26.102 — Blue Grouse Trail junction
- N39 50.480 W105 25.666 — Trail levels in aspen-pine forest (1.85 miles : 9,030')
- N39 50.561 W105 25.601 — Black Bear Trail junction (1.95 miles : 9,040')
- N39 50.858 W105 25.746 — Horseshoe Trail junction (2.35 miles : 9,075')
- N39 50.948 W105 25.723 — Frazer Meadows (2.45 miles : 9,065')
- N39 50.974 W105 25.658 — Natural Spring access (2.5 miles : 9,080')
- N39 51.004 W105 25.598 — Greenfield Meadow Campground spur (2.55 miles : 9,112')
- N39 51.025 W105 25.593 — Backcountry Campsite #7 (2.6 miles : 9,135')
- N39 51.091 W105 25.595 — Backcountry Shelter #2 (2.7 miles : 9,217')
- Frazer Meadows sees heavy traffic due to its central location, multiple access points and numerous backcountry campsites. Arrive early to avoid crowds in peak summer and fall months.
- There's a natural spring located .2 miles off the main trail within Frazer Meadows. A marked spur provides access. Always purify water from this spring before consumption.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- Reverend's Ridge Campground
- Reverend's Ridge Campground has 97 sites and accommodates trailers, pickup campers, and tents. Facilities include flush toilets, shower and laundry facilities and a dump station. Some facilities are closed during cold weather months. 59 sites have electrical hookups. Each pedestal has 20, 30, and 50 amp capability. Non-electrical sites are $16 per night, $18 per night May 1st- Sept 30th. Electrical sites are $20 per night, $22 per night May 1st- Sept. 30th. A $7 park pass is required for each vehicle. Each site is limited to a maximum of 6 people.
- The Reverend's Ridge office is located off of Gap Road. The office is open seven days a week from Memorial Day weekend- September 30. 303.642.3856.
- Aspen Meadows Campground has 35 sites for tents only. Facilities include a water pump, vault toilets, and designated campsites with table, fire rings, and tent pads. All sites are $16 per night, $18 per night May 1st- Sept. 30th, plus a $7 park pass for each vehicle. 6 person max at each site. Sites #15 and #16 accommodate horses (call for specific information). This campground closes in mid-October and typically opens mid-May, depending on weather.
- There are 4 backcountry shelters at Golden Gate Canyon State Park. These three-sided structures are built in the Appalachian trail-hut style with roofs and wood floors. Each can sleep up to 6 people without a tent. Shelters are $10 per night, $12 per night May 1st- Sept. 30th, plus the $7 vehicle park pass.
- There are 20 backcountry tent sites open year-round . Backcountry Camping Permits must be obtained at the Visitors Center. Fires are not permitted in the backcountry. 6 person max at each site. Tent sites are $10 per night, $12 per night May 1st- Sept. 30th, plus the $7 vehicle park pass.
Aspen Meadows Campground
Backcountry Camping - Shelters
Backcountry Camping - Tent Sites
Rules and Regulations
- There is a $7 entry fee to Golden Gate Canyon State Park. You may pay at the Visitor Center or, if closed, use the self-pay station located beside it on Golden Gate Canyon Road. Display payment verification as instructed.
Directions to Trailhead
The Mule Deer Trail begins at the Ole' Barn Knoll Trailhead on Mountain Base Road inside Golden Gate Canyon State Park (see map).
Take Highway 93 north from Golden to Golden Gate Canyon Road. Turn left and continue 12.9 miles up-canyon to the Park entrance and pull-in Self Service Fee Station on your right.
Take Highway 93 south towards Golden. Turn right on Golden Gate Canyon Road and continue 12.9 miles up-canyon to the pull-in Self Service Fee Station on your right.
From the Fee Station:
Continue 1.3 miles past the Fee Station on Golden Gate Canyon Road to Mountain Base Road. Veer Right on Mountain Base Road and travel another 1.4 miles to the parking area and trailhead on your left.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park
3873 Highway 46
Golden, CO 80403