Weeknight Hike: Belcher Hill Trail, Golden, CO

A weeknight hike! Haven’t been on one of these in awhile.

Last night I met up with a fellow Florida transplant friend in Golden for a golden hour hike. This is the best time of year to go on a hike after work because there’s plenty of daylight, the air is cool and dry, and the sunsets are pretty spectacular. Around 7 p.m. or so, as the sun dips lower and lower, the whole sky turns an orangey-pink and paints the nearby city and neighborhoods in gold. It is pure magic and it never ever gets old.

My friend chose the trail this time: Belcher Hill Trail in Golden. It was a 6-mile out-and-back with about 1,300 feet of climbing—perfect for a couple hours of exploring. The trail is very easy to get to—just one turn off highway 93 and a mile down the road, there’s a fairly large parking lot with bathrooms and trail maps right at the trailhead. There’s only one way to go from the lot so it’s pretty easy to navigate.

Right from the beginning, we started climbing and didn’t stop until we got to the top. The trail is super rocky—lots of large boulders to navigate around along with very chunky gravel and loose rocks that we definitely didn’t trip over at all… This trail is also open to cyclists, which was pretty cool. We saw TONS of mountain bikers both on the way up and back down. It looked like a super difficult trail to ride, but also super fun and challenging. Type 2 fun, you know?

The later it got and the higher we went, the better the view and the sunset got. We reached the top of the trail—you could go further but we decided to turn after 3 miles—after about an hour and everything below us was bathed in the golden hour glow—my favorite time of day.

We both talked about how good we have it, how much we love it here, and how there’s probably no way either of us would move back to Florida. I definitely miss parts of Tampa. I lived there for eight years, and even those many of those eight years were some of the toughest of my life, I still consider Tampa one of my homes. I knew that town like the back of my hand, and look at real estate back there every so often. I feel like I’ll never afford a place here in Colorado, so who knows…maybe I’ll end up back in Florida? But for right now, Colorado is great and last night I felt so at home on the trail, face towards the sun, thanking my lucky stars the universe brought me here—and there—when I needed it the most.

The descent back to the parking lot was almost as tough as the climb. The trail was pretty steep in some places and the loose rocks were tricky to navigate. Again, totally no falls… But we made it back to where we started about an hour later. For me, the time flies when we get together because we always have so much to catch up on, and conversations with Courtney are some of my favorite in the world. Her friendship feels like mentorship sometimes and I really appreciate having conversations with her that I don’t always feel comfortable having with other friends or even family.

I think I’ll come back here for more hikes and trail runs. We saw a few runners huffing and puffing their way up the trail, which looks like a fun challenge with a sweet reward of a three-mile descent on the way back. That’s my kind of run!

Do you get the evening golden hour glow? 

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