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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mount Galbraith - Golden, CO

View from Mount Galbraith Trail

May 2, 2015

At the start of our vacation, M and I wanted to acclimatize to higher elevation so we planned to stay in Denver for one night. We settled on hiking Mount Galbraith since it was only a half hour drive away. At the trailhead, we found out just how busy the Denver area could be especially on a nice Saturday afternoon. The parking lot was full, with cars overflowing and snaking around the mountain road. We were fortunate to find a parking spot about half a mile away and started our late hike around 12:30 pm.

Mount Galbraith Loop was 4.2 miles in length with a 1,100 ft elevation gain. The trail was well maintained and well traveled. Even though M and I got a late start to our hike, it worked out for the best since many people were finishing up and coming down the mountain. There wasn't any congestion and we were alone for most of the hike.

The trail had us hiking on Cedar Gulch Trail which eventually took us to the Galbraith Loop. At the trailhead, there was a stream crossing then the trail climbed steadily over a clear dirt path, crossing some rocky portions. Cedar Gulch Trail snaked around the left side of Mount Galbraith, until we came to the junction for Galbraith Loop. To our left was the clockwise half of the loop and also the Nightbird Gulch Trail, which continued over a large saddle to another trailhead. To our right, was the switchback that took us on the counterclockwise half of the loop trail. We went to the right and climbed up the side of Galbraith, overlooking the road we took to get to the trailhead. Around a bend, the scenery changed to become more rocky and overgrown with pines. Here, a hummingbird attacked me due to my brightly colored shorts. After I calmed my nerves from this attack, we continued onward towards the rocky summit.

The trail was hard to follow here but we found our way around the summit and made it back to the correct trail. Along the way, the scenery opened up to beautiful mountain views on our right and slowly descended back to the junction of Galbraith Loop and Cedar Gulch. The trail took us 2 hours to hike and we were able to finish before an afternoon thunderstorm rolled through. We made it to our car without getting soaked and, overall, it was a beautiful hike that helped us acclimatize and we thoroughly enjoyed the spring scenery.

Map of the hike starting at the parking lot. Cedar Gulch to Galbraith Loop

Mount Galbraith Park

Stream crossing on Cedar Gulch Trail, Mount Galbraith

Well maintained trail Cedar Gulch Trail, Mount Galbraith

Cedar Gulch Trail, Mount Galbraith

Beautifully laid out trail Cedar Gulch Trail, Mount Galbraith

Rocky section of Cedar Gulch Trail, Mount Galbraith

M hiking along Cedar Gulch Trail, Mount Galbraith

Cedar Gulch Trail, Mount Galbraith

Nightbird Gulch Trail saddle to our left, Cedar Gulch Trail, Mount Galbraith

Junction area on Cedar Gulch. To the left, Nightbird Gulch and clockwise Galbraith loop.

Counterclockwise Galbraith Loop, took this switchback

Trail from previous picture loops to left going around base of Mount Galbraith

Around the bend, northwest side of Mount Galbraith is forested

Rocky, steep portion of Galbraith Loop

Northwest portion of Galbraith Loop

Northwest trail of Galbraith Loop, Mount Galbraith

View from Galbraith Loop Trail

On Galbraith Loop where hummingbird attacked me

Going around the rocky summit, the loop has views of Golden CO, Mount Galbraith

Galbraith Loop continues south, Mount Galbraith

Going back towards the trail junction, Mount Galbraith

The intersection of Galbraith Loop, Cedar Gulch, and Nightbird Gulch trails, Mount Galbraith