Black Bear/Horseshoe Loop

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Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Black Bear/Horseshoe Loop is a 6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Central City, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 6.0 miles Elevation Gain: 1,433 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

backpacking

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

views

wild flowers

rocky

recorded Black Bear/Horseshoe Loop

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 days ago

The most challenging part is in the first 1-2 miles up Black Bear. Very rocky, so if you need stability for knees/ankles, you could consider poles. Great views from the top!! Great hike, beautiful weather (wear sunscreen), and # of people was as expected for a Sunday. We got lucky with a spot near the visitors center.

hiking
4 days ago

Very nice trail. Be prepared for crowds and a fair amount of traffic noise on Black Bear.

This is a fantastic hike! If you start towards Horseshoe, be extra careful as you come to the turn for Black Bear trail as it's very easy to miss!! We actually missed it an added an extra mile or so to our overall hike. Would be very smart to grab a trail map from the visitor center after paying your $9 to park. Be prepared for some serious scrambling as you get to the middle/top of Black Bear trail before it heads back down the mountain. Despite being a scramble, there are plenty of trail markers every 15 feet or so to keep you on track. Very important on this one to be prepared with water and maybe some snacks! Note that the trail sign on the actual trail will say "Black Bear: Most Difficult."

hiking
rocky
22 days ago

this was a great hike! perfect mix of uphill/downhill and took us a little less than 3 hours to complete. parking costs $9 per vehicle (if you do not have a state parks pass). during the hike, we lost the trail for a bit when we reached one of the campsites but we just kept walking downward and found the trail again. looking forward to hiking this again!

hiking
24 days ago

First time hiking in CO with a bunch of friends from FL. I’ll tell ya man, 6 miles there and here are completely different haha. As far as my expectations they were passed, gorgeous views, quiet trickling of a snow melted creek under the shade of trees, with a must see view over the mountain at the top. Definitely would recommend.

hiking
25 days ago

Great trail. Lots of uphill. Beautiful. Challenging!

hiking
snow
1 month ago

Enjoyable trail. Can get a bit steep sometimes and a bit snowy/icy even in April. Nothing you can’t do with some simple hiking shoes though.

hiking
icy
muddy
1 month ago

hiking
fee
icy
scramble
snow
2 months ago

Very lovely hike. Lots of snow and ice. yak tracks made it very doable. there is a bit of a scramble at the highest point. signed well so you wont get lost. fee is now $9.

hiking
snow
2 months ago

Pretty hike! Lots of interesting scenery. Plenty of snow on March 28th. I used spikes because I had them, but the trail could be done without them.

hiking
icy
muddy
rocky
snow
2 months ago

Breezy, warmer day. Calm before , yet another snowstorm. Snowpacked, icy, muddy, and dry at times. Glad I had my Yak Trax with me. Did not see very many people out on trail; however, trailhead parking (Horseshoe) was packed. Dog was easy to traverse icy areas. Good dog!

hiking
icy
muddy
rocky
snow
2 months ago

definitely need spikes. lots of snow.

2 months ago

Hiked this loop on 3/8. It was beautiful and there were few people. I would recommend micro spikes if you got 'em. I had them but by friend didn't. she slid a bit but we both made it. :)

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
snow
2 months ago

Today it was about 55 degrees and sunny when we set out from the Ralston Roost Parking Lot. My wife, me and two dogs completed this loop going clockwise by climbing up the Black Bear trail and then linking up with Horseshoe on the way down. Lots of snow on the trail still, but it's not very deep. Would recommend microspikes, but they're not absolutely necessary. Great views of Mt. Evans, Bierstadt and Gray's Peak from the apex of the Black Bear Trail.

hiking
icy
snow
3 months ago

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