Some might say the Moonraker Trails in Golden are sooo 2005 but I’ve always liked me a bit of retro and, honestly, I can’t even call those gems-of-trails old school. So, without further ado, here are my top 5 reasons to run in the moon(rakers).
1. All the Loops. The Moonraker system is the most extensive in Golden so there are lots of loops, great loops. For an easy 5 km start from the parking lot, jog out arrowhead to Barking Dog, zip across Cedar Camp to North Star and take North Star “back” (turn right) to the road. It’s less than 1 km down the road back to where you parked. If you’re up for a bit more, you can do a circuit out to the glorious Canyon Creek in about 14 km. I always recommend running out either North Star or Cedar Snag and coming back along Arrowhead (or vice versa). If you want to go a bit longer, zip down toward Sander Lake and come back Tonight Tequila. Or take Dam Bypass and head up the Canyon for some amazing views. Did I say, ALL the loops!
2. All the lakes. Who does not want to dunk in a lake after a run on a hot day? Well, there are more than enough to share in the Moonrakers with four lakes name Cedar Lake and one named Sander. I highly recommend swimming in Cedar 2 (that’s the 2nd lake you pass on your way out Cedar Camp) or Cedar 1. The rest are a bit smaller and resemble swamps at certain times of the year.
3. ... and those views! The really in your face views in the Moonrakers are out by Canyon Creek...and they’re spectacular. You can actually enjoy those vistas for a full 15 km if you follow the Canyon Creek trail all the way up to the top of the ski hill. That may be a bit more than most of our legs can chew, so know that you still get some pretty awesome vistas in the depths of the system, too. Arrowhead is my favourite for the wide valley views.
4. Sleep and Run anyone? If you’re really in need of a little getaway, Cedar Lake (the primary trailhead for the Moonrakers) has a small campground. It’s a BC Rec Site and decently well maintained. Pitch a tent, park a trailer and get your run and swim on for a great few days “away from it all.”
5. Not an Oasis. While I tout the extensive trails and wilderness of the Moonrakers, I fail to mention that it does boast all of the modern amenities. You get good cell coverage on most of the trails, the road to the parking lot is well maintained, and the trails are amazingly well connected to the rest of the Golden system – access the CBT network within 500 m, zip across the valley from the bottom of Sternwheeler to be in Mountain Shadows in less than 5 km, or take ScalliMag to Kicking Horse Resort for some Truffle French Fries at Eagle’s Eye Restaurant.
If you’re not convinced yet, you’ll just have to come and see for yourself.
To learn more about Trail Running in Golden visit https://www.tourismgolden.com/activities/summer/trail-running