It’s amazing how quickly spring comes to our valley! Not too long ago it seemed like we had to skate along sections of the rotary trails and now we’re able to cruise all of the singletrack trails with barely a puddle to dodge.
My favourite and most trusty places for the early season running (before all the snow melts in the alpine) in Golden is the rotary trails in town, the Mountain Shadows trails on the lower slopes of Mt. 7 and the CBT mainline network. They dry out in that order, most years. The Moonraker (Cedar Lake) trails are also super fantastic but can have some muddy sections until the end of May depending on the year (not this year).
To run the Rotary Trails, I often start from Spirit Square in downtown Golden, right beside the timber frame pedestrian bridge. It’s a great launch point because it’s close to downtown, where you can get a pre-run coffee, post-run beer or any things you may have forgotten in the sports shops. Plus there is ample parking on 8th Avenue North.
The Rotary Trails in Golden link to both the CBT and Mountain Shadows networks so Spirit Square is also a great gathering place if you’re interested in a longer run with some flatter, wider trail to warm up on before you hit the single-track. The other super awesome thing about the rotary trails is that they are plowed in the winter and the first to melt in the spring… and they’re a natural surface for 10-12 km so trail runners don’t have to worry about pounding their precious knees on the pavement when the weather is otherwise uncooperative.
The Mountain Shadows network does not have the most obvious trailhead. I often park at Keith King Memorial Ball Diamonds to access the Mountain Shadows via the Rotary Trails and the new 7-up Trail. Or, I park at Reflection Lake and use the Rodeo Drive trail to access Selkirk Slacker. If you milk every trail out of Mountain Shadows you can get in about a 20 km run. The hills are short, the trails are technical, and the network has the best afternoon sun.
My personal favourite trails in town are found on the CBT mainline network. I love long climbs so it’s somewhat of a no-brainer. I often run to the CBT trails because I like to warm up on the flat, wider rotary trails before hitting the hills. If you want to avoid the 2.2 km semi-boring transit, you can park at the CBT mainline trailhead.
The CBT mainline network has been growing slowly and now you can link a nice loop together in the zone. Running up to CBT to Mighty Quinn is approximately 8 km, Gold Rush is 10 km and if you add on the Old Age & Treachery Loops at the top you can get 17.5 km in one loop. Going further afield takes you right up to the Moonraker network at Cedar Lake and from there the options are endless.
I’ve always been a trail runner but not always coming to Golden to trail run – my first trip to Golden was for mountain biking. I came with a crew from Calgary who knew that Golden was one of the best destinations for early season riding because it’s a bit warmer and the trails near valley bottom get minty quickly. Nothing has changed since then, except there are more trails and more runners on them! Come and get it while it’s good!