Belcher Hill Trail to Mustang Trail, White Ranch Park in Golden, Boulder - Denver - Golden - Fort Collins - Lyons, Colorado

Belcher Hill Trail to Mustang Trail - 9.0 miles

White Ranch Park in Golden

Mariposa Lilies on the Belcher Hill Trail

Mariposa Lilies on the Belcher Hill Trail

Round-Trip Length: 9.0 miles
Start-End Elevation: 6,175' - 7,880'
Elevation Change: +1,705' net elevation gain
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: Yes
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Belcher Hill Trail to Mustang Trail - 9.0 Miles Round-Trip

White Ranch Park supports nearly 20 miles of multi-use trails through open grasslands, ponderosa parks, and montane forests. The Mustang Trail stretches 2.2 miles along the Park's south side, a lightly traveled area with interesting terrain and good views.

The Mustang Trail cannot be accessed from any trailhead, but is most directly reached from either end of the Belcher Hill Trail. This description begins from the East Access Parking Lot and Trailhead:

The Belcher Hill Trail runs northwest across the foothills, rising nominally to and across a small creek (.65 miles : 6,260'). Summer travelers will enjoy an array of wildflowers along these sunny eastern slopes. The trail moves easily to the Whippletree Trail split (1.15 miles : 6,510'), then turns sharply southwest on a winding, moderately strenuous climb into the foothills.

Views improve on a westerly bend and methodical climb to the Mustang Trail (2.4 miles : 7,245'). Look for deer, elk, turkey, coyote, bear, rabbit, hare, porcupine, mountain lion, and bobcat in these pine-aspen forests.

The Mustang Trail narrows and grows rugged for over a mile with little net elevation change. It runs along the rim of a deep ravine, and steepens through 4 miles up a narrow gully dotted with aspen. New steps and wooden planks make this section easier to navigate (bikes will likely need to dismount and carry).

Once past the Sawmill Trail cutoff (7,615'), it's just over .25 miles and +265' to the Mustang Trail's terminus at the western end of the Belcher Hill Trail (7,880').

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N39 47.946 W105 14.915 — White Ranch Park - East Trailhead
  • N39 48.205 W105 15.427 — .65 miles : Cross Creek
  • N39 48.446 W105 15.666 — 1.15 miles : Whippletree Trail junction
  • N39 48.255 W105 15.908 — 1.85 miles : Longhorn Trail junction
  • N39 48.375 W105 16.437 — 2.4 miles : Mustang Trail junction #1
  • N39 48.964 W105 17.561 — 4.5 miles : Belcher Hill Trail Trail junction #2

Worth Noting

  • Take advantage of free maps provided at the trailheads, as there are many trail intersections and routing options throughout the Park.

  • Expect heavy mountain bike traffic on the Belcher Hill Trail.

  • The uniquely shaped foothills near the East Access Trailhead are called Hogbacks. Tectonic forces related to the greater Rocky Mountain uplift created ripples that forced rock layers to bulge and compress at its base, creating anticlines - or convex folds on the earth's surface. As the bulging anticline's softer sediments eroded, only hard ridges - the Hogbacks - remained from the previously rounded hilltops.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • White Ranch Park has two camping areas: Sawmill Hiker Camp and Sourdough Springs Equestrian Camp. Both grounds have restrooms, water, and bear-proof food storage.

  • Camping permits (advance or on-site) are free, valid for a maximum stay of up to three consecutive nights.

  • Campground stays are limited to no more than a total of 12 nights within a 30-day period. Campers are asked to use the west parking area.

  • Sourdough Springs Equestrian Campground
  • 10 campsites, each with picnic table, metal fire ring, horse hitching rail and horse watering trough.

  • Restrooms, firewood, bear-proof trash cans and food storage poles are provided.

  • Maximum of three tents and eight people per site (erect tents within 30' of post and metal fire ring).

  • A drinking water hand pump is seasonally available (check for status prior to arrival).

  • Reservations are taken a minimum of 3 days prior to arrival. All others sites may be secured on a first come, first-served basis. 3 day maximum stay.

  • Sawmill Hikers Campground
  • The Sawmill Hikers Campground is located 1 mile from the West Access parking lot.

  • There are 10 campsites, each with a picnic table, metal fire ring, and food storage poles. Sites have access to a restroom, bear-proof trash cans, and a hand pump for drinking water (closed in winter).

  • Maximum of three tents and eight people per site (erect tents within 30' of post and metal fire ring).

Directions to Trailhead

East Access Trailhead: From Colorado Highway 93 (connecting Golden and Boulder), turn west on 56th Avenue. Follow signs on Pine Ridge Road to the White Ranch East Access Parking Lot (about 1 mile total from Highway 93).

West Access Trailhead: Take Highway 93 north from Golden approximately
1 mile to Golden Gate Canyon Road. Travel west approximately 4.1 miles to Crawford Gulch Road (Highway 57). Turn right on Crawford Gulch Road and folow signs to White Ranch Park. There are two parking lots .3 miles apart. The first parking lot offers immediate access to the Belcher Hill Trail.

Contact Information

Jefferson County Open Space
700 Jefferson County Pkwy
Suite 100
Golden, Colorado 80401
Information Line: 303.271.5925
Office Hours:
7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Monday - Friday

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