I was in Colorado, visiting my son, who lives near Denver. My son was at work, so I decided I was going on a hike. After doing a bit of research I found an exciting hiking destination. Filled with excitement I was off to hike to Forgotten Valley Colorado, I almost made it to the end!
Forgotten Valley, Colorado
Forgotten Valley, Colorado is one of may trails to hike at Golden Gate State Park which is about 30 minutes from Denver. This is a 3 mile round trip out and back trail. You follow the trail to a valley with a lake and an abandoned homestead. In other words, this was perfect for me. I was intrigued with the idea of exploring an abandoned homestead.
Golden Gate State Park
The weather was balmy, considering it was the end of February. The sun shone bright and snow was rapidly melting. Perfect day for a hike. Golden Gate State Park was easy to find. I stopped at the visitor center to ask about trail conditions. I noticed a sign about what to do if you see a mountain lion and asked if it was safe to hike to Forgotten Valley.
- Stay calm and back away slowly.
- Do not go closer to the lion.
- Do not run from the lion, they like to chase.
- Make yourself as large as you can, hands over head, wave your arms, or open your jacket.
- Make noise. Shout, bang sticks. Speak loudly.
- Maintain eye contact, don’t let the lion see you are afraid.
- Do not crouch down or bend over, you will look smaller.
- If attacked, fight back.
Assured that I would be okay, I followed the road to the Bridge Trailhead. The directions were easy. First of all, follow the the Burro Trail. You will hike for about 3/4 of a mile. When you reach the fork in the path, turn left. This is Mountain Lion Trail. Next, continue on this trail 3/4 of a mile. Finally, you will reach the abandoned Tallman Homestead.
Hike to Forgotten Valley
The Burro Trail which was easy to find, started with was a moderate climb. The views were amazing. Few people were on the trail and those that were there were walking dogs, consequently, not a lot of traffic. Just what I like. The trail levels off for a bit and you will find a for in the path, turn left, this is the Mountain Lion Trail. Half way there. I was excited to get to the homestead. This trail was different, I did not see anyone else and felt isolated. I was enjoying the scenery. The day was gorgeous. Once arriving at the top, the trail became more narrow with large trees on either side and descended into the valley.
A Big Scare
Feeling a bit apprehensive, as I had not seen anyone since the turnoff, I started downhill. Just when I started the decline down, I noticed fresh tracks in the melting mushy snow. I froze. These were too big for any of the dogs I saw earlier. I immediately remembered the Mountain Lion sign at the visitor center. Were these mountain lion tracks? I cautiously looked around and of course didn’t see anything. I was scared. Do I continue my hike down through the narrow forest path so I reach my destination of Forgotten Valley? Or do I go back the way I came?
I headed back, terrified that somewhere there was a Mountain Lion looking down on me and ready to pounce. Instantly the sign at the visitor center came to mind. Even though I didn’t see a Mountain Lion, I wasn’t planning on taking any chances that there wasn’t one there. Therefore, I remembered the sign I read . Following the tips, I made my self look bigger. I put my arms in the air, over my head, also waving them back and forth. In addition, I did not crouch or bend down for anything. Furthermore, to make noise I started singing Rocky Mountain High at the top of my voice, (it’s all I could think of). Slowly I made my way back towards my Jeep.
The Hike Down
Oh my gosh, I was so scared, alone in the wild, with all kinds of thoughts going through my head. I felt better when reaching the Burro Trail. because I knew I was less than a mile from the parking lot. Regardless, I wasn’t about to take any chances. I was still scared and for that reason I kept waving and singing. Following the path, I continued waving my arms in the air and singing for all I was worth. Suddenly, around a curve, came a man walking his dog, looking at me like I was the craziest thing he had ever seen. Feeling relieved to see another person, I continued the trail to the parking lot, although quietly this time.
Safe at the Trailhead
Once back at the park lot, I quickly jumped in my Jeep and drove back to my son’s house. I was determined that I would be back someday and make it to see the Tallman Homestead. Nevertheless, I would always remember my hike to Forgotten Valley, Colorado and that I almost made it!
You can find my next Forgotten Valley hike in the following post: https://thegenxtravels.com/2019/06/13/our-rocky-mountain-national-park-trip/
For information on more trails at Golden Gate State Park you can follow the following link. https://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/GoldenGateCanyon/Pages/Trails.aspx