Peak(s):  "Golden Bear Peak"  -  13,010 feet
Date Posted:  08/22/2019
Modified:  08/28/2019
Date Climbed:   08/08/2019
Author:  Chelsea
 Golden Bear via Upper Straight Creek Trail   

Golden Bear Peak (13,010') | CO Rank: 634/637

via Upper Straight Creek Trail | Front Range | White River National Forest | Silverthorne, CO

08/08/19 | 6.93 miles | 1,950' gain | Class 2

Golden Bear has been on my list for a day when I needed a quick & easy peak. And today was that day. A short drive and an easy hike was just what I needed after a long 2 weeks of family visiting. There is no route listed on, so I had to do a little more research than normal. I lucked out when I found the Upper Straight Creek Trail that would take me most of the way to the summit.

This trail starts from the strangest trailhead I've ever been to. Heading west from Denver on I-70, after you exit the Eisenhower Tunnel, take an immediate right into the "Brake Check Area". There is no parking lot or signage indicating a trailhead, but it's legal to park alongside the truck area. The Upper Straight Creek Trail starts right off I-70.

Follow the side road north into the basin, where it eventually turns into a trail.

Walk on the paved road for a short ways into the basin.
The paved road becomes a 2-track.
The 2-track becomes a trail.

The wildflowers in this basin were UNREAL and I stopped often to take picture after picture.


For the most part, the trail is gradual. It slowly switchbacks up the ridge, eventually tops out on the Continental Divide, and continues down the other side.

Heading further into the basin.
Looking back towards I-70.
Getting close to the Divide! You can see the parking area below.
The guardians of Golden Bear taunted poor Otis as we climbed higher.
Views to the west.
The summit is in sight! It's the pointy one in the center.

When we reached the Divide, we turned off trail and headed north along the ridge to Golden Bear. It would be very easy to turn off sooner, saving a bit of mileage.

It was easiest to follow the line of t-posts.
Some sections were rocky, but the terrain was mostly grassy tundra.
Views off the east side of the ridge.
Still following t-posts...summit getting closer

I think the t-posts were just marking the ski area boundary, but they were easy to follow all the way to the summit. There was even a faint trail through them.

Almost there!
The summit is rocky, but stable.
The bumps just on the other side of the summit are slightly shorter.
My golden bear on Golden Bear.
Looking towards Grays and Torreys.
Looking at the off-trail portion of the route, nice and gradual! You can JUST see the trail in the center, and the parking area bottom right.
Summit views

On the way down, we cut back to the trail sooner on slightly steeper terrain, which saved us maybe 1/4 mile or so. Golden Bear is a quick & easy summit that would be great for a beginner!

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 9 11 12 13 14 15 16 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Comments or Questions
08/22/2019 09:24
Really nice photos...

Thank you
08/22/2019 12:57
This is perfect timing. I was searching for routes for this Sunday!

08/22/2019 13:00
@Jay521 - Thank you!

@sigepnader - I'm so glad! Enjoy!

good beta
08/22/2019 19:38
not much info on these low peaks

Thank you
07/24/2020 11:08
Thank you for the post and the information and pictures.
Looks like a great hike for me and my dog.

Thank You!
07/26/2020 11:11
Thanks for posting info on Golden Bear! Like you said, not much info out there! I'm heading up there Thursday! Your pics really helped! I've been on this trail heading up to Hagar Mtn a few times, so was kinda familiar with the unusual parking location & the flower covered basin!

   Not registered?

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

Please respect private property: supports the rights of private landowners to determine how and by whom their land will be used. In Colorado, it is your responsibility to determine if land is private and to obtain the appropriate permission before entering the property.

© 2022®, 14ers Inc.