NOTE: The Mayhem Gulch trailhead and parking lot is currently closed due to reconstruction. It is expected to reopen in late October, 2009.
Centennial Cone is a scenic foothills park between Golden and Black Hawk, Colorado. The park offers challenging, lengthy trails that are favorites of hikers and mountain bikers. There is a hiking trailhead with parking off of route 6 a couple miles west of tunnel 3 called the Mayhem Gulch Trailhead. Using the Juniper Trail, there is a 4.5 mile loop possible from this trailhead with diverse terrain and enough up and down to get your exercise for the week. The hike looks like it would be very steep from the trailhead, but it is actually fairly gentle thanks to excellent trail design.
While we were hiking this trail, we noticed a rocky cliff area with a striking waterfall, I’m sure you will see it and hear it as well if the water is flowing. From the far end of the parking lot we discovered a faint trail to the base of the waterfall. It’s worth checking out if you feel up to it.
This park has some unusual rules which you should be aware of:
1. The park has decided to close Elk Range Trail during the spring for Elk Calving. For 2009, it re-opens June 16th. Elk Range Trail is an important connector that makes loop trips possible, so plan accordingly.
2. On Saturday and Sunday the park is restricted to mountain bikers on even numbered days and hikers on odd numbered days. During the week the park is open to everyone.
3. Centennial Cone Park is CLOSED in December and January.
Getting to the trailhead:
There are 3 parking areas for Centennial Cone park. The Mayhem Gulch trailhead is located directly on Route 6 as you're traveling from Golden to Black Hawk. The GPS download provides the precise location. It is a couple miles after Tunnel 3.
If you want to spend the night, there are always vacancies at the casino hotels in Black Hawk. There are some nice hotels in downtown Golden, or stay in Lakewood near the Colorado Mills Mall for less expensive lodging options. There is a nice campground in downtown Golden called Clear Creek RV Park and one at the top of Golden Gate Canyon road called Dory Hill Campground. Backpack camping can be found nearby at White Ranch Park.