“A quicker way to check out the North Table Mountain mesa in a loop without going all the way around.
— Cam Morton
This loop just outside of Denver has enough elevation gain to raise your heart rate while offering close views of the Front Range foothills and Flatirons to the north. It also offers views of the Denver Skyline from afar. You can connect with other trails in the North Table Mountain trail network for additional routes/views.
This trail is mostly easy—don't let the first half mile fool you. Take your time and enjoy the views of Golden on the ascent if you're getting used to the Colorado elevation. It starts at a decently steep grade, but is very well groomed and easy to maneuver.
Once you get on top of the mesa in about 0.7 miles, the run becomes a breeze for the rest of the way, as you've completed basically the entire ascent. Even though you're only 20 minutes from Denver, it can seem like you're in the middle of nowhere up top due to the expansive trail network on the mesa. On a late Monday afternoon after work, my dog and I encountered 3 other hikers, 4 trail runners, and 6 mountain bikers throughout the entire run. The trails are wide with plenty of room for others to pass.
In terms of views, you get: Golden behind you in the first half mile, long distance views of the Denver Skyline once up top on Tilting Mesa Trail
, and then pretty decent views of the Front Range and Flatirons once you round the corner on Mesa Top
. This isn't the most impressive trail around, but if you're seeking some solitude outside of the city, it can be an enjoyable respite. If you're in the Denver area and looking for a close, easy run to view the mountains around you, then this is a great option.