North Table: Not Just For Climbers

UPDATE: The Cottonwood Trail described in this post is temporarily closed until November 15, 2017 (yup, it closed just four days after we were on it). Apparently there were 20 rattlesnakes found on one part of the trail and 7 more on another part.  It is the time of year that these dangerous guys are out and about hunting for their winter hibernating spots. 🐍🐍🐍🐍

Stay safe out there. Now back to my original post:

One of my favorite local breweries, New Terrain Brewing, is located at the base of North Table Mountain in Golden, Colorado. 

No, this is not a craft beer post, but New Terrain’s patio is an awesome place to relax with a refreshing Suntrip (a Belgium Wit) AFTER enjoying the great outdoors on North Table. 

I follow them on Facebook and recently learned that there is a local running group that meets here on Mondays. The participants start on the trail directly behind the Brewery, run either 4 or 6 six mile routes on North Table, and then return for post-run cold ones. I wanted to scope out the trail before running with the group (honestly, I am a baby and wanted to see if I could handle it), so Aaron and I gave it a go this past weekend. 

North Table is a mesa. Remember that word from grammar school a million years ago? Mesa literally means “table” in Spanish. It’s essentially an elevated piece of land with steep sides. Those steep sides are what attract avid rock climbers from all over. But, North Table isn’t just for rock climbers. There are various trails in this Jeffco Open Space Park for scenic hiking, trail running, and mountain biking. 

We chose to run a four mile loop that would take us from the North Table Loop Trail to the Cottonwood Canyon Trail to the Mesa Top Trail and back down the North Table Loop Trail. 

Here’s a handy closeup:

The first approximately two miles is uphill via a series of switchbacks on well defined rocky, dirt trail. There was a ton of mountain biker traffic on this particular beautiful afternoon but we happily stepped aside to let them pass and catch our breaths. 

As always, Jefferson County does a great job of trail maintenance and trail signage. This particular trailhead did not have the printed maps for the taking like other Jeffco Parks. I instead took a pic of the big map for reference on the trail. 

View in the “canyon”. I was expecting a more shady canyon to escape from the sun. Pretty terrain, nontheless. 

On top of “the table”. Finally, the flat stuff! 

I love my Nathan running belt that I purchased for a great price during an REI sale.

Terrific views of Golden.

Heading back down in the comfortable shade.

We felt super accomplished after this trail run. North Table provided us with a great workout, incredible views, and we can’t wait to run it again (perhaps with the brewery running group next time).
One last thing:

At the start of the trail, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. 

Just kidding. There is an archery range next to the trail that totally fooled me at first. πŸ˜‰

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