While Black Hawk may best be known for its exciting nightlife and casino gaming, there is plenty more to do in and around town, from hiking and biking nearby trails in the summer, to skiing and snowboarding world-class mountain resorts in the winter.
Hiking and Biking
During the warm summer months, there is no better way to explore the beauty of Colorado's landscape than by hiking or biking a nearby mountain trail. Black Hawk is minutes from Golden Gate Canyon State Park and dozens of trail heads. Here is a short list of our favorites:
This trail dates to the 1840s, when settlers moved into the present-day site of Golden Gate Canyon State Park in search of gold. It was not in the present-day park that gold was found, but some 6 miles to the southwest in Black Hawk and Central City. The Golden Gate Toll Road was constructed to bypass this beautiful area in order to reach the prosperous towns. While no gold has ever been found in the park, there are plenty of other treasures hidden here, and the Burro Loop is no exception.
This hike offers a variety of landscapes and scenery to hikers, from sheltered riparian corridors to sweeping views of eastern plains and surrounding mountains.
If you're up for a challenge and some interesting scenery, this could be the hike for you. The trailhead is only 3.5 miles from Black Hawk and is a relatively short four miles. After a short climb, you'll come upon an aspen meadow with an old mining town, perfect for exploring. Continue on until you reach a saddle, then head back down. A great “there and back” style hike.
This is a short and easy hike (but beware, it's above 11,000 feet). The trail drops gradually to scenic James Peak Lake, where you can spend an afternoon fishing or picnicking. Take the nearby Ute Trail (which intersects this one 1/2 mile from the trailhead) a couple of miles to the continental divide for some breathtaking views.
It's not every day that you have the opportunity to see a glacier (technically, a permanent snowfield), so we recommend you give this trail a try. The snowfield and nearby lake make for a scenic summer or winter destination. The trail is short and steep, with a loop back to the trailhead.
If biking is your preference, you might try the Warren Gulch trail, a challenging uphill mountain trail for the bicyclist looking for a challenge. Although the trail gets rocky in sections, it's mostly smooth, with a nice downhill return to nearby Idaho Springs.
Introduce a little variety to your next Black Hawk trip by taking advantage of one of the many nearby scenic campgrounds. It's a perfect way to unwind for a weekend or a week: spend some time outdoors, then kick back and have some fun at one of our many casinos.
Golden Gate State Park – Reverend's Ridge
Reverend's Ridge Campground has 97 sites and accommodates trailers, pickup campers and tents. Facilities include flush toilets, shower and laundry facilities and a dump station. Some facilities are closed during cold weather months. Fifty-nine campsites at Reverend's Ridge have electrical hookups. Non-electrical sites are $14 per night, and electrical sites are $18 per night plus the vehicle park pass. Each site is limited to a maximum of 6 people. View the Reverend's Ridge Campground Map .
Reverend's Ridge office is located off of Gap Road. The office is open seven days a week from Memorial Day weekend through September 30, Sunday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 9:00p.m.
The Denver West KOA campground has many RV sites for you! They are considered “Big-Rig Friendly” with many pull-through sites – all with 50-amp full hookups, cable TV and Wi-Fi. The campground's amenities include a clubhouse, hot tubs, mini-mart, souvenir shop, laundry and showers. They are within easy driving distance of casinos, the Red Rocks Amphitheater, Coors and Budweiser breweries, the Denver Zoo and many other attractions.
You'll enjoy the family-friendly campground service!
Whispering Pines KOA, 605 Lake Gulch Road Central City, CO 80427
Phone: 303-582-3043; 1-800-562-8613
Situated in a wooded setting adjacent to the Peak-to-Peak National Scenic Byway. The campground provides the visitor with spectacular views of the Continental Divide. Other historic sites nearby include the Rollins Pass (Moffat Road) abandoned Railroad grade. Four-wheel-drive roads can be found in the Tolland to Apex to Idaho Springs area.
Kelly Dahl is the closest Forest Service campground to the city of Boulder. Dogs are allowed but must be on a leash at all times. It is usually among the last of Boulder Ranger District's campgrounds to fill up on weekends; however, reservations are recommended, especially around major holidays. Full-service camping is generally available from Memorial Day through mid-October.
Our Daily Fee: $16 per site per night
Reservations Accepted: Sites #21 – 46 are reservable from Memorial Day weekend through mid-September.
Services: Picnic tables, fire rings, grills, water, vault toilets and trash services are provided. There are no electrical hook-ups, dump stations or showers. There is a playground suitable for small children.
Sites: There are 46 sites that will accommodate tents and campers, trailers, and motor homes. A maximum of 8 people are allowed per site.
Maximum Vehicle Length: 40′
Location: Drive approximately 17 miles west of Boulder on Colorado Highway 119 to the town of Nederland. Continue south on Colorado Highway 119. The entrance to Kelly Dahl Campground is located on the east side of the highway at mile-marker 22, about four miles south of Nederland and approximately two miles north of Rollinsville.
Columbine Campground is located about 5 miles from Black Hawk at an elevation of 9,200 feet. The campground is situated in a grove of aspen and lodgepole pine. There are forty seven sites in the campground. Forty three are suitable for RV camping and 4 are more suitable for tents. Most of the sites are heavily wooded. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring or grate. The maximum vehicle length that can be accommodated is 55 feet.
The roads through the campground are dirt. There are 6 water hydrants and 4 restrooms. One of the restrooms will accommodate disabled persons and is located on the lower loop. Camp sites in this campground are reservable. The season for this campground normally runs from late May through mid-September, depending on the weather. Bears have been known to frequent the area. Check with the Forest Service for the current fees.
Colorado is well known for its scenery, especially in the mountains near to and surrounding Black Hawk. If “roughing it” outside isn't your preference, there's still plenty to enjoy by taking in some scenery from the comfort of your car. These are some of our favorite scenic trips, all of which are a short drive from Black Hawk.
The Peak-to-Peak Highway was established in 1918, making it Colorado's oldest scenic byway. Its 63 mile journey begins in Central City and ends in beautiful Estes Park, with attractions and beautiful views the whole way.
The 28-mile Mount Evans Highway is the nation's highest automobile road and doubles as a national forest scenic byway. It climbs from Idaho Springs to the 14,264-foot summit of Mount Evans, and features some stunning views of the eastern plains. We recommend that you check the road's status beforehand, as weather will occasionally close it down. The drive isn't for the faint at heart, as the road drops off precipitously in same places, and the air at the top is quite thin.
This relatively short drive between Grant and Georgetown passes over 11,700 foot Guanella Pass, and offers great views of a variety of Colorado ecosystems. The lower elevations of the drive feature thick stands of native trees, while higher elevations give way to treeless tundra, ripe with wildflowers in the summer months.
For something a little different than the other byways featured above, we recommend the Lariat Loop, a 40 mile drive through the foothills near Denver, through the towns of Golden, Evergreen, and Morrison. Explore a variety of open space parks, museums, and heritage sites, including the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater, or just take in the unique geologic scenery along the way.
Skiing and Boarding
When thinking about Colorado, few things come to mind more readily than skiing and snowboarding. This truly is a world class place for enjoying the snow, and Black Hawk is fortunate to be an easy drive from some of the best. Here are our favorites:
This local favorite is located less than 70 miles from Denver and less than an hour from Black Hawk, and features world-class skiing and a newly improved base village.
Echo Mountain, Colorado's newest mountain resort, is a mere 45 minutes from Black Hawk, and sets itself apart from other, larger mountain resorts by focusing on the on-mountain experience, rather than food or lodging. If all you want is some time on the snow, this is your place.
With a drive time of under 40 minutes, this is the closest resort to Black Hawk, and a perennial local's favorite. Affordable lift tickets and a different crowd make this a unique destination among Colorado ski resorts.
Situated about an hour and twenty minutes from Black Hawk, this immensely popular resort is sure to please skiers and boarders of any ability. Advanced skiers will love Breckenridge's European-style bowls, while boarders are sure to rave about the highly regarded terrain parks. Families and younger, less experienced riders will also have plenty to enjoy on Breck's 2,300+ acres of skiable terrain.
Keystone is a little over an hour's drive from Black Hawk, and is unique among Colorado ski destinations in one popular respect: when most other resorts start après ski, Keystone turns on the lights, letting skiers keep going into the night!