Just south of Denver the South Platte River cuts a 50 miles long canyon through the foothills of the Front Range. Its lowest part is called the Waterton Canyon. Goat Mountain rises above the spot where the South Platte eventually emerges from the mountains and begins its long journey across the Plains.
Waterton Canyon is pretty busy with bikers and fishermen - however only a short hike up the slopes of Goat Mountain and you are alone.
The by far easiest route is the East Ridge. The Cottonwood Gulch and its side ravines eventually will also get you up to the summit, but the dense thickets and scrubs along these routes are not really much fun to navigate.
You will most likely not see a soul until you reach the summit - unfortunately the most outer fringes of Denver suburbia start within a stone throw of the other side of the summit.
The slopes of Goat Mountain are mostly covered with oak scrub and some junipers and conifers. The area is teeming with wildlife - deer, bighorn sheep, cottontails and lots of different birds.
A mountain lion was spotted in the canyon on 06/17/08.
From the C-470 and S. Wadsworth intersection in southwest Denver. Take Wadsworth south for several miles until you see a turnoff for Waterton Canyon on your left (This is the point where Wadsworth starts heading west). Drive south for several hundred yards. You'll see a parking lot on your left. Park in the parking lot.
Waterton Canyon is only open during the day (30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset).
NO DOGS are allowed inside Waterton Canyon to protect the herd of bighorn sheep in the canyon.
DO NOT approach bighorn sheep or let them approach you - help to keep these animals wild for their own good!
Waterton Canyon has a problem with bighorn sheep approaching hikers. They are wild animals and unpredictable in their behavior.
Any sheep wich harms people has to be killed by national forest personnel.
DO NOT feed any big game to avoid the spread of the chronic wasting disease.
Camping in the canyon bottom is prohibited the first seven miles.
On the slopes and ridges of Goat Mountain you will have a very hard time to find a spot which is flat and not full of rocks, cactus and/or scrubb.
Climbing Goat Mountain should be considered a day hike.
When to climb - mountain conditions
The mountain can be climbed year round
Expect very hot temperatures in the sommer (above 100 F) and very cold temperatures in winter.
Best time to climb is Spring or Fall.
Waterton Canyon and its surrounding gulches and ridges are prime habitat for rattle snakes - watch where you step or sit.
The only constant source of water is the South Platte River.