Mount Zion is a prominent peak located in the Windy Saddle open space park just west of Golden, Colorado. Mount Zion may be seen from much of Greater Denver, thanks to the giant illuminated M (for Colorado School of Mines) on its eastern face. According to the School of Mines website, the M is the second oldest mountain letter in the United States, after the University of Utah's U.
Mountain Monograms Mount Zion Page
Mount Zion is also a popular location for paragliders. On a good day, the air is full of them. There are two open areas to the north and south of Zion, where they prepare their equipment before taking off.
The easiest route to Mount Zion is to drive all the way to the Windy Saddle parking lot. Elevation is about 6900 feet here. From here, there is access to the upper end of the Chimney Gulch trail, and the Lookout Mountain Trail. You can also access the hiker only Beaver Brook Trail which branches off the Lookout Mountain Trail and continues west to Genesee Park.
There is no official trail to Mount Zion from here, and therefore it is not listed on any map. There is an obvious social trail that heads up the hill from the northeast end of the parking lot. At this time, there were no closures in the area, and the trail looks to have had a lot of recent activity. The trail climbs to the top of a ~7140 foot hill. This is not Mount Zion. Zion is actually a subpeak of this mountain.
The trail drops down about 150 feet to the northeast, to a saddle where you'll see two small peaks. The higher one on the left is Mount Zion. Go over the smaller peak, and then its a straightforward hike to the top of Zion. Total one-way distance from Windy Saddle is about 0.6 mile.
There is a shorter peak with an orange wind sock a short distance to the northeast. From this peak, you can look down and see the M, albeit upside down!
This peak also provides the best views of North Table Mountain from this area.
Another option for a longer hike is to start from the Chimney Gulch Trailhead on Lookout Mountain Road. Elevation here is about 6200 feet. The trail climbs up Chimney Gulch for 1.5 miles to it's end across the road from the Windy Saddle parking lot. This trail is open to bikers, hikers and horses.
From the intersection of US Hwy 6 and 19th St, go southwest on 19th St, toward the mountains. The road curves around a bit and becomes Lookout Mountain Road. After about 1 mile, you'll see the Chimney Gulch Trailhead on the left. There is room for about 6 or 7 cars here. The Chimney Gulch Trailhead is usually populated by mountain bikers, so share the trail. Or, you can continue up the road to the Windy Saddle parking lot. There is more parking here, but the lot still gets pretty full on a nice weekend day.
700 Jefferson County Pkwy
Golden, CO 80401
7:30AM - 5:30PM
Monday - Friday
The trail from Windy Saddle to Mount Zion is not an official trail. I did not see any closures or restrictions on hiking this trail, but that could change at any time.
Jeffco Open Space Rules & Regulations
You have the option to make this climb a very short hike or a longer one. Sometimes even a snowshoe trip after a big snowstorm. It's only minutes from Denver and is great for training, trail running or any hobby you enjoy. It can be done in any time of the year. Keep in mind though, in the summer to watch out for thunderstorms just like climbing any mountain. Even though the approach is short, you still don't want to risk your life and be caught in one.
Camping is not allowed in Windy Saddle Park.