Editor’s note: This is part of The Know’s series, Staff Favorites. Each week, we will offer our opinions on the best that Colorado has to offer for dining, shopping, entertainment, outdoor activities and more. (We’ll also let you in on some hidden gems). Find our previous Staff Favorites here.
When the wonderful new Peaks to Plains Trail extension from Golden into Clear Creek Canyon debuted last summer, I found a new favorite place to cool down and chill out after Saturday morning runs.
The Golden Farmers Market is celebrating its 20th year this summer, but I didn’t know what I was missing until I discovered it last August after a run in the canyon. Now I think of it as the perfect way to savor the afterglow of a run, refuel and celebrate Saturday morning in a relaxing setting.
I’m no connoisseur of farmers markets, but this one had me right after my first bite into a tasty breakfast burrito from one of the food trucks on hand. Since the market returned for this season on June 4, I’ve been back twice. Last weekend I went with empanadas from an Argentinian food truck.
You have to love the setting. The farmers market is located next to the Golden library in a parking lot a few steps from Clear Creek. The Clear Creek Whitewater Park, where I have soaked tired legs in icy creek water for years, is just upstream from the market.
The trail along the creek rises about 160 feet in elevation over the 1.9 miles between the farmers market and its current endpoint in the canyon. It’s one of my favorite places to run, but it’s also very popular with walkers and cyclists.
The entrance to the canyon is about 0.6 of a mile west of the farmers market. Whenever I run the canyon in the morning, I am struck by how it remains cool and shaded even after the rising sun has begun to nudge the thermometer upwards elsewhere. That’s something to remember in the summer months when you’re eager to beat the heat.
It also seems to me that the creek keeps the enclosed canyon cool well after sunrise, especially when it is swollen and running hard with snowmelt, as it is now. Often there’s a nice cooling breeze coming down the canyon, too.
A steep rock wall towers 600 feet above the trail on the south side of the creek, often attracting technical rock climbers. The north side of the canyon, on the other side of U.S. 6, features a 7,169-foot peak named Mount Galbraith. It’s a beautiful mountain, especially when it’s catching the early morning light.
At the farmers market you’ll find food trucks, a fresh-squeezed lemonade stand, produce stands, a coffee truck and booths selling salsa, doughnuts, fresh-cut flowers, homemade syrup, homemade pasta and bread, hand-crafted dog treats, brownies, mushrooms and trinkets. I never knew farmers markets could be so fun.
“Such a great vibe here,” said a friend when I ran into her there two weeks ago.
There are other things to do near the market. The Golden History Museum is next to the library, and it opens at 9 a.m. on Saturdays. The Golden Visitors Center is two blocks east. There are the cooling waters of the creek, tennis courts and ballfields. Last weekend there was a whitewater rescue drill in the creek that attracted a group of curious onlookers. There are two open-air yoga classes on Saturday mornings, one two blocks east in Parfet Park, the other one block west in Lions Park. Both parks provide lots of shade.
The Golden Farmers Market is located at 1019 10th St., In Golden. It is open Saturdays through Oct. 8 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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