Trail Running: North Table Mountain

Hey! Hope y’all had a great weekend. Mine was filled with fun, friends and work {not in that order} so I’m feeling a little exhausted as we kick-off the new work week. Le sigh. Still wondering when I’m going to become independently wealthy….

I spent most of Saturday working on some writing deadlines and dealing with chores around the house. I made plans with some girlfriends to hit up the trails on Sunday morning, so I tried to crash early in hopes of feeling rested and ready to run. Alas, that didn’t happen! I’ve got a crazy head cold that kept me coughing, and truthfully, I wasn’t able to fully fall asleep until Will got home. He had been on the east coast for a few days and flew back in late Saturday. Per the norm, his flight was delayed so that he didn’t get back until almost midnight. I crashed after that, but 6:45 came early on Sunday!

North Table Mountain

North Table Mountain

Eyes heavy, lungs thick and legs like lead, I hopped in the car when my friend picked me up. We headed to North Table Mountain, a decent trail system that isn’t too far from our neighborhood. Marilyn and I met up with Carrie at the trailhead and eyeballed the single track.

North Table Mountain is a flat mesa in Golden that was formed by lava flows back in the day. I’m always fascinated with mesas because of their steep walls and table-flat tops. This particular trail system is crisscrossed with single track, as well as zillions of deer and rattlesnakes. Fortunately, we spied a couple of the former and zero of the latter!

North Table Mountain

Carrie and Marilyn on the top of the mesa

We parked at the east entrance off Easley Road and immediately set out on the Lithic Trail. We decided to head counter clockwise and caught the North Table Loop. Truthfully, it didn’t matter: whether we left or right, we were still going to have to climb up to the top of the mesa!

Out of the gates, Carrie was a trooper and set a quick pace as we climbed. I tend to suffer during the first mile or so, so it was nice having a little “rabbit” in front of me to chase. Otherwise, I think there is a good chance I would’ve slowed to a walk and hiked that hill!

North Table Mountain

If you click on this, I swear it’s bigger!

We chatted for awhile as we climbed, but eventually the trail got too steep and we resorted to power hiking. This lasted for a good mile before we reached the summit of North Table Mountain. From here, it was all flat or downhill!

North Table Mountain

Descending on the Cottonwood Canyon Trail

I’ve been running in a pair of the Hoka Stinson Trails for the past couple of months and I have to say that I am loving them on the descents! I questioned the crazy-looking moon shoes but that extra cushion makes the downhill so much easier to navigate. We were cruising down the Cottonwood Canyon Trail which is fairly steep with some tight single track, and I never once questioned a step. The shoes also made the descent more enjoyable because I don’t feel like my joints are taking a beating.

In the end, our running trio did 6.5 miles with 1000 feet of gain {following the North Table Loop-Mesa Top Trail-Cottonwood Canyon-North Table route}. I know that it really isn’t that much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s honestly been a few months since I’ve topped the 5 mile marker and it felt great to break that barrier again. I’m still looking at a trail half in the fall {and maybe some other races!} so I’m kinda digging hitting the trails and stretching my legs!


Trails or road? Have you ever tried Hokas?

Who got outside this weekend? Tell me stories!


  • Reply Rachel @ Betty LIVIN at

    My lab tore up his pads on a bike ride this weekend! Have you ever had that issue with your dog? This was the first time we’ve experienced it. He’s doing better now, but it made for an interesting weekend.

    • Reply heather at

      Oh yeah, definitely! Some dogs shred their paws to an absurd level 🙁 Have you ever tried dog shoes? Sounds stupid but they definitely work. Ruffwear makes some decent pairs!

  • Reply Kayla at

    Pretty!!! Trails are so much better than roads.

    • Reply heather at

      Agreed. I haven’t run a road in months….and I’m ok with that 🙂

  • Reply misszippy at

    That Cottonwood Canyon trail is unbelievable! I want!

    I can’t see myself ever converting to Hokas. I am sooo much happier on trails with little cushioning so that I can feel the ground as I move along. I swear it helps keep me upright.

    • Reply heather at

      That’s kinda how I thought I’d be too, but I’m pleasantly surprised thus far! I’m also testing a pair of the NB Minimus Zero v2 and the difference is crazy!

  • Reply Lynn at

    I vote trail running!

    And this weekend I went hiking on the PCT for National Trails Day on Saturday. It was snowier than expected, so we cut our hike short, but gorgeous!

  • Reply Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb at

    I’ve been eyeing Hokas but am worried I don’t pick up my feet enough….being so big I think I’d be tripping over my feet. Anxious to hear more of what you think about them.

  • Reply Cassie @ Rural Running Redhead at

    Guess I’ll add this to my list of trails I need to run. I really need to move closer to the Front Range! Also, summer colds are the worst. Feel better soon!

  • Reply Kim Daly at

    I’ve GOT to stop being lazy and just running the trails behind my house. Flat top looks like SO much fun!

  • Reply Christy@ My Dirt Road Anthem at

    This is beautiful! I would love to run that trail sometime or power hike it sometime. I tried on some Hokas once but I couldn’t convince myself that I would like to run in them they are so weird to me. I have heard such good things about them though.

  • Reply Lisa @ early morning run at

    We pretty much followed this exact route this morning and I have a good feeling I know which section you power hiked…. it was rough! Thankfully once we got to the top and I caught my breath it was smooth sailing and a wonderful trip back down. Thanks for sharing this run!

    • Reply heather at

      GLad you enjoyed it! There is one hill there that I still CAN’T RUN! 😉

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