Trail Running – Mt. Lion and Burro trail – GGCSP

Today my goal was to tackle the full 6.7 mile loop of Mt. Lion trail in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. The trail starts at 7,720 ft and has an elevation gain of 1,230 ft. I’ve done a couple of out and back on it but I’ve never done the entire loop. The trail is rated as difficult.


With the direction that I chose to run it today it started of climbing right off the bat (hard for me since I need a little warm up). After the initial climbing, it opened up to sweeping meadows and the trail was much more mellow. I was getting in my groove now. I saw a fox trying to pounce on some unsuspecting varmint out in the meadow.


Soon after, the trail started dropping. I continued to descend realizing that the more I dropped down the more I’d have to climb back up. Oh man. I was running on dry single track through the trees. The shade was nice but there were steep cliffs that rose straight up to my right and a stream flowing to my left. I felt that if I ran into any animals, especially bears or the trail’s namesake; mountain lion, I wouldn’t have anywhere to go. It was a little creepy in this area.


The trail then started to climb and the tread became more rocky. I was so out of breath and needing to watch where I was stepping, I could no longer worry about bears or mountain lions. This is where I had to start hiking. I was so tired and couldn’t game it up to run for more than 10 steps at a time and then it was back to a hiking pace. The climbing continued and I thought it would never end. I ran into a couple who said that they thought I was almost half way through the loop. I had done the other side of the loop so I pushed on. I stopped to look at a map posted at a junction and after deciding which way I needed to go I somehow when the wrong way. Sometimes my brain doesn’t work as well when I’m running. I call it endurance brain when I can’t do basic math because I’m running too hard. Anyway, at the next junction I realized that I had turned onto Burro trail and was no longer on Mt. Lion. Ugh! One more time that I would not be able to complete the loop. Oh well, this is how we learn and get really familiar with an area.


I was near the highest point so I knew that much of the trail would be descending from here. It opened up a bit to where I could see more of the forest and more of the surrounding peaks.



After that, the downhill started. I didn’t realize that the Burro trail in this section of the park is pretty much of a single track scree field that goes straight down. I was not loving it and would like to make a note to avoid this area in the future. I should’ve doubled back to where I got off track and stayed on Mt. Lion since it’s a much better trail. Once I down and almost to the truck, a small snake slithered across my path. Yick. I’m not thrilled with snakes. He was little and not of the venomous type but still was gross. At home, I drank my recovery drink and took an ice bath so that I could come back another day and conquer the Mt. Lion loop.




~ by willtriforbeer on August 30, 2015.

One Response to “Trail Running – Mt. Lion and Burro trail – GGCSP”

  1. Good for you and you felt great when it was over. Glad you didn’t run into any lions or bears.

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