description Hang gliders and paragliders launch from Mount Zion for a bird's eye view of Golden.

Visitors may sometimes notice Goldenites standing still, gazing at the sky above the Colorado School of Mines "M" on Mount Zion, on Golden's west flank. No, this isn't a strange local ritual. Follow their gaze and chances are you'll spot a half dozen colorful hang gliders and paragliders floating high above the mountain.

After launch, gliders catch thermal air currents that lift them to a birds-eye view high above the city. Eventually, they gracefully circle and swoop their way to the foot of the mountain 900 feet below. For close up viewing or to meet the flyers, look for the wind socks at the landing zone adjacent to highway 6 between 19th Street and the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon.

Want to try it yourself? To fly in Golden, pilots must meet strict requirements. Visit the Rocky Mountain Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association web site for detailed information. For non-pilots and novices, local schools and instructors provide tandem flights where an experienced pilot will take you up for a ride. Click these links for more information: Colorado Paragliding, Fly Away Paragliding and Peak to Peak Paragliding.

Golden is one of only a few gliding locations on Colorado's front range. There are dozens of videos on YouTube that give a flavor of the hang gliding/paragliding experience. Here's just one: to get you started. Many videos are indexed under "Lookout Mountain Golden" so search for that to find more videos.