The name is taken from the geology; a type of sandstone called Upper Greensand, which formed in the Cretaceous Period about a hundred million years ago and turns golden when exposed to daylight. The base of the cliff, whose large boulders are popular with fossil hunters, is accessible via Chideock Beach (Charmouth) or Seatown. Care should be taken, however, as the beach is completely covered at high tide.
It is possible to climb Golden Cap from the base of the cliff or visit it on one of the numerous circular walks that criss-cross the National Trust-owned Golden Cap estate. Other attractions on the estate include Stonebarrow Hill, where there is an information point and toilet in an old radar station, St Gabriel's beach, accessed via a steep flight of steps leading down from a medieval hamlet with a ruined chapel, and Langdon Wood, which lies immediately behind the distinctive yellow sandstone summit. Langdon Wood originated from a copse of trees known locally as 'Eleanor's Clump'. It consists mainly of Corsican Pine planted in the 1950s. There is a car park and a circular walk around the wood of almost exactly a mile.
The south west coast path leads up to Golden Cap from Seatown, a climb that takes around forty minutes - depending on how fit you are!.