Guide To Hiking Boulder, Colorado
Boulder, Colorado has long been the center of the outdoor world. With the Rocky Mountains in its backyard and a lively outdoorsy town full of character, Boulder is beaming with resources to get you on every kind of adventure set with the best gear and top notch guides. When it comes to hiking, you can find everything from canyons to waterfalls to peaks throughout Boulder. Boulder is famous for its Flat Irons in Chautauqua Park, but this is not necessarily the best hiking in the area. Beat crowded trails, full parking lots, and tourist traps by driving past the the popular park and hitting some of these adventurous trails instead.
Mount Sanitas Trail
Mount Sanitas is a local favorite in Boulder and reaches 6,863 feet with breathtaking views of the Indian Peaks to the west and a one-of-a-kind view of Boulder to the east. If you are looking for a quick hike, but hardcore stair-master workout, then head up the western ridge. The Dakota Ridge Trail will give you a more moderate hike if you have some more time to slow down and enjoy the view.
Horseshoe Trail at Golden Gate Canyon Park
Before you head to Golden Gate Canyon Park, make sure you have your Colorado State Park Pass. Throughout the trails in this park you’ll encounter birds, deer, and other wildlife among the wildflowers. Take the Horseshoe Trail to get to some of the backcountry campsites. This moderately difficult hike ascends 900 feet and along your journey you’ll pass beautiful streams that run alongside the trail.
Red Rocks Trail at Settlers Park
These red rocks are a result of an underground sandstone formation that runs all the way from Fort Collins to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. This short loop is only one mile, but is still well worth your time due to the unique landscape and rock formations. If you wish to extend .8 more miles, then take the Anemone Trail to the west to ascend 400 more feet to reach unbelievable views of Boulder, Red Rocks Park, and the Colorado Front Range.
Rattlesnake Gulch Trail at Eldorado State Park
Eldorado State Park is home to Colorado’s historic Eldorado Canyon. You’ll pass the ruins of Crags Hotel and reach a scenic spot where you can view the Continental Divide. Bring your binoculars so you can spot rock climbers on Cadillac Rock to the northeast.
Bear Peak rises 8,461 feet where you’ll gain a 360 degree view of the 13,000-foot Indian Peaks, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Boulder. This 5-mile hike ascends 2,400 feet making it an intense workout. For a longer, more moderate hike, take the West Ridge Trail, or for a more strenuous and steep trail head to Fern Canyon.
Green Mountain’s peak reaches 8,144 feet and is more accessible than Bear Peak or South Boulder Peak, the “big three” Boulder summits. In 3.2 miles you’ll gain about 2,278 feet. You can take the steep Amphitheater Trail from Chautauqua Park, of you can leave from Gregory Canyon and take its trail through sunny and scenic rock formations. Both end up being similar in difficulty, but both lead to a rock garden with outstanding views.
South Boulder Peak
The third of Boulder’s “big three” summits reaches 8,549 feet. The whopping 8.5 mile hike give you 3,100 feet of elevation. You’ll head through the magical Shadow Canyon to get to the peak. You can find South Mesa Trailhead off Eldorado Springs Drive.