Trail Zealot

Colorado hiking, Appalachian Trail thru-hiking, and more...

Mount Sanitas

Mount Sanitas defines the skyline of North Boulder. Less intimidating than the giants to the south, Green Mountain and Bear Peak, it allows a relatively quick round-trip with rewarding views the whole way.
Served by trailheads: Centennial

The Crowds

Sanitas is a popular mountain. It might be Boulder's most beloved. Just go into any building in Boulder that has named conference rooms - I would bet money that there is a "Sanitas Room". There is a brewery named after it. Can't say that about Green Mountain or Bear Peak! Because of its proximity to town, low (relative) difficulty, and short round-trip distance, Sanitas can get slammed at times. If you visit it on a nice weekend day, just approach the whole experience like it is a party. This hike does not typically deliver solitude, even outside of peak season.

List of Routes

  • Mount Sanitas Trail
    1.4 mi  |  1351 ft  (one-way)
    This short hike just might be the best in Boulder. It packs in a lot of elevation gain - the grade is intense, but there are plenty of breezy spots to catch your breath while enjoying views of Boulder and the foothills.
  • Sanitas Valley Trail to East Ridge Trail
    2.0 mi  |  1387 ft  (one-way)
    Sanitas Valley is a wide, gently-sloping gravel trail that parallels the rockier, shadier Dakota Ridge Trail. Sanitas Valley is the more-traveled of the two, and both approaches lead to Sanitas' steep East Ridge Trail. Some Sanitas regulars skip the summit entirely, and make a loop out of the two valley trails.
  • Dakota Ridge Trail to East Ridge Trail
    2.1 mi  |  1454 ft  (one-way)
    Dakota Ridge is an enjoyable, rolling, somewhat shady trail that parallels the wider, sunny Sanitas Valley Trail. Dakota Ridge is the less-traveled of the two, and both approaches lead to Sanitas' steep East Ridge Trail. Some Sanitas regulars skip the summit entirely, and make a loop out of the two valley trails.
  • Sunshine Canyon Trail to Lion's Lair Trail
    4.0 mi  |  1606 ft  (one-way)
    A world apart from the other Sanitas routes, this long-and-gentle trail through Sunshine Canyon to the west of Sanitas is absolutely perfect for trail running. Expect fewer hikers, and zero dogs, as they are not allowed.