Trail Zealot

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

Boulder Hiking Guide

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Hikes by destination

There is no denying it: Boulder 's trail network is expansive and intimidating to the uninitiated. I am not sure it is even possible to simply go on a hike in this trail system without navigating through a few trail junctions, often with trails sprawling in every conceivable direction like a spider's web. In other parts of the country, one might arrive at a trailhead, find "the trail", and hike decision-making required. But in the Boulder Trail Labyrinth, I cannot blame the people I come across scratching their heads vigorously at big trail junctions. I was right there with them before I had hiked here for a while. Now that I know where I am going, I relish the opportunity to get folks unstuck. I enjoy it so much, that it inspired me to create this hiker helper section of my website.

My hope is to provide curious folks with a digestible resource to do the hike they want to do, without feeling too confused or uncertain on the way. It is way more fun to hike with confidence than to second-guess every route-finding decision. I would also like to help prospective hikers find the hike that is best for them, based on things they care about. There is no such thing as a "good hike", because everyone defines that for themselves. This resource is here to help you find and navigate your own personal good hike.

While the route catalogue is getting fleshed out, please feel free to contact me with questions or to ask for recommendations. Just tell me a little bit about what you want to find on your hike, and we will go from there.

  • Bear Peak
    Bear Peak is the tallest and most rugged mountain on Boulder's skyline. If you gaze south past the Flatirons, you are looking at it. Every route to the top is challenging, with enough elevation gain that the effort is comparable to some of the tamer 14ers. Hike it to get transported to another planet, with views all the way to Denver, the Rockies, and more.

    There are 9 route options for Bear Peak in the database.
  • First and Second Flatirons
    The First and Second Flatirons are a couple of beautiful flakes of rock jutting off Green Mountain. This is an extremely popular hike from an extremely popular trailhead. Like many in Boulder, it is short and tough.

    There is 1 route option for First and Second Flatirons in the database.
  • Flagstaff Summit
    Flagstaff is more easily accessible by car, but there is an option to hike the mountain from the bottom. If you have the ability and the desire to hike a mountain from the bottom, I would recommend looking elsewhere before subjecting yourself to Flagstaff's multiple road crossings.

    There are 2 route options for Flagstaff Summit in the database.
  • Green Mountain
    Green Mountain is a Boulder classic. You'll get sweeping views that are every bit as compelling as you'd have on the more challenging Bear Peak. With routes ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous, most hikers can find a trail that suits their taste.

    There are 8 route options for Green Mountain in the database.
  • Mallory Cave
    Mallory Cave is a moderate hike that gets you feeling tucked into the folds of the foothills. The cave itself is seasonally closed for bats, but the hike is very enjoyable either way.

    There is 1 route option for Mallory Cave in the database.
  • 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.

    There are 4 route options for Mount Sanitas in the database.
  • Royal Arch
    Royal Arch is a unique geological feature around Boulder. The hike itself is difficult but short, and offers an option to keep dogs off-leash the whole way.

    There are 2 route options for Royal Arch in the database.
  • Woods Quarry
    Woods Quarry is a nice lookout spot on the front side of Green Mountain. The hike to get there is relatively easy for Boulder.

    There are 3 route options for Woods Quarry in the database.