‘Tis the season to celebrate family, friends and all the good in the world. Here in Boulder County we’re lucky to have some of the best hikes in the world right at our fingertips. What better way to enjoy those holiday cookies at the company party guilt free than by going on a scenic hike that’s good for both the body and soul? 1. Royal Arch Trail
The Royal Arch Trail can be found in Boulder’s Chautauqua park and is one of the most popular routes from this central trail head. At about 0.8 miles in length, the Royal Arch Trail provides gorgeous side views of the flatirons and a vigorous uphill walk.
2. Mt. Sanitas
The Mt. Sanitas Trailhead is located in downtown Boulder at the intersection of 4th and Mapleton. This hike is well known by Boulder locals for its fantastic views and prairie-like scenery. The 3-mile round trip route starts with a steep incline, granting breathtaking views of the city of Boulder and beyond at the summit. The trail then descends steeply before leveling out for a great cool-down before finishing the trail. For an easier hike, you can also choose the Dakota Ridge path accessed from the same trailhead.
3. Full Mesa Trail
The Full Mesa Trail is a great option if you’re interested in a longer, more difficult hike. It’s popular with trailrunners and spans a full 7 miles end-to-end. Starting from either Chautauqua or the South Mesa trailhead, it’s a great choice if you’re if you’re looking for an extra challenge.
4. Dry Creek
Located off of Baseline road, the Dry Creek Trail is a flat one-mile walk that will take you through grasslands just east of Boulder. This is known to be very dog friendly space and dog walkers populate a large majority of those on the trail. Expect a nice walk alongside a creek and great views of the flatirons!
5. Marshall Mesa
You can find this hike in South Boulder at the intersection of 93 and Marshall Road. This is a trail of moderate difficulty, also connecting to various trails that go through nearby cities. This trail is also used by mountain bikers and dog walkers, but it’s a great spot to enjoy some of our famous Colorado sun, even in winter!
6. First and Second Flatirons
Boulder is well known for being home to the gorgeous Flatirons, and here you have the opportunity to hike through them. Also found at the Chautauqua trailhead, this route is a little bit longer than a mile and will take you on an uphill, moderate trek. Fantastic views await you at the summit!
7. Boulder Reservoir
This trail will take you around the shore of the gorgeous Boulder Reservoir. The 5-mile loop runs the full length of the reservior, and also connects to the Eagle Trail and Coot Lake trails for an extension. This is a great place to bring your dogs or spend some recreational time post-walk.
8. Flagstaff Mountain
Flagstaff is a popular road in Boulder leading to grand, sweeping views. Instead of driving it, take the hiking trail instead! You’ll find the trailhead where Baseline Road turns into Flagstaff. It’s a steady incline until the summit and, at over 6,000 feet, also exposes hikers to a higher elevation. This hike is definitely worth while if you’re interested in great scenery and a challenging workout.
9. Shadow Canyon
The Shadow Canyon hiking trail is a longer hike taking you to South Boulder Peak. This is definitely a challenging trail, but like many other local spots, you can reward yourself with fabulous sights of Boulder’s flatirons. Also, expect to see picturesque wildflowers and streams on your way up, making it an even more enjoyable trip.
10. Dowdy Draw
This hike provides both a walk through open plains and a delightful mountainous backdrop. Dowdy Draw connects to multiple other trails, making this the perfect spot whether you’re in need of a quick walk or a more lengthy expedition. Also favored by mountain bikers, this is definitely one of the most peaceful hikes in Boulder.
11. Greenbelt Plateau
The Greenbelt Plateau trail is a great pick if you’re looking for a calm hike through the prairie alongside views of the South Boulder Foothills. Connecting to other trails, this can serve as a gateway to explore different parts of Boulder, enabling you to pick your ideal route and length of hike.
12. Bear Peak
Bear Peak is known to be Boulder’s second highest summit featuring the best 360° unobstructed views of the city. This is difficult three mile hike, so prepare for a tough climb and excellent workout. The Bear Peak summit offers views and scenery definitely worth seeing.