If you are looking for a quick trip to nature, or a stress reliever, check out these four hiking spots in and around Boulder County. As winter weather is unpredictable in Colorado, dressing in layers for all hikes is recommended.
The Enchanted Mesa and McClintock trails are connected. Both trails begin by the picnic area in Chautauqua Park and are gentle hikes, with the McClintock Trail initially descending into a green forest alongside a stream. It then slowly ascends, crosses a stone bridge, and meets up with the Enchanted Mesa Trail. The Enchanted Mesa Trail crosses the stone bridge and eventually leads to an overlook point with great views of Boulder, then joins the McClintock Trail in a Ponderosa pine forest.
Enchanted Mesa and McClintock trails start immediately on the south side of the Chautauqua Auditorium near Chautauqua Park at Grant and Baseline streets.
0.3 mile south of Highway 128 on Highway 93
Easy to moderate
The Flatirons Vista Trail is 3.3 miles, with an optional shorter loop. The gradual inclines make it a great running trail. This trail is very accessible, and popular among bicyclists, those in wheelchairs and even horseback riders. Pets on leashes are welcome, and the area is known for an array of diverse wildlife. The area is home to many birds, and coyotes, bears, bobcats and mule deer are seen frequently.
Moderate to difficult
The Royal Arch Trail also begins in Chautauqua Park. However, it is more difficult than the Enchanted Mesa/McClintock trails. It’s a 3.5-mile trail with a steep incline and estimated 1,400-foot ascension.
Since the Royal Arch is popular, it’s best to go early in the morning when it’s less crowded. At the top, the strenuous hike is rewarded by gorgeous views over Bluebell Canyon, the city of Boulder and even a peek into Denver on a clear day. Bring a picnic and enjoy your time at the top.
Start on Chautauqua Trail by the ranger station, and follow signs to Royal Arch Trail.
Mount Sanitas Trailhead
Moderate to difficult
The Mount Sanitas trail slowly winds along both sides of a ridge leading to the summit. It is popular amongst both runners and climbers, as there are many designated bouldering areas along the trail. On a typical day, you also will see many people with dogs, so feel free to bring Fido along on this dog-friendly hike.
A cool side note: Sandstone was quarried from Mount Sanitas to construct some of the buildings on campus. While hiking the trail, look for the familiar red stone.