Published: June 7, 2021

Good hiking days are here to stay! If you are looking for a quick trip to nature or a stress reliever, check out these hiking spots in and around Boulder County.

Before you head out, be sure to read our 5 essential hiking tips and download the Boulder Area Trails app to view open trails.

Know before you go

Be prepared and get important trail information and regulations for the Boulder area by downloading the Boulder Area Trails App

  • Be aware of your limits and avoid unnecessary risks.
  • Be courteous. People visit trails and open spaces for solitude as well as emotional and physical benefits. Everyone deserves respect and courtesy while recreating outdoors.
  • Be fire and flood aware. Do not engage in activities that have the potential to start fires, including lighting fireworks or smoking in outdoor spaces. Also, be aware of the possibility of flash flooding, which can occur even if the weather is sunny where you are. Flash floods, wildfires: Be prepared.
  • Be prepared. Before leaving for your hike check for closures, and bring plenty of water to stay hydrated. Learn more about trails and open space regulations for the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks and Boulder County Parks and Open Space.

Enchanted Mesa/McClintock

 Chautauqua Park

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.

Red Rocks Trail

The People's Crossing
 Dog friendly

Red Rocks Trail is awesome if you are looking for a short, leisurely hike. It takes about 45 minutes to complete this easy 1-mile loop with a 0.4-mile spur. A beautiful, underground sandstone formation juts out of the ground to transform the landscape. It makes for an inspiring short hike.

Realization Point

Realization Point
 Easy to moderate
 Dog friendly

From this trailhead, you can enjoy easy to moderate hiking with views of the Indian Peaks (Ute-Range View trail) or Sugarloaf Mountain (Tenderfoot/Chapman Loop trail). If you have extra energy, you can hike to the summit of Green Mountain (E. M. Greenman trail). Leashed pets are welcome.

Flatirons Vista

 0.3 mile south of Highway 128 on Highway 93
 Easy to moderate
 Dog friendly

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. 

Walker Ranch Loop

 Walker Ranch
 Dog friendly

The Walker Ranch Loop is a local favorite. While it can be crowded, the hike takes you through through Walker Ranch Park and also into El Dorado Canyon State Park. Dogs are welcome as long as they stay on leash.

Mount Sanitas

 Mount Sanitas Trailhead
 Moderate to difficult
 Dog friendly

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. 

Bear Peak

South Boulder
 Dog friendly

If you are someone who loves hiking, then this trail, which offers plenty of gorgeous scenery and unobstructed 360-degree views, is the perfect one for you! Bear Peak is Boulder’s second tallest mountain at 8,461 feet, but its combination of beauty and brutality has made it an ever-popular challenge among locals.

It is estimated to take 3.5 to 4.5 hours. This rugged trail consists of switchbacks, stone-stairs, steep segments and passage through recent burn zones. To reach the summit, a brief and easy scramble with excellent hand and footholds awaits along iron-rich, red rock. On a clear day, hikers can see from Pikes Peak to Long Peak and the full range of the Indian Peaks in between. Go explore this wonderful South Boulder hike!

Heart Lake

 James Peak Wilderness Area
 Dog friendly

The Heart Lake Trail is outside of Boulder in the James Peak Wilderness Area, but the drive is worth it. A challenging hike at just under 9 miles, the steep incline over the ridges is strenuous to maneuver, but the descent to the lake basin is pretty easy. Since it is a challenging hike, the trail is lightly trafficked.

Heart Lake, named for its shape, is beautiful and clear, and you’ll be surrounded on all sides by mountain peaks. At a max elevation of around 11,000 feet, you are above the tree line and will be able to see for miles. 

From Boulder, take Canyon Boulevard/Highway 119 to Nederland. At the traffic circle in Nederland, turn left/south on Highway 119 to Rollinsville. In Rollinsville, turn right/west on the dirt Rollins Pass Road. It's 8 miles to the trailhead at the Moffat Tunnel.