A Guide to the Best Hikes in Boulder, Colorado

Featured, Hiking, Travel

June 9, 2021

I’m on a personal quest to do all the best hikes in and around Boulder, Colorado.

Boulder, Colorado is a beautiful city located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. There are seemingly endless trails in the area, and the number of trails can be overwhelming! I’m new to Colorado, so I want to document my favorite trails that I find in the area.

Here are my favorites so far!

Green Mountain West Trail

Location: On Flagstaff Road

Length: 4 miles out and back

Difficulty: Moderate

Things to note: The trailhead is located on Flagstaff Road, a really cool mountain road. The area is managed by Boulder Open Space and there is an entrance fee for vehicles that are not registered in Boulder County. Parking can be limited, but I had no trouble on a weekday evening in the summer.

Why I love it: This trail is one of my favorite trails in Boulder! The trail isn’t particularly difficult, but the views are beautiful the entire time. The trail to the summit so pretty, and the summit is great too. If you go around golden hour before sunset, you’ll get excellent sunset views throughout. I did this hike in early June and saw so many wildflowers.

First and Second Flatirons Loop

Location: You can access the trailhead from Chautauqua Park

Length: 2.7 miles out and back

Difficulty: Strenuous

Things to note: You can access this trailhead from Chautauqua Park in Boulder. The trail is steep but the views are great! Chautauqua Park is very popular, but if the main lot is full, you can usually find parking on the street with no problem.

Why I love it: You’ll get excellent views of the Flatirons!

Canyon Loop and Benjamin Trail Loop

Location: Betasso Preserve

Length: 7.8 mile loop

Difficulty: Moderate

Why I love it: Betasso Preserve has mountain views, forest, and open meadows. Located about 10 minutes outside of Boulder, you can hike as much or as little as you’d like. There are beautiful views all around! The Preserve is a bit less popular and crowded than places like Chautauqua Park.

Red Rocks Trail

Location: About 10 minutes from downtown Boulder.

Length: 1.1 miles out and back

Notes: This trail is very popular, so I recommend going on a weeknight.

Difficulty: Easy

Why I love it: This trail will take you to some really cool rock formations with mountains in the background. It’s a short and easy hike with a big reward. Sunset from the rocks is really cool!

Eldorado Canyon Trail

Location: Eldorado Canyon State Park near Eldorado Springs

Length: 6.6 miles out and back

Difficulty: Moderate

Things to note: There is an entrance fee to access Eldorado Canyon State Park. There is basically no cell service in the area.

Why I love it: Eldorado Canyon State Park is a really cool par in general. This trail gives you cool views of the mountains and the canyon.

Walker Ranch Loop

Location: Near Boulder

Length: 7.9 mile loop

Difficulty: Strenuous

Things to note: This is a long trail, but totally worth it! You can park at the Walker Ranch Parking Access or the Crescent Meadows parking lot.

Why I love it: If you’re going to do one trail in Boulder, do this one! Oh my goodness this is such a good trail. You can a fantastic mix of landscapes including mountain views, forest, meadows, and river. The trail is gorgeous throughout.

Royal Arch Trail

Location: In Chautauqua Park

Length: 3.1 miles out and back

Notes: Chautauqua Park is very popular. If there is no parking in the main lot, you can usually get a spot on the street. I’d recommend doing this trail on a weeknight

Difficulty: Strenuous

Why I love it: This trail is steep, but it takes you up to a really cool rock arch. The views throughout the trail are great too!

Are there other trails in Boulder that you love? Let me know below!

You might also enjoy this guide to apps that I use while hiking and traveling.

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Hi there! I'm Abby. 
I'm a traveling photographer, writer, and artist and I'm most passionate about using visual communication connecting people with the outdoors.

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