South Boulder Peak Trail

HARD 31 reviews
#6 of 17 trails in

South Boulder Peak Trail is a 7.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Boulder, CO that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until November.

7.8 miles 3084 feet Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

up a wooded canyon to top of a mountain peak, strenuous hike. This hike starts in the plains of the foothills along townee trail. It then connects to shadow canyon trail and enters a cool wooded canyon. At the top of the canyon a short trail takes you to the top of South Boulder Peak. This peak does not have many visitors, as compared to the other nearby peaks.

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Hit both peaks, 9:00 start and we got the last spot at Mesa trailhead. It's about 2.5 miles of easy terrain to get to Shadow Canyon, which is pretty crazy steep for over a mile to the saddle. Lost the trail to Bear in the scree, which meant we had to free climb from the south ridge through some involved exposed patches. Took the nice trail on the way back to the saddle (still a bit of a scramble from the top) and saw where we went wrong-- there's a sign for the raptor area you can make out if you peek around a bit.

South Boulder was easier, less crowded, with superior views. Doing both in a day makes for a long day on this route (Fern trail looked less intense). It's a long way back down Shadow Canyon, as the incline and rocks make for a pretty slow descent, and once you're out of the canyon it's still 2.5 miles back to the trailhead. Overall long, with technical options, and a decent challenge for within city limits.

3 months ago

Fantastic day out

hiking
4 months ago

Very challenging. Incredible views at the top, but you'll have to earn it. Trail isn't always clear - it's mostly climbing up rocks for the last 2 miles.

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Highest peak in Boulder open space. Very challenging. I wanted to make it Bear peak as well, but didn't make it. There's 3 places you can start this hike at. Google the name of this hike and you'll find more information. I found the hike to be longer than advertised. Besides the view at the end of the hike on my favorite parts were the black pines near the top. Great spot for photos. Go early it can take awhile.

hiking
5 months ago

5 months ago

Best of Boulder trails in my opinion. Take this and continue to bear peak for a challenging day.

5 months ago

6 months ago

Started from Cragmoor Drive in Boulder. Takes a bit of time to get to Shadow Canyon from Mesa Trail. Great hike, but be prepared for lots of gnats at the top. Also be prepared for exposure to weather on the saddle between South Boulder Peak and Bear Peak since a fire burned down most of the trees in that area.

hiking
6 months ago

Pretty tough hike. It is closer to 9-10 miles round trip or roughly 4-5 hours at a leisurely pace. I think I would have rather gone to Colorado Springs and climbed the Incline because at least you know what your getting yourself into with that trail. This is a reasonable hike until you reach the upper part of Shadow Canyon Trail where it is 2 miles of stone "steps" up to the peak. Don't think I will return to this one because there are more enjoyable hikes in the area. Be prepared to be sore and tired following this trail. Parking costs $5 and finding a spot on the weekend is not easy to do because this is a popular hiking area.

hiking
6 months ago

Great trail. Easy hike up until shadow canyon. Gets pretty steep here but not too rough. Quite a few rattlesnakes but it's that time of year.

hiking
6 months ago

Starts off slow then gets rocky in the last couple of miles to the top. Tough hike but worth it! Go early to avoid traffic as this is a popular trail.

6 months ago

6 months ago

fun hard hike, definitely worth it imo.

trail running
6 months ago

Definitely deserves the designation as “hard”. Set out to do this as a trail run today. Made it about 2.5 miles (until the terrain became very steep and rocky) and then did another mile alternating running and hiking. This took over an hour and I had to turn back before the summit due to lack of time.

As trail runs go this one is pretty gnarly. Very difficult terrain for the last two miles or so. Still, if you are looking for a good workout in an awesome environment, this is a good choice.

Weather was perfect. No snow on the trail anywhere. Blue skies. Significant mud on the trail and stream crossings due to snowmelt – only made for a more enjoyable run in my opinion :)

hiking
1 year ago

Quite a workout going from Shadow canyon. No one on the trail during weekday. Saw a herd of deer at Towhee. Also beautiful Bluestem grass growing in the meadows. Lot of poison ivy on the canyon trail. It was an extremely hot day for Sept.

Great view of Devils Thumb 3/4 way up on trail. Rock scramble at the end is fun. Nice view from top of Bear peak, Indian peaks & RMNP. Nice hike to use often as training for 14ers.

hiking
1 year ago

It is not as crowded as some of the other trails in the area.

hiking
1 year ago

I began the hike at South Mesa Trailhead and it took a little over 4 hours for me to complete. You follow the Mesa trail until you hit the Shadow Canyon trail. Take the Shadow Canyon trail all the way to the top. The difficulty is comparable to Royal Arch except the trail is longer. Awesome hike close to home with beautiful views at the top!

hiking
1 year ago

It took 5 hours to complete the whole thing. The view on top is a 360 view of the cities and the 14ers. Awesome hike