Explore Close to Boulder - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hiking
16 hours ago

Nice, short trail for a quick nature getaway. It is quite steep if you enter from Settler’s Park, much more than expected. There are beautiful views of Boulder at the top. Bring lots of water and sunscreen as there’s not much shade.

I really enjoyed this hike. Lots of places to explore off the trail, plenty of water sources along the way to cool yourself and your dogs off. I love a trail/hike that has water so I think thats why I dug this one so much.

The only downfall is the parking situation-- we got to the trailhead around 10am, and there was zero parking. We had to park about a mile away from the trailhead, and we weren't sure how to access the shuttle so we ended up walking to the trailhead. I recommend googling the free shuttle and figuring that out beforehand :)

"Stairmaster Sanitas" is a great place to get a very real workout in. We are in decent shape and climbed up Sanitas and went back around the valley loop trail within 2.5 hours. I would categorize this as "moderate to hard" given a few of the rocks you have to scramble over and how steep it is. While you can carry a child on a backpack up an down, it's not the greatest one to choose for that since you might have to shuffle a bit over rocks, etc.

Beautiful hike on August 6, 2018.

Lovely little walk with beautiful views. We were greeted by six wild turkeys grazing along side the path seemingly careless of our presence.

I started up the Sanitas Valley Loop first. Beautiful views of urban Boulder and a smattering of homes in the hills. The moderate valley trail gives way to some steep inclines as it connects with the East Ridge trail. I was visiting from Atlanta so I had to catch my breath and steady my footing as the trail ascended. Had to get used to the change in altitude. Plan to take your time navigating the rocky, sometimes not well marked East Ridge trail if your new to it and out there alone. I got out early in the am and had a few hikers help me find the trail but I can see that this trail gets very well populated after mid morning. At the top of Ridge Trail I met some nice folks who directed me to Lion’s Lair trail just beyond the summit for a good trail run. This trail was pretty smooth and the decline makes for a steady tempo run. Don’t get too comfortable because the switchbacks will keep you on your game. Overall a fun trail to test your trail speed. The locals pointed directed me on how to go from the Lion’s Lair trail to a narrow barely there trail that runs parallel to Sunshine Canyon Dr. This trail led to me the Centennial Trailhead parking lot. Overall awesome experience for a trail runner who wants to mix it up with a hike and run.

hiking
6 days ago

Great little hike lots of wildlife.
Great views.

this incline is no joke! my poor pups paws were shredded after hiking these rocks. I ended up having to carry her 2 miles to the end. It was scenic but not as great as everyone makes it out to be.

A great, moderate hike. My wife and I didn't make it up to Little Blue Lake, and by the time we made it to Blue Lake, it looked like it was going to storm on the day we visited, 8-5-18. Blue Lake was still a great spot eat lunch and take some pictures. It ended up not storming, so we'll be back soon to do a complete circuit.

There were still plenty of wildflowers in bloom, and we arrived shortly after a lengthy bout of rain, so some of the streams were overflowing and added to scenery and enjoyment. We missed sighting a moose with her 2 calves by just a few minutes, but saw plenty of birds and rodents. The route was well maintained and not densely trafficked while visiting on a Sunday morning and in fact we had about a quarter mile stretch on the way back where it was just the two of us. Excellent photography opportunities along the way. I look forward to returning

Potty your dog before coming or be prepared to carry poop! There aren’t any trash cans along the way. The hike was challenging at the end but doable with rest and worth it with the view. Hang in there and reap the rewards!

Very challenging, beautiful hike! Once you’re at the top there’s an option to hike down towards Sanitas Valley Trail via East Ridge Trail. There was a point along East Ridge Trail that we felt did not have ample signage as we ended up going down the mountain off the trail. Other than that this trail was awesome!

A dramatic backdrop, wildflowers, wildlife, multiple lakes and waterfalls... this trail really does have it all! (and has quickly moved up my list of favorite hikes to do in Colorado). Echoing the reviews already posted, yes definitely get there early... I arrived at 7 AM on a rainy Sunday and the parking lot was still filling up pretty quickly. Also, the rocky scramble up to Little Blue Lake is pretty challenging and not very well marked... beautiful up there, but certainly not for all skill sets. Blue Lake alone is still well worth the trip though!

hiking
8 days ago

Easy hike with the dog (I have a pug and he did fine). A little more scrambling up rocks than expected but not hard at all. Perfect for something quick with the dog! This park fills up fast so go early if you want a spot. I arrived at 10am on a Sunday, the lot was already half full. I might consider going earlier next time. Not a lot of shade, so bring sunscreen and water!

FYI, McClintock trail starts just to the left of enchanted mesa; this trail doesn't allow dogs, enchanted mesa does. It then crosses enchanted mesa and keeps going up (still with no dogs); when you hit the end, you can take the loop coming back down on enchanted mesa. So I'd say this loop is about half dogs, half no dogs. Loved it and found the up part on McClintock to be quite challenging - a perfect morning hike with quite a lot of shade!

Steepness was a bit more than expected. Id suggest going up the east ridge as it seems like it would be a bit treacherous to go down. Note that there are large steps that may make it hard for people who have any soreness in their knees. Great views at top!

A lot harder than expected. I would rate this as moderate to hard. I hiked this on a sunny day, which probably made it a bit more difficult. Regardless, I would do this again but counterclockwise next time.

great hike,views are amazing. and wild life everywhere.

Fun trail. Just started hiking and wasn’t too terrible. View at top is great!

Easy hike to Blue Lake. Great for an inflatable boat.

After reading many reviews here, we got to the trailhead at 6:30am (on a Thursday) and there were only a few cars in the lot. Hardly anyone on the trail at that time. Around 7:45-8am we nearly ran into two bull moose eating right on the trail! We had just come to the top of a steep hill and couldn’t see them until we got to the top. Very cool though- maybe 50 yards from us. We also saw two big buck closer to the lake. The views are spectacular and have everything you’d want to see/ views, wildflowers were still in bloom (8/2/18), waterfalls, wildlife etc. The entire trail is pretty rocky so it slowed us down a bit.. but we did also stop a lot to take pictures. Coming down the trail around 9:30-10:30 we passed tons of people. If you want to see wildlife I’d definitely go early morning or late afternoon.

Very beautiful lake views! This is the only lake I’ve been to that has a waterfall flowing into it, or better yet down an enormous mountain!
I didn’t go to the little blue lake as the trail got extremely rocky and steep. But the view of the bigger one was worth it!

Harder than expected but beautiful throughout the entire hike. Wore tevas and wished I had my hiking boots

I enjoy this hike year after year, but parking has become a problem. We were at the park entrance at 8:15 and had to park at Brainard Lake because the Mitchell Lake trailhead parking lot was already full! This adds about a mile in each direction to the hike.
The wildflowers were pretty spent, but the three male moose we saw made up for it.
I recommend this hike, but plan to get there early.

hiking
12 days ago

Did this hike in the evening so it was cooler and quiet on the trail. A fun road getting up to the trailhead and an easy hike for all. Beautiful view of the mountains and lots of pretty wildflowers.

hiking
13 days ago

Great little trail with some neat views. The uphill part when you turn around will really get your heart pumping! My dog enjoyed it also.

Beautiful hike. Lots of wildflowers, several moose, overall great scenery. The pup also loved it. Parking at the Mitchell Lake trailhead was full, but you can still park at Brainard and there’s a trail that brings you up.

This trail was more challenging than I expected. Very glad it was an overcast day. The cloud cover kept us cool. I highly suggest taking the trail clockwise. The apoach to the summit is longer a somewhat easier that way. The decent, continuing the clockwise loop, was difficult in my opinion, and I got the impression that other hikers turn around rather than taking the steep route to the valley. I'm glad we did, however, because the valley is gorgeous and covered in wildflowers.

Awesome hike with great views. Not too crowded, and there is a lot of shade to hide from the sun. My dog loved this trail!

We took this trail on a Saturday. The parking near the trailhead was already full by 9:30, so we took the free shuttle from Nederland. We followed the creek up to the top of the waterfalls. It was beautiful! A thunder storm blew in and it poured for about 15 minutes. Then the weather cleared, and we continued hiking. The trail was not difficult, the water features were fabulous, and there was plenty of shade. Take lots of water, light rain gear if storms are likely, and a snack.

Great trail! Just be sure to get there early. Very crowded after 10 AM.

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