Explore To Do - 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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Amazing hike. We just completed his today and hit both peaks. Shadow Canyon's provides a bit more to see, and is just as difficult of a climb. Don't underestimate this one. Though it's low in altitude, you still truck up 3,000 feet and, likewise, bang your knees up on the way down those 3,000 feet. The trail is a bit difficult to follow when the elevation begins to pick up, but it's pretty hard to get lost. To avoid our big mistake, do an out and back if you follow this trail; the loop around can lead you about five miles away from the parking lot. Thank sweet baby Jesus for Uber. Either way, awesome views. Bring plenty of water. My wife and I went through three liters and a 24 oz Gatorade, but, again, we did both summits. Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes and bears. We ran into two rattlesnakes on the side of the trail and word spread quick about two black bears roaming further down the trail. Nothing to worry about, though. Except for the ten gallons of sweat that poured out of me. It needs to be winter already. Get out and get it done! Not too difficult and spaced out really well. The tricky part comes at the very end. The climbing is a bit sketch if you want to get the views, but totally worth the risk.

Fun hike. Trail is well maintained. Arrived at the parking lot around 8 am Saturday and surprised to let find the lot only half full. Hike was fairly difficult in sections - especially for us flatlanders - but not too difficult. The scrambles were fun and views outstanding. At the summit there was a cloud of flying insects so we kept the visit to a minimum. Highly recommend this route. Minimal traffic for a Saturday hike in the middle of summer.

I've been here multiple times & it's one of my favorite hikes in Boulder. South Boulder Creek is a great place to take a break for picture taking or have a lunch/snack or just take in the beautiful scenery. I tracked it at 7.6 miles. Beware...don't leave wallets or purses in your car! When I was getting out of my car, an older couple warned me that their window got broken & a wallet was stolen!

Transplant to Colorado and have done a few hikes and this was one of my favorites. Hiked this today and it was tough. Gorgeous views from the top!! Definitely want to do this before it gets too hot out on your way down. A lot of rocks, shade and great trail.

One of my favorite hikes. Beautiful and fun! you will see definitely be able to see wildlife there. Expect a bit of climbing. Great view at the top.

hiking
1 day ago

My wife, son and I did this today. Outside of being hot, the trail was great. A lot of folks on the trail and a bunch at the arch itself taking photos.

hiking
2 days ago

Very fun trail. Worth the tough parts for the view at the end! We had two dogs with us that were able to complete the trail as well.

trail running
2 days ago

Going left: nice declines!! 7.8 miles. Not difficult :)

Great hike with spectular views, but it is strenuous.

hiking
3 days ago

Beautiful but really difficult! Lots and lots of stairs! We started at the NCAR parking lot. From the parking lot to the Arch and back was 8 miles.The trek from the official trail head of Royal Arch to the arch was pretty tough. Great views though. and LOTS of people. We started at 9 am and there were a ton of people out and about on the trail even on a week day.

Great hike at moderate to hard difficulty. Go as early as possible. I started at 7am and there were only 5-10 people on the scenic top. Apparently it can get up to 50 people in the afternoon.

Starts out moderate but gets very steep about halfway through. It was sunny until you get into Shadow Canyon, but then gets much steeper so was still very challenging and once you get to the top there is more sun. I found it very difficult and stopped many times, but I haven't done much hiking lately. The view at the end was nice, getting to see the mountains in the distance, but I was very worn out coming down. I should probably have waited until I had done more hikes before doing this one. The dog liked it but she was very worn out at the end. It was her first hike and it was probably a little too much for her.

Nature’s version of a stairmaster!

Love this hike! I've done Royal Arch 20+ times, and it never gets old!

Hmm... all trails is off!!
1. It’s 10.53 miles
2. It’s not hard, more moderate. If you’re out of shape, then it’ll probably be a little hard.

Definitely a workout (step-style over rocks and roots in the canyon), but worth the views! Also quite easy (once you’re up there) to shoot over to Bear Peak. A lot of sun on the meadow trail area until the ascent, which is shaded for most of the canyon until the switchbacks leading up to the crest splitting the trail between South Boulder Peak and Bear Peak. Had to push myself a bit, but loved the vistas! Best to do on a weekday. I can see how it may get crowded. Barely anyone around today (Monday).

Awesome views! Harder than we anticipated but worth every step we took.

hiking
6 days ago

Great hike, definitely tough! Lots and lots of "stairs". View at the top is totally worth it Go early, we started at 7:30 on Saturady morning and as we were going back down, the trail was packed with people heading up.

hiking
6 days ago

Proposed to my gf at the Royal Arch, beautiful view that shouldn’t be missed out on!

Difficult, but the views along the way up are beautiful - can be hard on the joints and toes, also slippery when wet.
You can see the Denver skyline on a clear day!

This hike is a killer workout - I call it my "summer butt" workout. Basically stairs for the entire ascent. In early June, we started around 9 am and it very quickly turned HOT. It was also very crowded. We spent a lot of time leap frogging and moving to the side to pass or be passed, hence the 4 stars. That said, as far as Boulder hikes go, this one was great. Tons of wildflowers, dogs allowed off leash, and some satisfying views of the front range from the top. My dog and I did the quick ascent up Bear Peak, but the bugs were so oppressive we couldn't even enjoy it. Will also warn folks that my dog, a year old 40 pound labradoodle, has done multiple ascents and I brought plenty fo water for him. We saw lots of dogs that were way overheating on this hike, so bring extra water to drench your dog. It's nice to do a 3k ft ascent within a 30 minute drive of Denver. Will definitely be doing this again!

hiking
6 days ago

love this loop and have done it with my dog multiple times. My only concern would be that I don't believe it's only 7.3 miles. my fitbit eve time has put it closer to 8.5-9, just a heads up!

Great trail not too crowded and great views on the way up, the top is the reward.

Very heavily travelled trail, the view is worth it, but go early. most hikers get to the Arch and hang out having lunch etc, so it is very crowded at the top.

Beautiful view of flat irons and boulder at summit. Bring lots of water for ascent.

It’s not that hard as these people saying!!! Not 3 miles, 1.8 miles in! It was pretty easy for me and my 3 months old puppy mini Aussie made it like it was nothing!! No more than 2 hours in and out, not even 4 miles in total!

hiking
8 days ago

Good, challenging trail. Nothing too crazy, but you will definitely get a workout in. The trail is heavily trafficked and narrow at points. When getting closer to the top the trail gets rocky and you go down and then up again. Even though you go down, you still have a bit (maybe about 20 minutes) to go, so don’t be surprised - you’re not done climbing yet! Views from the top and the arch are beautiful. Worth the climb.

My husband and I were prepared for a hike and wanted to see flat top but it was closed so we chose to take the royal arch trail on the spot. We had two 1L bottles of water and needed more! Stopped several times to catch our breath. Granted we’re out of shape. But if you’re not at least moderately active this will be a tough trail. The view up top is worth it if you’re prepared. I would only take a working class dog up- I saw a few people with small dogs and children and felt bad for them.

hiking
10 days ago

Good trail, some parts were really hard.

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