Bear Peak Canyon Loop Trail

HARD 172 reviews
#9 of 76 trails in

Bear Peak Canyon Loop Trail is a 7.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Boulder, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
7.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2811 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

Along a lonely canyon to a ridge leading to a peak This hike starts at the NCAR parking lot. Head west to the Mesa trail then south. At the Bear Peak canyon trail junction head west. This canyon takes you to the bear peak west ridge trail leading to the peak. After a break, head north down fern canyon trail until it curves and reaches the mesa trail, then continue back to the start of your venture.

20 days ago

Loved this hike - entered at the Mesa Trail from NCAR lot, ended up being between 8-9 miles for me (went the wrong way for .5 miles). All in all great hike, definite incline with a lot of switch backs but the view was worth it.

23 days ago

4/30/18-an amazing hike and workout. I started at the NCAR trail, passed a rattlesnake at the beginning of the trail. Didn’t realize it was there until I heard it rattle, probably because my dog stopped to sniff it. I grabbed him right away and walked away pretty rapidly, I guess the trail in the beginning there is notorious for rattlers. Follow the Mesa trail and that will lead you to the Bear Peak trail. The first 4 1/2 miles is an intense incline 2800+ and the descend is pretty steep as well. Wear the right shoes for sure. It was almost 8 miles, i ended up going a little over 9 because I kept going straight when I arrived at the summit and realized I was supposed to go left instead. I met a wonderful couple with amazing dogs so it was ok that I veered off path for a bit. Beautiful views throughout the entire hike. I will definitely check in again, worth the intensity!

29 days ago

Great hike. Beautiful day-could see for miles up top. It’s worth the climb.

2 months ago

We took bear canyon up which was longer than shadow or fern but had some nice pine covered areas. The last summit up to the peak was pretty challenging as it was very steep and straight up. Took my chihuahua and he did great. Once at Bear peak the view is unbelievable!We took shadow canyon down as others said fern canyon was too icy and slippery without micro spikes. Shadow was so rocky not very diverse terrain but not slippery. Somehow got lost connecting back to Mesa trail after shadow and hiked an extra couple miles, next time I’ll take a map. It’s easy to hike south boulder peak from bear and south boulder peak (not bear as I was told) is the actual highest peak in Boulder, maybe next time. Overall a great hike!

hiking
4 months ago

Did the loop in reverse- it was a butt kicker. If you do it in reverse- keep a careful eye out, we mistakenly headed toward Shadow Canyon and has to turn around

trail running
4 months ago

Ran up today, Snow was packed well and didn’t need to use Yaktrax, very windy and cold up top but over all a great run. Fern Canyon coming down had some slippery spots on it, but still able to run most of it

5 months ago

Beautiful but took longer than anticipated. Definitely recommend taking the steep way up, then canyon down. When you get to Bear Canyon/Mesa intersection, go left to Mesa. Big climb but great views

hiking
5 months ago

Always a favorite! Steep up one side, but a nice mellow trail run down the back!

6 months ago

Did this trail last July 2016 it’s very difficult especially if your going up through the flat irons but the top is worth it.

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike with fantastic views.

6 months ago

Great hike with amazing views !

7 months ago

Well maintained but challenging. Took 4.5 hours under dry conditions, with minimal stoping. Would be a bit treacherous if wet due to traversing a lot of stone, which would be slippery.

hiking
8 months ago

Fantastic hike, can't wait to do it again! Some parts are extremely strenous, be prepared.

hiking
9 months ago

That was the most insane hike I have ever done. The Bear Canyon side is much more beautiful than the Fern side, but it is a longer hike to the peak. Coming down the Fern side, I could tell I wouldn't have made it--it is so much steeper, but shorter. Well worth the effort to get to the peak. Make sure you have enough water and food to keep you hydrated and energized.

9 months ago

This trail was SO much harder than I thought it would be but so worth the challenge (I've been hiking out here all summer-it's by far the hardest one we've done). We went from 11:30-5:30 and took minimal breaks along the way. The hike gets so much steeper than any of the other trails I've done this summer, and has a super interesting view of a burned down forest.

We went up the bear canyon side and went down the fern canyon because we wanted to save time by not doing just bear canyon up and back. If you are not a fan of insanely steep declines (which is super rough on the knees) I'd recommend going up and back via the bear canyon path.

hiking
9 months ago

Great trail. A heck of a climb when you go up Fern Canyon, but worth it for the beautiful downhlll along Bear Canyon.

10 months ago

It is definitely harder than I had anticipated, but worth it.

hiking
10 months ago

I kept thinking I was at the top, but its so hard to tell with all of the fake summits. Once you do reach the top, you get an awesome panorama view which made this hard-earned view well worth it!

hiking
10 months ago

The first half was great going on the Westridge trail - amazing views! Going down on the other side of the loop towards Fern Canyon was much more difficult and pretty taxing on the body. Overall a great workout and rewarding 360 views at the top!

A great local hike that will really get your heart pumping and will deliver gorgeous views at the top.

hiking
11 months ago

Amazing hike!

Monday, April 10, 2017

was closed when we went april 2017-- check bearcanyon.org for closure info

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

this trail seems to be closed currently.

trail running
Saturday, December 10, 2016

Awesome trail. I visited Boulder in August. Varied terrain and scenery all the way to the scramble and climb to the top. A great way to take in the range of trails and scenes over Boulder. Views of the continental divide from the top. Start early to avoid the heat through the exposed sections on the way up on a warm day. Loved this trail!

hiking
Friday, November 11, 2016

Took me a while to review this.... I wasn't sure how I felt! Lots of pain for a couple days after but totally worth it! Views are amazing at the peak. Push through it! After the burned forest you'll see crumbled rocks. Go to the highest crumbled rock, you'll understand.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

We approached from Bear Canyon and descended via Fern Canyon. I would consider approaching and returning via Bear Canyon to make the hike longer, more scenic, and more moderate. Beautiful views on the back side, the stream parallels the trail much of the way and the dirt path opens onto meadows of wildflowers and the burn from 4 years back creates visual interest. Whereas the ascent/descent via Fern Canyon is steep and more technical for some.

hiking
Sunday, August 14, 2016

Great 365 view once on the top of the peak. We went up Fern canyon and came down via Bear canyon. Easier descent in my opinion. About 10 miles loop from NCAR parking lot.

hiking
Monday, July 18, 2016

We hiked this yesterday with our 2 dogs. Took Mesa trail to Bear Canyon up to the peak. It was a nice hike on the way up, but we took the fern canyon trail on the way down which made for a steep descent. The trail was relatively crowded (not surprising being that it's so close to Boulder), and there weren't many wildflowers because it was hot and bone dry. Overall a good workout with nice views from the summit, but not a hike I'd repeat. (Warning - the trails aren't marked well at the peak and we started coming down to shadow canyon before turning around)

Sunday, July 03, 2016

This trail was great! Lightly trafficked so it made it nice! I did the whole loop and it was great! Climb to bear peak was a little steep but worth it! Also the way I hiked the loop I descended via fern canyon... Gorgeous but steep decent!

hiking
Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Went shadow canyon up to bear peak instead of south Boulder peak, and then came back via fern canyon and Mesa trail. Overall a solid 7.5+ mile loop with some steep parts. Great views from the top though.

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