Bear Peak Canyon Loop Trail

HARD 211 reviews
#11 of 84 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
2,811 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.

hiking
1 month ago

Very hard when you do the loop clockwise. 1 mile of non stop steep climbing. Rest of loop is much easier. The view from the top is worth the effort.

1 month ago

One of my go-to faves, especially when preparing for the next 14er.

1 month ago

good hike great view of boulder at the top of bear mountain

2 months ago

Fun hike. Trail is well maintained. Arrived at the parking lot around 8 am Saturday and surprised to 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.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a beautiful hike! Definitely worth the effort. We hiked up fern canyon and down west ridge/bear canyon. The hike up was mainly in the shade, so that was a nice surprise and made it a little easier getting to the top. It was VERY buggy at the summit, so bring bug spray! The way down the west ridge & bear canyon trails is all exposed, so getting an earlier start may be a good idea to avoid the late afternoon heat. Overall, a great hike!

2 months ago

I’ve done this a couple times in the last couple years. Good hike, very good workout. Fern Canyon & trail to top are steep! West ridge & Bear Canyon are gentle. Prefer to go up Fern & down West Ridge. Very windy today, with some rain.

hiking
3 months ago

This isn’t a beginners hike. The last 15% or so is pretty steep. Once you make the top it’s all worth it. Serious workout.

hiking
3 months ago

It’s was a great hike, it’s rough once I get up top it was colder than I though. Plan ahead before you go!

hiking
3 months ago

Wow! This was very difficult. I had to scrabble over some Boulders. I was not expecting that. Bring poles, to save your body on gong down on either side.

Plan early, as I can get extremely hot. I ran out of water, had to borrow friends. I brought 2L.

Lots of gnats at the top which was annoying.

Beautiful ever changing landscape.
I think this is my first 'difficult' trail completedl.

4 months 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.

4 months 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!

4 months ago

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

6 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
8 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
8 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

9 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
9 months ago

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

10 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
10 months ago

Great hike with fantastic views.

10 months ago

Great hike with amazing views !

11 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
Saturday, September 09, 2017

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

hiking
Monday, July 31, 2017

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.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

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
Thursday, July 27, 2017

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

Saturday, July 22, 2017

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

hiking
Tuesday, July 04, 2017

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
Monday, June 26, 2017

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!

Friday, June 16, 2017

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

hiking
Thursday, June 08, 2017

Amazing hike!

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