Bear Peak Canyon Loop Trail

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Boulder Open Space

Bear Peak Canyon Loop Trail is a 7.6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Boulder, Colorado that features a river 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

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

bird watching

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

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
4 days ago

Plenty of parking. Well maintained trail. No bikes are allowed on the trail. Didn’t see too many people even though it was the middle of the afternoon. Last quarter mile is a little bit of class 2 hiking, but doable even if you don’t have a ton of experience. Great views at summit. If you do the loop counterclockwise, the elevation gain is super mild. I’d rate it more moderate than hard. I spent about an hour at the summit, started at 2 and was back at my car around 6. Also, all the people saying it’s more like 9 miles... don’t really know what you’re talking about... Having done multiple hikes out of Chautauqua park and getting frustrated with how overcrowded it gets, this is a great alternative that’s not far away from Boulder

hiking
bugs
5 days ago

Great trail! Views unbelievable, definitely more like 10 miles, garmin reading about 11 miles. Worth it, went counter clockwise and knocked out the steep at the start. Lots of flies at the the top, please pack out your trash including ‘biodegradable’ trash like fruit peels!

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
6 days ago

When you get to the beginning of the loop the right side is light and then hammers the incline about 5 miles in while the left starts with the incline and then draws out the decent. This hike is NOT 7 miles more like 9.5! Beware. It was hard but rewarding. I’d do it again

hiking
blowdown
bridge out
bugs
no shade
rocky
6 days ago

Very difficult for those who do not hike often. It took my friend and I 7 hours total with a dog. One side of the loop has no shade. Very rocky getting to the top and on the way down. Also it is actual 9.9 miles not 7 miles.

hiking
10 days ago

Beautiful morning. Went up the flatter side to the north and came back down the east ridge. The last 3/4 mile is very tough, but worth it. Great views at the top.

hiking
rocky
14 days ago

Great Trial! And so close to town. I saw a baby rattlesnake on Mesa part of the trail but he wasn’t a harm to us. Then I talked to ranger who was pulling everyone aside who wasn’t wearing mask and made request for them to wear a mask next time. This trail is hard to social distance as well.

hiking
rocky
16 days ago

hiking
rocky
19 days ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
snow
1 month ago

I do it in the reverse order as the map and description show. Section from the saddle at Nebel Horn to Bear Peak has some significant compact snow sections, but if you're cautious it's easily doable without spikes. The rest of the route is largely bare and dry, with only occasional wet, snowy, or muddy places, most of which are avoidable and all easily passable with no special gear. Biggest concern was rattlesnakes, on the first downhill right where the trail starts.

hiking
1 month ago

Definitely need micro spikes if wanting to hit the top of bear peak. All the lower trails are doable without. Not too busy at all. Great!

hiking
icy
muddy
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
icy
1 month ago

Still a bit of icy spots on the north slope of Fern canyon. Other than that, beautiful hike!

hiking
icy
muddy
rocky
snow
2 months ago

Mesa trail is very muddy. About an hour into hike the mud let's up. The view from Bear Peak Summit is worth the climb. Spikes a must have coming down Fern Canyon.

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