Mallory Cave is a 2.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Boulder, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
2.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
803 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

trail running

walking

cave

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

A short walk, a final 100 ft climb and a cave. This hike starts at the NCAR parking lot. Head west to the Mesa trail and cross it by the information sign. There are lots of offshoot trails, be sure to follow the signs to the final 100 ft rock climb. If there is no ice or snow proceed up to the cave. NOTE: The cave is seasonally CLOSED from April 1 to October 1 for roosting bats.

hiking
23 days ago

hiked this a couple years ago and remember really enjoying it. the scramble at the end of difficult if you're not comfortable with this kind of terrain. saw lots of people and dogs. I found it a tough trail to hike with a leashed dog. beautiful views!

1 month ago

great hike. took the kids 3&5. I would say this is a moderate hike only if you are doing the final climb to see the cave entrance.

1 month ago

Great hike! 'Moderate' rating is appropriate. Signs and trails can make it a little confusing at the beginning, so following the mesa trail signs not the ncar trail signs. It's a pretty steep hike in general. 2.4 miles OUT and 2.4 miles BACK. Last 100' was too steep for our group of 2nd graders. Beautiful views amongst the flatirons. Still worth going even though we could see the cave at the top.

hiking
1 month ago

This hike was amazing. The first half was very smooth and simple, then it turns pretty rocky for the last mile or so. The very last bit was absolutely the best part though. I saw other people posting that the last 100 feet or so was a climb, so I was expecting something along the lines of boulder hopping. Boy was i wrong! It was a legitimate climb! I would say it was about a 60ish degree angle, which was exactly what i was hoping for! Most of the trail is great for most dogs, and older kids too! I will 100% be going back!

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail! The last 100ft up to the cave is a pretty steep climb up rocks... not very kid or dog friendly, but the trail leading up to that point is great. Definitely recommend boots.

hiking
2 months ago

Great morning hike! Lovely views in some spots and mostly very shaded. Does get a bit rocky and steep at some points but mostly pretty accessible.

Great hike with the doggo this evening! The trail to the cave was nearly empty, with the exception of a few runners on the front end pursuing the Mesa Trail. The cave at the top was closed for bats, but beautiful views of the Boulder Valley and Flatirons throughout!

2 months ago

Good hike...go early as it gets busy with hikers. make sure you wear your hiking boots. it's a bit rocky in places.

3 months ago

Fantastic for a short hike, quick elevation with a family!

3 months ago

Nice short and relatively easy hike! Took us 45 min to get to the cave. The views from boulders are great.

hiking
3 months ago

great views from multiple points in the hike. cave is closed most of the time, so if you were looking for caves and bats, check elsewhere.

hiking
3 months ago

Very nice!

3 months ago

Nice hike, great views at the top!!

hiking
4 months ago

Good trail for a quick hike! With minimal stopping it took about 35-40 minutes to get up. Since the area at the top is closed, I didn’t go all the way to the cave. Hardly anyone was on the trail once I got past the intersection with the Table Mesa trail (probably due to the fact that the cave is closed for the summer). The trail leading up to that intersection has several offshoots but they seem to all lead back to the main route or they dead-end quickly so you know to turn around. After the intersection the Mallory Cave trail is well marked. Just keep an eye out for the markers. There is a marker where you turn up the hill to get to the final stretch. I saw a couple of hikers turn early, so just a warning- keep going till you see the sign! I’ll probably try trail running this one next time around.

5 months ago

Cave was closed for the bats but worth the views and hike anyways. We went from Mesa trail then followed the cave signs

hiking
5 months ago

I think this is a moderate/hard hike. The last stretch of the hike was hard but we managed it and my 6 year old did as well. Once you get back about a mile, it gets quieter and has beautiful views. We will hike this trail again.

5 months ago

We were looking for a moderate hike that wouldn't take all day. This fit the bill perfectly. Very close to town with awesome views!

6 months ago

The view is amazing

6 months ago

I am out of shape and was able to survive most of this trail. I wish that I would’ve brought my trekking poles to save my knees on the way down. There was no way I was climbing up that big, steep rock at the end to get to the cave. It was supposedly closed anyway. I did get a little “lost” a few times on the way down.

6 months ago

The actual cave is closed for the summer to protect the local bat population. However it’s a very casual hike with decent views. Starting from NCAR helps avoid the Chautauqua park crowds.

hiking
6 months ago

Great casual hike. Not too hard and not many steep inclines.

hiking
7 months ago

have done this hike several times. it's a fun quick that isn't too strenuous. beautiful views from many points, but the best is from the cave entrance.

a couple of notes:

1. from Feb through July there is a chain fence halfway up the rock wall. you can't get to the cave entrance during that time. Had I known that, I wouldn't have made the hike.

2. from the NCAR trail drop, down to Mesa trail, during spring it is common to see rattlesnakes on the trail. Be careful, step well over rocks and don't approach any snake!

hiking
7 months ago

The hike was pretty doable in a short time from the NCAR building. Pretty well trafficked and sadly the cave isn’t open. Still great views!

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike! No issues with the trail when I went Saturday but they put up a fence so you cannot reach the summit anymore. You can still climb up the rock to a ledge to see out, but it’s not as great of a view with the trees out there. Lots of spaces to climb though if you’re interested. I’ll come back again when the fence is down and the cave is open.

7 months ago

Best when you don’t have hours to spend but still want good hike.

Lots of kids on this trail. Starts a ncarr, not to challenging, lots of uphill at the end, to see the cave have to climb up some rocks.

hiking
8 months ago

Great short hike! Easy rise to the bottom of the final climb (it’s a climb for sure). Beautiful view from the top! The cave is closed for the season, but still worth the hike/climb. Under 2 hours out and back.

hiking
8 months ago

Moderately trafficked and just barely muddy this Saturday afternoon. Slow and steady start with a good elevation increase at the end. There is a rock wall before the gated off caves so you will need to use hands to climb. Saw some dads struggling to help their children up/down the wall. Saw a few adults of all ages that wouldn’t climb the wall (fraidy cats). The best views are at the top so don’t chicken out. All in all, quick and easy hike. Wouldn’t do it again for exercise, but would bring friends here for sweet views of the flat lands.

8 months ago

I loved this trail but the climb at the end was a CLIMB. For someone who likes to stay on my feet and not use hands I didn’t do the last part. Sorta upset I didn’t get to see the cave but the hike otherwise was awesome!

hiking
8 months ago

Awesome hike! Great views, great workout !

Load More