Mount Sanitas and Sanitas Valley Loop Trail

MODERATE 1,412 reviews
#2 of 84 trails in

Mount Sanitas and Sanitas Valley Loop Trail is a 3.2 mile heavily trafficked loop 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
3.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,256 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

Directions from Broadway: Traveling north passed the University turn left on to Mapleton Avenue. The trailhead lies approximately seven blocks west of Broadway. While parts of this hike are dog friendly, dogs are not allowed on Lions lair section of the trail.

hiking
6 hours ago

Excellent trail! we did the first leg to the peak about 3 miles. mostly open until you start the climb. Climb was challenging over rocks, right turns. Peak had amazing views. Took Lion's Lair trail back down and this leg was mostly paved but a long 5 miles or so. Overall a really nice park in Boulder with several interesting trails.

hiking
4 days ago

Quintessential Boulder hike. Went clockwise today - I prefer to tackle the big “steps” on the ascent and come down through the valley. Always nice to have bathrooms (across the street from the trailhead.) Friendly faces and interesting terrain. A perennial favorite.

hiking
6 days ago

"Stairmaster Sanitas" is a great place to get a very real workout in. We are in decent shape and climbed up Sanitas and went back around the valley loop trail within 2.5 hours. I would categorize this as "moderate to hard" given a few of the rocks you have to scramble over and how steep it is. While you can carry a child on a backpack up an down, it's not the greatest one to choose for that since you might have to shuffle a bit over rocks, etc.

hiking
10 days ago

I started up the Sanitas Valley Loop first. Beautiful views of urban Boulder and a smattering of homes in the hills. The moderate valley trail gives way to some steep inclines as it connects with the East Ridge trail. I was visiting from Atlanta so I had to catch my breath and steady my footing as the trail ascended. Had to get used to the change in altitude. Plan to take your time navigating the rocky, sometimes not well marked East Ridge trail if your new to it and out there alone. I got out early in the am and had a few hikers help me find the trail but I can see that this trail gets very well populated after mid morning. At the top of Ridge Trail I met some nice folks who directed me to Lion’s Lair trail just beyond the summit for a good trail run. This trail was pretty smooth and the decline makes for a steady tempo run. Don’t get too comfortable because the switchbacks will keep you on your game. Overall a fun trail to test your trail speed. The locals pointed directed me on how to go from the Lion’s Lair trail to a narrow barely there trail that runs parallel to Sunshine Canyon Dr. This trail led to me the Centennial Trailhead parking lot. Overall awesome experience for a trail runner who wants to mix it up with a hike and run.

hiking
11 days ago

this incline is no joke! my poor pups paws were shredded after hiking these rocks. I ended up having to carry her 2 miles to the end. It was scenic but not as great as everyone makes it out to be.

hiking
12 days ago

Very challenging, beautiful hike! Once you’re at the top there’s an option to hike down towards Sanitas Valley Trail via East Ridge Trail. There was a point along East Ridge Trail that we felt did not have ample signage as we ended up going down the mountain off the trail. Other than that this trail was awesome!

hiking
13 days ago

Steepness was a bit more than expected. Id suggest going up the east ridge as it seems like it would be a bit treacherous to go down. Note that there are large steps that may make it hard for people who have any soreness in their knees. Great views at top!

hiking
14 days ago

A lot harder than expected. I would rate this as moderate to hard. I hiked this on a sunny day, which probably made it a bit more difficult. Regardless, I would do this again but counterclockwise next time.

16 days ago

Harder than expected but beautiful throughout the entire hike. Wore tevas and wished I had my hiking boots

18 days ago

This trail was more challenging than I expected. Very glad it was an overcast day. The cloud cover kept us cool. I highly suggest taking the trail clockwise. The apoach to the summit is longer a somewhat easier that way. The decent, continuing the clockwise loop, was difficult in my opinion, and I got the impression that other hikers turn around rather than taking the steep route to the valley. I'm glad we did, however, because the valley is gorgeous and covered in wildflowers.

hiking
19 days ago

Great trail! Just be sure to get there early. Very crowded after 10 AM.

20 days ago

We really enjoyed this hike. I'd do it again. We sort of did it in reverse (instead of starting on Mount Sanitas trail we started on the other trail. I forget the name but it's the one on the right. It'll make sense when you get there). Anyway, this seemed much more gradual at first. But once we started the summit it was still a good workout. I don't know if it qualifies as "scrambling" but It gets pretty rocky at some points and it's fun to climb on all fours. I'm an animal though so YMMV. Anyone in reasonable shape could do this hike but don't kid yourself. I saw those dudes who don't wear t-shirts so they can show off their 6 pack huffing and puffing on the ascent. It's really doable though!

22 days ago

After applying a liberal amount of sunscreen I raced toward the trailhead with high hopes and wasn't disappointed. Ascending this natural wonder was a no joke although there was guy carrying his 4 month old baby while navigating this hike. After reaching the peak and celebrating with my gf it was time to crawl down this beautiful beast. Upon decent, I thought many times how the hell do people run down this thing and I can barely walk it, but nevertheless we made it down and finished off with an easy half mile or so walk back down to the car. Great views and kinda crowded

hiking
22 days ago

This is our go to hike. Easy to get to, challenging but you can be done in an hour and a half. Great views of boulder at the top!

hiking
23 days ago

Great views from this trail. Definitely more difficult for a “moderate” trail, especially near the top. There were rocky areas that were kind of tricky to navigate.

24 days ago

Great trail! We went the easier way up and took the more challenging, rocky way down! Definitely more of an adventure for us Wisconsin folks, but worth every second! Beautiful views! :)

24 days ago

Each year when we’re visiting Boulder we make sure that this is on our list of must do hikes and it never disappoints. We always start on the steep portion and finish on the wide path. We usually hike this at dusk. Great views of Boulder and on the return loop looking south you have wonderful views.

hiking
27 days ago

Perfect morning hike - challenging but doable!

hiking
27 days ago

Great cardio workout... Lots of dogs that were off leash. Beautiful hike and great views!!!

27 days ago

Lots of rocks going up and hard to find some footing, but well worth the slight challenge. Coming back down the valley side was relaxing and had beautiful views.

30 days ago

Very nice trail. Great views of the area. Started early when cool so it went great! Got a little steep for at the top for a flatlander.
Would recommend for everyone except young kids. Great time!

hiking
1 month ago

Outstanding hike! Probably one of my top 5.

We took the steeper side up, and it took a little more than an hour to get to the top. It was worth every step. Lots of beautiful views throughout the trail.

We got a late start around ten; it wasn’t crowded, but it was hot. There are some shady places.

Wouldn’t recommend any kids on this trail. The terrain gets pretty rocky.

hiking
1 month ago

Good short morning hike, with some rocky areas

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike; great views! It is somewhat busy, though. Pack lots of water and expect some rock scrambling.

1 month ago

Awesome trail! We started on the East side of the mountain and went up Dakota Ridge trail. It was a nice hike but very hot outside starting at around 9 am. I would suggest getting there earlier and bring water.

hiking
1 month ago

We started this hike just before 7pm and made it to the top in exactly 1 hour. The trail is very well marked so we had no trouble finding our way. We did The Valley side up (also well marked at the trailhead) and the other side down (40 minutes to descend). The Valley side seems a bit longer since it starts very gradual and leads to a steep incline for the last 3/4 mile or so of the hike whereas the other side is more of a direct route. The views are well worth it, especially for a trail so close to town. Although we started late there was a decent number of people on the trail. Many trail runners too. I assume we hit it at a time when the traffic was modest though. I’ll be repeating the hike in the opposite direction just to give it another go. Very enjoyable and a workout!

1 month ago

Beautiful! Most difficult part was the way down-a bit hard to find footing.

hiking
1 month ago

A lot steeper than expected but worth it. A good workout and a good hike for those starting off like myself. Hard enough for a challenge but not too long or strenuous to where it was impossible. Tired at the end but glad I went. Came up the valley side to start, had to get on my hands as I got closer to the top. Gets very crowded as the day goes on, coming down there were a lot more people to pass than going up.

hiking
1 month ago

Good hike. Went up mount Sanitas and came back down via the Valley. Very easy to follow. Started at 7am on a Sunday and saw very few people. Great for the dog, she had a blast. Going up mount sanitas is a decent climb. Coming back down the valley is a bit steep at first, had to use hands a few times. After the first bit, it’s just a long flat walk for most of the loop back. Took about 2hr total including 15min stop at the top.

1 month ago

Tougher than I thought. But view is great at top!

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