Mount Sanitas and Sanitas Valley Loop Trail

HARD 1,480 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 difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and horses and is best used from April 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

hiking

horseback riding

trail running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no shade

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 the Lions Lair section of the trail.

hiking
1 day ago

Great workout and doesn’t take too long

hiking
7 days ago

This is a great hike if you are looking for a short and moderate to rigorous workout with great views. Ascending Mount Sanitas took me about 1 hour with several short water breaks. It is moderately steep and rocky. There is no shade 85% of the way up. Pretty views en route and at the summit. Descending through East Ridge was rough. I may have taken a wrong turn and ended up off the actual trail because it was loose rock almost the entire way down, pretty dangerous, and I ended up entering the valley trail further down.

hiking
8 days ago

this is a incredibly steep incline if you go via the mount sanitas trail route and not the valley. the valley offers no shade. the trail is steep and very rocky with a heck of a lot of stairs. there is no flat on this trail it is all up. parts of the trail were rock scrambling. dogs are welcome on leash and it's supposed to be a green tag trail. however every dog except mine were off leash and not all of them were voice recall trained. when I called out to people that my dog was not nice several had to run to grab their dogs. If you have a dog who has some leash aggression issues I would not take on this trail. many other trails in area with less dogs. this one has a lot and it was a Friday morning at 10 when we started!

great views at the top and was a great workout but I was in the mood for a moderate trail. I would have called this one difficult and I would have probably enjoyed it more had I been in the mood for a difficult trail that day

there is some shade offered the way of the mount sanitas trail and some nice stopping points to take pictures or chill.

10 days ago

this was a great hike and it is steep and rocky but well worth it when you get to the top and see the beautiful view.

11 days ago

Tough, short, rocky hike with beautiful views of the city and the valley. Watch your footing as the path is rocky with a lot of loose gravel. Pretty busy and I went at 10:30 am on a weekday. When you're done, splash your feet in the cool stream near the entrance.

13 days ago

This is one great hike but I have to admit I don’t know i think it should be rated hard and we hike all the time... Extreme stairstepper rigorous climb up Mount Salinas.... We started pretty late in the day so I definitely recommend not doing that but I give this trail five stars and would definitely repeat it again... but start earlier lol it ended up being 92° that day

hiking
14 days ago

Difficult hike as it’s very rocky and uphill quite a bit both ways. Great views though! Also saw a bear cub around 4:30pm, never saw momma bear but the cub was close enough to get us to book it.

16 days ago

So much bang for your buck on this one-- a moderate trail with the same (maybe better) payoff as any of the "hard" trails in Boulder. Absolutely beautiful. Strong preference for the clockwise direction (Sanitas valley up, mount Sanitas down). This is a challenging trail, but anyone who says it should be rated "hard" has never done Green Mountain Loop or any of the other truly hard trails in the Boulder area. Clockwise direction you will climb a lot of steps and do some rock scrambling, mostly steep rock scrambling and then pretty flat on the way back. I'm not in particularly good shape and I got it done in about 2 hours.

16 days ago

Nice hike, a great workout and pretty views of Boulder.

17 days ago

Great hike! Beautiful views. Challenging but doable.

hiking
19 days ago

Challenging but doable for two novice hikers. Great views and lots of friendly people

20 days ago

Great work out, lots of pretty views. Steep on the way down definitely take your time.

hiking
21 days ago

Went on Saturday morning, as expected, parking fills up fast. Agree with the clockwise recommendation, beautiful views and some sections I would rate hard. Lots of stairs and rocks on the way up, and the top section going down into the valley is very steep. Take it easy and enjoy the view and your fellow hikers!

hiking
22 days ago

This was a VERY difficult trail. Not moderate. If you are not an active person, this will be borderline impossible. Steep going up and down.

hiking
22 days ago

Moderate overall, but certainly some areas I would rate as hard- and the valley trail being easy. Decent amount of traffic too.

25 days ago

Go clockwise along the loop if you’d prefer a short but steep ascent and a longer, more gradual descent. I made the mistake of going counterclockwise and my knees payed for it on the way down! Moderate hike with impressive views. Would recommend.

hiking
1 month ago

A friend and I made an impromptu hike here to close out our trip to CO. Absolutely beautiful and a solid workout, though probably not the best idea to go in unprepared (i.e. bring a snack and enough water!) We went up the mountain, which was fine but definitely required some breaks to catch a breather, them decendes into the valley. The way down from the peak was tricky having to find your footwork through the steep rocks, but once you're in the valley it is a total treat!

hiking
1 month ago

Good hike and close to Boulder. Start early - you can either do out and back (starting clockwise) or loop (starting counterclockwise). First .5 mile of counterclockwise is flat, wide, gravel. The rest of it is a lot of switchbacks and exposed, so wear sunscreen and start early.

I usually don't have to stop and I took a few breaks this time. Great workout and doesn't take too long. Start early!

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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.

1 month ago

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

1 month 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
1 month ago

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

1 month 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!

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