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Royal Arch Trail is a 4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Boulder, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and snowshoeing and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 4.0 mi Elevation gain 1,492 ft Route type Out & Back

Dog friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Snowshoeing

Running

Forest

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Scramble

Description
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Facilities
Contact
Getting There

Start on Chautauqua Trail by the ranger station. After crossing a grassy meadow, you enter a pine forest. Start paying attention to signs for Royal Arch as a number of other trails branch off. You know you're going the right way when you get to the flagstone staircase. This trail offers many rewards! The destination, Royal Arch, is a local favorite. Many, many stairs to the top for this geological wonder! Great views of the jagged, rugged, Flat Irons & the open valley of Boulder, CO. Highlights include wild flowers, rock formations, steep inclines, birds of prey, and an initial well-packed baked earth entry trail.

Parking is shared by a number of hiking trails, a picnic area, a concert hall, and a restaurant. You can park in the neighborhood or take the HOP bus to 9th and College. Head uphill 4 block to the park entrance. The trail starts by the ranger station on the west side of the park.

Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks Division 1777 Broadway Boulder, Colorado 80302 303.441.3388

Directions from Highway 36: Chautauqua Trail Access: Take the Baseline Road exit and travel west toward the mountains. Follow Baseline Road nearly 1.5 miles to the entrance for Chautauqua Park. Turn left into the park. Parking is free at this trailhead.

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Reviews (4493)
Photos (2519)
Recordings (2904)
Completed (11038)
Rita Clare
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarThu Jul 09 2020
HikingOff trailRockyScramble

Ended up losing like 15 minutes because the trail split wasn't clearly marked from the end. A short, steep hike, but probably not something I'd rank as Hard. Beautiful view from the top, but lots of people and many who don't pay attention to where they're going.

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Sharon Atri
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 08 2020
RockyScramble

Beautiful hike. Saw a black bear right in front of the trail. Spectacular views. Rocky, uphill and strenuous climb, but it was worth it!!!

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Clare Hall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 08 2020
Hiking

Good, hard trail with a great view at royal arch. Trail is well taken care of and heavily travelled!

Elisabeth Seyferth
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 08 2020
Hiking

Crowded but pretty

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josh bleie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarWed Jul 08 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

Very rocky

Casimir Cuffy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarWed Jul 08 2020
HikingRocky

I enjoyed the trail. It was my first time hiking it and it definitely was not what I was expecting. There is a lot of rock climbing involved and can be a bit dangerous at some parts. Definitely wear the right shoes.

Katie Cullifer
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarWed Jul 08 2020
HikingRocky

Only reason im giving it a 1 star is because it was HARD! Lol, dont do this as a first hike or if you aren't use to the elevation. Nice views but man it was like rock climbing more than a trail.

Maddy Barney
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jul 07 2020
Hiking

Hot, breeze can be alleviating recommend going earlier or later in the day for sure to avoid the heat. Views are amazing, parking is free during the weekdays, slight up-and-down at the top to get across to the arch but overall mostly uphill. Down hill is a breeze, feels like 20 mins on the way down, 2.5 hours total. Overall a great hike, definitely recommend!

View Maddy's Recording
Nate Bryant
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 06 2020
Hiking
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Bradley Robins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jul 05 2020
Hiking

We took the mesa loop from ncar to royal arch (~6mi total, very big and easy paved parking lot with port o potties at ncar). It got quite a bit more crowded when we turned onto the Royal Arch trail, but it had been getting significantly more crowded and hotter the entire 3 hours we were there (I assume Saturday, July 4 is a busy day, though). Lots of shade, but it's steep and was relatively humid for Colorado, so everyone was breathing and sweating hard even though it was a younger crowd. The Royal Arch portion was short, only about a mile, but still definitely a workout. I'm not a trail runner, but it seemed too steep to get down quickly and we didn't see any runners. Most people were wearing masks and doing their best to keep their distance, but it's steep, narrow, and crowded so it wasn't ideal for someone strictly socially distancing.

Ed Lauge
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 04 2020
HikingRockyScramble

A bit technical towards the last .8 miles (a few rock scrambles). Amazing hike. Amazing view. Worth the time and effort! Also, go early to avoid the heat of summer and the millennials who play their music from Bluetooth speakers. Would not be a gripe if the music was good.

View Ed's Recording
Ken Kanazu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 04 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

One of favorite trail. Started hike around 8am, was already busy, saw more than few hikers coming down. Most many wearing facial coverings and social distancing is kept as much as possible. Saw many friendly dogs (well mannered), a bit crowded at the top but fantastic view as always.

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Brittney Alden
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 04 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Great trail, starting at about 5:20 on 4th of July and saw no traffic on the way up. Lot was full when I got back to my car. Hard for beginner / intermediate hikers for sure, but worth the views at the top!

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Lauren Peterson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 04 2020
HikingRocky

I love this trail! It was my third time hiking it but this time was more eventful. Started this hike around 5:30 pm. Long story short there was a mama bear and her cub on the trail. I was with a small group so we all had to make noises to scare the bear. Instead it made the mama bear become more aggressive so we had to move back up the trail to get away. After awhile the bear and her cub moved slightly off the trail so we were able to sneak by quietly. Once we got down and off the trail we heard more people shouting from the other trail (possibly the flatiron trail) because there was another bear. The shouting from the other people was around 8 pm. I would recommend going earlier in the day to avoid the bears. It was nice though to go in the evening because it was less people and cooler out, so up to you.

Anne Kennedy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 04 2020
HikingRocky

We were there 7/4. Definitely rockier than expected. Hot day but lots of shade on this trail, pretty bug free. While Rangers asked folks to wear masks, in reality everyone had them on in the beginning. By the last half of the trail easily over 50% were not wearing, whether going up or down. Took the Bluebell route down the last leg before parking lot. It was nice with more wildflowers here and there.

Melissa Biniasz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 03 2020
HikingRocky

Great views, but this is a steady incline. I’m not the most avid hiker, so it was hard for me! Very rocky! I made it though and it was great.

Bhavana Adarsha
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jul 03 2020
Hiking

Quite hard. Best to start this trail early in the morning.

Gowtham S.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 03 2020
Hiking

great hike and one of the best views of boulder from the top. Not that tough as you expect. But it's more slippery with more gravel.

Andrew Gehring
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 03 2020
Hiking

Well worth the effort to get to the arch. When you're getting close, you'll reach a crossroads: continuing up will give you a view of the arch from a good distance; going down (and then up again a tenth of a mile or so later) is the way to the arch itself.

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Jessie Robinson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jul 03 2020
Hiking

It is a beautiful hike, and the view is definitely worth it. It is a very busy trail.

Maddi Miller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Jul 02 2020
HikingRocky

Was really challenging but the view at the top is worth it!!

Adam Vang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 01 2020
HikingRocky
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Sid Kurwa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 01 2020
HikingScramble
View Sid's Recording
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