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.

Distance: 4.0 miles Elevation Gain: 1,492 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

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.

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 hour ago

Holy leg workout. It’s pretty much uphill the entire way. It’s also pretty technical (lots of rocks, steps, and scrambles). That said, the views at the top make it totally worth it AND you’re rewarded with downhill the entire way back :)

hiking
3 hours ago

A great leg workout, but too busy for my liking. Got there at 7:30A on a Saturday and snagged the last parking spot. Summit is small so it gets crowded quickly. I recommend going early for parking and to have the summit all to yourself.

hiking
rocky
7 hours ago

Awesome trail but pretty difficult. I’m in decent shape and it was a very good workout. Steep and plenty of switchbacks but the views are amazing.

hiking
12 hours ago

Great Monday morning workout! The last mile will test ya! I would definitely recommend going off peak hours.

hiking
13 hours ago

Lots of up on the way there but it is SO worth the view!

running
14 hours ago

Jesus my legs

hiking
2 days ago

Went early morning got there near 5 when sun was starting to rise and only took 30-45 minutes to get to the top. Definitely a heavily trafficked hike and would recommend going around this time to find a good spot to sit and chill out at the top without there being tons of people. Trail and parking lot was packed when we got back down at 6. Shaded trail.

hiking
2 days ago

Awesome hike! It’s dry.

hiking
rocky
2 days ago

Intense uphill hike with views at the end that make the journey well worth it. I started at 7:30 am and it was already busy. Most of the uphill is rock stairs and a couple minor scramble areas. Overall good workout and great views of the flatirons.

hiking
rocky
2 days ago

Dog friendly trail with great views throughout the hike. I would recommend starting this trail by 7 am at the very latest if you want to avoid herds of people. We started a little before 7 and only encountered about 4 people at the top, but on the way down there were tons of people. Overall, I wouldn’t rate this hike as hard. It’s a fun and quick hike. Took us just under 2 hours with a bit of a break at the top.

hiking
rocky
3 days ago

Sunrise hike on 5/28. On trail by 4:30. 58 minutes to the top. Bluebell is a mild, consistent ascent. Once you get to royal arch trailhead, the intensity kicks up a notch and trail is much more uneven with rocks. Made it by sunrise. Saw maybe a dozen people on the way down. Parking lot was filling by 7 when we left. Convenient location. The immediate ascent to anything interesting and over-crowded nature of the park keeps it from a 5, in my opinion.

hiking
rocky
4 days ago

Did this hike on 5/21/20 - I agree with the difficulty rating on this trail. A lot of rocky uphill so it will definitely get your heart rate up. Downfalls to this trail… Tons of people, garbage on the trail, once you make it up to the arch there are so many people that it’s hard to enjoy. There were also several people that passed the turn off of Sentinel Trail which will take you to the Royal Arch, so watch out for that one. Overall I would give this hike three stars and probably would not do it again considering there are so many beautiful hikes right around that same area.

hiking
rocky
4 days ago

Did this hike about 1 week ago, and it was amazing! I didn’t feel it was crowded at all!

hiking
rocky
scramble
4 days ago

Fantastic views and incredible rock features. The arch is stunning and absolutely worth a visit if you’re in the Chautauqua area! Rocky scrambles are perhaps the best part of this trail- so you’ll definitely need your hands free. The vast majority of people weren’t wearing masks and making little effort to social distance. The trail can be crowded in the later hours after 3pm, so earlier may be better if you’re hoping to avoid tons of people.

hiking
rocky
4 days ago

Literally leaves you out of breath but the arch views at the top are worth it! Beautiful weather today!

hiking
6 days ago

Beautiful hike the whole way. Saw a momma bear and cub from a safe distance which was a highlight. The trail is easy to follow and feels like walking a mountain staircase. View from the top is well worth every step.

hiking
6 days ago

Great trail but a little busier than I’d normally like. Saw a bear and her cub as well as a huge snake. It’s rated as hard but I’d say it’s more of a “difficult” or “moderate” hike. Lots of steps up but elevation doesn’t get too high. Lots of kids and older folks did very well.

hiking
6 days ago

This was my first time hiking to Royal Arch. Beautiful day, not crowded until I was about 2/3 of the way down. I'd say a little over half had masks, but everyone respected social distancing. Be careful near Sentinel Pass. I wasn't the only person who went a little off-trail on the way back.

hiking
6 days ago

Lots of people and had to briefly detour due to a mama bear and her cub walking down the trail!

hiking
rocky
6 days ago

Busy even on a late Tuesday morning. Get there early! Also you take bluebell trail, not Chautauqua trail per the trail description.

hiking
scramble
6 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

I love this hike! It’s a bit challenging but I love me a challenge and a good ‘Ol workout. Beautiful views!! It’s like climbing stairs to the top of the mountains! I wouldn’t bring kids to this hike.

rocky
scramble
9 days ago

Moderately difficult hike since I didn't do any major hike since 2017. But worth the effort. Try to reach the parking lot early to get the spot and enjoy the trail with less crowd.

hiking
rocky
scramble
9 days ago

The arch and view of the valley was worth the steep climb. Lots of stairs and clambering over rocks. We went about 9 am the Sat morning of Memorial Weekend and it was SO crowded. Majority of people had masks though but still was slightly hard to social distance. I’d suggest go very early in the morning. Lots of dogs.

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