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Royal Arch Trail

HARD 3676 reviews
#1 of 105 trails in

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

muddy

rocky

scramble

snow

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
1 day ago

Highly recommend. More moderate than difficult, not too long, and with a great payoff at the top. Boots with ankle support aren’t necessary but beneficial. If you want to hike this in winter, bring your snow spikes

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 days ago

Did this hike two years ago and it was well worth it. A bit difficult in certain areas but mostly a moderate hike. We got caught in a Thunderstorm, which was cool and terrifying. Definitely recommend this hike if you're in the Boulder area.

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 days ago

hiking
rocky
3 days ago

Fun trail, goes by faster than you think, the top is a great place to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, also got a great panoramic picture at the top. Recommend it.

hiking
4 days ago

Great trail, challenging in spots, up and up to the arch, beautiful views. not worth going on weekends. super crowded.

hiking
off trail
rocky
4 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

Ugh! I didn't finish due to all of the rock climbing and having a dog with. It makes it difficult. I wish I could have completed it as the views seem amazing.

hiking
scramble
4 days ago

hiking
rocky
4 days ago

hiking
rocky
6 days ago

hiking
rocky
7 days ago

Challenging! Great trail. Easy to get to with parking lot.

hiking
rocky
7 days ago

A great and challenging hike! The trail is very rocky. Incline pretty much the whole way up. Take lots of water. The parking was very busy and I went during the week. The arch and the view are amazing! Definitely a must do!

hiking
rocky
7 days ago

I learned that parking at Chatauqua is $2.50/hour and there's a kiosk and app you can pay with. However, parking is free after Labor Day. I arrived about 9:15am on a Wednesday (yesterday) and there were a handful of parking spots still available. The trails weren't very busy yet and I didn't pass many people until I was hiking back down. Wish I had better traction shoes, considering all the rocks. Strenuous but worth it!

hiking
rocky
scramble
7 days ago

Shade all the way once you are actually on the Royal Arch trail. Took the Flatirons Loop back down, per ranger suggestion. Highly recommend that approach (best panoramic view was from this trail). When you arrive at Sentinel Pass, look for the Royal Arch sign on a tree and continue on. As another hiker said, “Go down and then back up.” I encountered at least 5 spots that would benefit from blazes for guidance. Judging from worn areas in these spots, I’m not the only one who has been confused. When in doubt, look for rock steps. They are almost always there to guide you. There isn’t a lot of room at the end, so if you don’t want a lot of company, time your hike accordingly.

hiking
rocky
scramble
8 days ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
9 days ago

some scramble but well worth it

hiking
9 days ago

Did this trail yesterday around 1:30pm. Definitely a lot of stairs which made the trail such a good workout. There was some snow that was still melting on the rocks but it was definitely manageable to get by without feeling like you may slip. The shade definitely helped with the elevation gain. Would recommend :)

hiking
rocky
9 days ago

this was definitely hard. Icy in some spots. we didn't make it all the way to the Arch... hopefully next time!

hiking
9 days ago

Steep but a great hike. The views are worth it.

hiking
10 days ago

Going to Chautauqua in August around 9 am, you can expect the trail to be crowded. It gets harder as you go, with the switchbacks being the peak hard part, and you have to make a few “hope this works” decisions about what combination of named trails to take. The trail also gets a little confusing at the first overlook. It’s obvious it’s not the end but you have to bend left around it to be back on your way to the Arch... which will make you thankful there’s so many people to follow after all!

hiking
rocky
12 days ago

Classic boulder hike. Steep but relatively short with great views of the arch and Boulder down below (and Denver way in the distance on a clear day).

hiking
rocky
12 days ago

Great, challenging trail. The views are worth it.

hiking
13 days ago

Amazing view from the top from the beautiful arch and the overlook of boulder. I would rate is more moderate then hard. I recommend doing it during the week if you want to avoid crowds. It is a very popular hike.

hiking
13 days ago

I disagree that this is marked as a hard trail. I would say it’s pretty moderate at best. It does have decent elevation gain in a pretty short distance, so maybe that’s where the rating comes in. The views at the top are beautiful though, and I would recommend it if you are looking for a shorter hike that’s a good work out

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