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Royal Arch Trail

HARD 3648 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
scramble
18 hours ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
21 hours ago

some scramble but well worth it

hiking
1 day 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
1 day ago

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

hiking
1 day ago

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

hiking
2 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
3 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
4 days ago

Great, challenging trail. The views are worth it.

hiking
5 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
5 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

hiking
5 days ago

Was a great trail! Was very worth it once you get there!

hiking
rocky
6 days ago

hiking
rocky
6 days ago

hiking
rocky
6 days ago

The view from the top was beautiful! Well worth the time! The incline in elevation in a shorter distance was challenging but as long as you stop to catch your breath and drink some water very easily doable!

hiking
rocky
7 days ago

No aspen viewing for the fall season, but the weather was perfect. We were definitely not expecting it to be so hard, but the view was worth it. Parking is free on weekdays.

hiking
rocky
7 days ago

I hiked this trail for the first time (10/7/19) with my dog, an Australian Shepherd/ Golden Retriever. We definitely enjoyed it. We had the perfect temperature for a hike. There were quite a few people out for a Monday, but I would imagine the weather influenced that. A nice incline on the second half, challenging, but not too much to handle for a dog.

hiking
7 days ago

A well worth hike! We began at 5am. The trail was dark and confusing but I'm glad we made it before sunrise. Approximately 6:40am when we reach the arch and 7:04am when the sun rises. The view was magnificent and worth every second!

hiking
rocky
8 days ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
10 days ago

Great trail, but it’s extremely crowded. Don’t expect peace and quiet out here especially on the weekends.

hiking
rocky
10 days ago

hiking
rocky
11 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

Just a note on all the “dog friendly” reviews. Yes dogs are allowed off leash BUT only if you have obtained the proper tag from the Boulder County Open Space and Parks Dept . To be off leash your dog needs to obey voice or hand commands and should not be allowed to just run wherever they please. If your dog is going to fight with other dogs (as mentioned in one review) do not let them off leash. If your dog is going to run after wildlife - same. If you are unable to get your dog to return to heel so that they do not potentially trip other hikers - leave them at home! I love dogs and even own one. He stays on leash and we yield to all hikers (up or down) when we go out TOGETHER. If dog owners don’t properly control their animals we are all going to lose the privilege of having our dogs on the trail.

hiking
rocky
12 days ago

hiking
muddy
rocky
13 days ago

Great short hike. Awesome views at the top... I think! It was super foggy but from what we could see still beautiful. Would do again in the sunshine. The arch at the top is sick

hiking
scramble
14 days ago

Awesome trail! Pretty tough, but totally worth the views! I wouldn’t recommend it for beginner hikers.

hiking
rocky
15 days ago

Awesome trail! Definitely a leg burner if you’re an out of towner like myself. However, the trail is very well maintained, and like I read from a previous comment it’s rated hard but can be a moderate trail as well if you take your time. Also, keep your eyes open I saw a black bear on the trail on my way back! So cool! Took me about two and a half hours round trip.

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