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Shadow Canyon Trail to South Boulder Peak

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Boulder Open Space

Shadow Canyon Trail to South Boulder Peak is a 7.8 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, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 7.8 mi Elevation gain 2,995 ft Route type Loop

Dog friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Running

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Fee

Description
Waypoints (0)

Note: There is a $5 parking fee between (and including) Memorial (May) and Labor Day (September) Weekends, only if your car is not registered in Boulder County, and cash only.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (208)
Photos (1178)
Recordings (148)
Completed (773)
Hiromy Pfosi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 9, 2020
HikingGreat!No shadeRocky

Good trail albeit a bit hot due to lack of shade the 1st 2 miles (TH to the climb part) and last part from saddle up to S Boulder Peak. Nice trail with some rocky sections through Shadow Canyon, which is aptly named as most of it is thankfully in the shade. Creek at TH and maybe 3mi up, maybe 2 other water spots for my pups, so bring plenty of water, they were very thirsty and I had 70oz but had to borrow some from a friend on our way down. Tons of wild raspberries along trail to top of the Peak. Big rocks at very top of SB Peak but even my little pup did ok. Dogs can be off leash if they have proper tags so my pups were able to make the hike easier than if they were attached to me. We didn't get to TH parking til past 8:15a and lucked out getting a spot because someone was leaving. Didn't have to pay since I'm registered in Boulder County. My Garmin recorded 9.07mi and a little under 5hrs total time. We took several water breaks on the way and spent maybe 15min at top. Would do this trail again but definitely when it's cooler and would start earlier. The final 2 miles without shade and in 97F heat made it a hot ending.

Ricky Waggoner, Jr.
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HikingRockyScramble
Josh Jacobs
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HikingGreat!

Thousands of ripe wild raspberries in the burned area near the top! And the chipmunks at the summit are extremely friendly and curious. The $5 parking fee only applies if your car is not registered in Boulder County, and it’s cash only. As others have said, it gets extremely steep near the top! Make sure you wear well fitting grippy shoes (which I didn’t, lol)! Bring lunch and a LOT of water (or a filter, there is a stream 3/4 of the way up)- 32oz was not enough for me. I rested at the summit for maybe 30 min, and this ended up being a 6.5 hour round trip.

Matt Folsom
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HikingFeeGreat!No shadeRocky

Awesome hike! I saw a Mother bear with two cubs near the mesa trail intersection on Tuesday (7/4). Be careful out there.

Katie Bosler
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Hiking

This hike was awesome.. and CHALLENGING! Pretty simple and gradual incline until you hit the shadow canyon part which was so steep and rocky but had a lot of fun using my new hiking poles! Not sure if I could have survived this hike without them honestly. I took my boyfriend and he told me if I ever brought anyone who doesn't have hiking experience on this trail that they would never talk to me again. He survived (and made it to the top of south boulder peak) but wasnt very happy with me . So I definitely wouldn't recommend this one for beginner hikers. We made it up to the summit in about 2 1/2 hours, sat at the top for about 30 min and back down in 1 1/2 hours (we were basically running back down it). Clocked the summit at 4.8 miles and 9 miles total once we got to the bottom. Views at the top are so worth it, absolutely beautiful!

View Katie's Recording
Cosmo Dudley
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Did this trail today, 7/29. Got to the trail head about 7:15am and there were still parking spots. Ran into a rattlesnake, so be careful! We almost didn't see it and were about to walk by pretty close to it. We realized what it was, jumped back and it quickly curled up like it was ready to strike. It was sunbathing just on the edge of the trail.

Janie Rausch
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HikingBugsRocky

Did this a few weeks ago, pleasant hike, well marked trail, started at about 530 and didn’t see anyone until 3/4 of the way up. Interesting wide-open views with the burn area. Lots of flies at the top. Had to eat my second breakfast on my way down due to the bugs. Bring your trekking poles to help over some of the rocks and on the way down.

David Butler
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HikingRocky
Lydia MacKenzie
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Hiking

Left my black fitbit watch by the river if anyone found it I’d be happy to pay you!! My number is +1 (603) 7033225. Lydia

Sarah Wright
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HikingRocky
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Kelly Parsons
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Hiking

Great hike through some amazing terrain. Definitely second those who mention getting there early for parking. we arrived at 7:30am Sunday morning and couldn't get a spot so we had to try again today, but well worth it. We added on Bear peak which is easy enough to do from the saddle between the peaks and only adds about 0.6 miles.

View Kelly's Recording
Seth Hinckley
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Hiking

Probably my favorite hike in Boulder! Wildflowers, views, creek water for my dog, and the summit is easier to summit than Bear Peak.

Haley Allen
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Hiking

Great workout! Bring a mask with you & know it may take you 10-15 minutes to park if you get there at 8am and after. It’s a steady incline for about 2+ miles, then a much steeper mile of hiking up rocks. Once you hit the saddle (you’re almost there once you see the burned out trees from the fire), you can go left to South Boulder, right to Bear peak or do a combo. There are a LOT of flies at the tops of both on hot days. Views are amazing though!

View Haley's Recording
Logan Riley
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RunningBugsRocky

Simply gorgeous run

View Logan's Recording
Jason F.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 24, 2020
Hiking

Perfect conditions this morning. Went early enough that I had the canyon mostly to myself, which was nice since it’s an absolute doozy. Tons of people were already hanging out around the saddle that had come via an alternate Bear Peak route, so just stuck to South Boulder Peak for the day. Probably my favorite hike in Boulder

Eric Butler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 9, 2020
Hiking

Did the trail from the South Boulder Creek Trailhead, which adds some distance. No snow or ice at this point. Crowded, but worth it!

Rebecca Cook
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HikingMuddy
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Justin Goode
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HikingMuddy

Took us a wee bit but good hike and summit!

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Robert Brehm
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HikingIcy
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Logynn Northrhip
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HikingIcySnow

I love this route up to South Boulder Peak!! There is something really special about Shadow Canyon. The wind took a much needed vacation so the conditions at the top were perfect!! Got to the trailhead parking lot by 8:30 and finished around 3:15. I showed an elevation gain of 3100’ and a total of 9.12 miles through my iwatch.

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Brandee Rockett
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Currently icy in a few patches but mostly dry conditions. However, after the saddle, definitely need microspikes for the final ascension.

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