Shadow Canyon Trail to South Boulder Peak

HARD 83 reviews
#12 of 23 trails in

Shadow Canyon Trail to South Boulder Peak is a 8.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Boulder, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

8.1 miles
2939 feet

dog friendly



nature trips

trail running



wild flowers


1 month ago

Lots of stairstepping and strenuous, and a great view from the peak

3 months ago

Challenging like the rating says, the ascent was straight up stair stepping until the switch backs. Trail was a bit hard to follow in spots but markers seemed to magically appear when you needed them most. Also, it had been raining all day so the beaten path wasn't as obvious.

6 months ago

Easy going at the beginning, with a very difficult ascent and descent towards the top. Views were totally worth it. Bring lots of water if you're a slow hiker like me, we ran out at the summit! Started around 9 AM and finished around 5, with a total of about 11 miles.

7 months ago

Did Shadow Creek to South Boulder to Bear Peak to Fern Canyon to Shanahan to Mesa to Bluestream to Mesa parking lot. Steep steep steep coming down from Bear Peak! I found my poles very useful for that segment, and didn't really need them after.

Very crowded, even at 7am! A lot of people with off leash dogs that just darted out ahead and ran underfoot. Owners didn't really care.

I probably wouldn't do this one again, mostly due to how overly crowded it was. But there's a great view, so it's worth at least one visit.

9 months ago

Hiked this on April 8th. Really enjoyed this hike and found it challenging for the first hike of the year. I didn't end up hiking Bear as well; me t time. We took the left fork at beginning of trail and experience d less traffic.

9 months ago

I forgot to turn on the recorder for my return trip, but it took me about an hour and half to get back. It was an amazing hike with killer views. Don't forget to wear layers as the saddle and the summit were super windy and cold!

9 months ago

Enjoyed this hike and yes it is difficult due to rocky technical terrain and steep ascent and descents. Beautiful vistas!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Beautiful hike. more difficult than I anticipated with a lot of scrambling over rocks. loved it and definitely will do it again.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

PROS: Beautiful trail. Steep incline. Awesome views from the top.

CONS: Limited parking.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Good work out and solid views at the end. The ascent once you're in the canyon is very challenging for inexperienced hikers.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

When u actually get up to canyon if your there during the "magic hour" beauty. Plus 2 abandoned cabins along the way

Friday, July 08, 2016

It was brutal. We climbed to Bear Peak. Worth the view!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Gorgeous hike, tons of wildflowers, streams and of course, the Flatirons to keep you going. Only qualm of course is the search for parking.

Monday, May 30, 2016

We did this hike from Shanahan trailhead. It was a total thigh burner. We took Big Blue stem trail back to the car and it was very plesant. I probably wouldn't do this hike unless you are looking for a good workout. Good views from the top of both peaks though!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Awesome trail! Actually ran into a black bear on the way back but was about 400 yds away.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Wow what a hike. I started with the Shadow Canyon Trail and at the halfway point decided to head all the way up to South Boulder Peak. The SCT portion was pretty tame but was the elevation gain kicked in it became a good workout. There are a good amount of rocks in the SCT (past the halfway point) until the switchbacks. From where the trail splits between SBP and Bear Peak all te way to the top of SBP there is still a fair amount of icy snow (enough that I wish I had my microspikes). You be able to see a whole lot because of the tree cover until the top but let me say it is soooo worth it. All of the Front Range mountains are in view. We think we spotted Longs Peak, Grays & Torreys, Evans & Bierstadt, and Pikes Peak in the distance. So worth the wait and I cant wait to go back and go after Bear Peak. Enjoy!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Closer to 9.8 miles than 7 miles from South Mesa Trailhead. Used mapmyhike to track my miles, I'm guessing that that 7 miles on the map isn't accounting for the minute and many switchbacks in shadow canyon. Took me about 4 and a half hours.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Amazing views when you get to S. Boulder Peak!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

This was a great hike that's close to town. There are a lot of branches off the trail at the beginning, but if you start off on Mesa trail you can just stay on it all the way to Shadow Canyon trail, which is well marked. There's a lot of scrambling after you get on Shadow Canyon trail, so it was definitely a challenging hike. The only reason I'm giving this hike a 4 rather than a 5 is because we didn't make it all the way to the top due to weather, so we didn't see the last stretch. 5 hours is a realistic estimate for the full out and back if you're in pretty good shape.

Conditions were pretty muddy as of 5/23/15.

GPS coordinates to the trailhead are: N39 56.326 W105 15.493
Parking fee is $5/car

trail running
Sunday, May 03, 2015

Tough ascent, power hiking and scrambling...non runnable for my slow old self.

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