South Boulder Peak, Bear Peak and Nebel Horn Loop

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Boulder Open Space

South Boulder Peak, Bear Peak and Nebel Horn Loop is a 8.8 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Boulder, Colorado that offers the chance to see wildlife. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking and trail running. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length8.8 miElevation gain3,431 ftRoute typeLoop
Dogs on leashHikingRunningForestViewsWildlifeRockyScramble
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Reviews (100)
Photos (3,724)
Activities (98)
Completed (431)
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Nicho F
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Hiking

nice

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Eric Kean
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Hiking
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Lia Hardy
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Hiking
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jill shuman
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HikingIcyMuddyScrambleSnow

The trail itself was great. Amazing views. And a great workout. However, tons of runners who have NO courtesy and do not yield right of way to those going up hill. And no one has their dog on a leash. Loved the trail. Disappointed in the people.

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Alex Herbert
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Hiking

Phenomenal day on Bear and south boulder. Trail is entirely snow covered after you get out of the flatter parts. Slippery even with spikes. Traction recommended

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Sammy Chung
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Hiking
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Tommy Walzer
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HikingRockyScramble

Hiked on 2/10 and went counterclockwise as several reviews suggested doing it that way. Very underrated hike in terms of beauty. Lots of unique rock formations and trees. It’s definitely on the difficult side but I’ve done harder. Be sure to watch your step on the way down as it’s easy to slip and fall. Didn’t hit South Boulder Peak, but the views from Bear Peak were amazing, even with it being a hazy day.

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Caleb Hackett
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Hiking
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Daniel Stephens
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Hiking
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Edward Ramp
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Hiking
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Francis Koniuszy
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Hiking
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antonio houck
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Hiking
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Brittany V.
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Hiking

A great workout! If you’re an experienced hiker, this route is not difficult to navigate. Not much ice other than on Boulder peak. I was glad to use spikes on the way down.

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Rosaura Pulido
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Hiking
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Katie Katz
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HikingGreat!Scramble

This was a good mix of some brutal incline to start and then flat miles in the second half. My Fitbit tracked me with an extra mile, 9.8. I didn’t have trouble staying on the trail but could see where there were issues for others. I was hiking solo on a Monday morning and I didn’t see anyone for about 45 mins on Shadow Canyon so I would say this is a great route if you are looking for a quite route. Both peaks were pretty windy so I didn’t stay at either too long. I would say come prepared in proper layers, I started in a jacket, beanie and gloves and one point down to my base layer, then all of that back on again.

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Sara Spanich
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Hiking
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Eleni Jacobson
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HikingGreat!

I was thrilled with the challenging terrain, great workout for the legs. You will be stepping up boulders knee-height and higher, and the peaks require some easy scrambling/bouldering. The forest surroundings on the way up are very peaceful, and the payoff up top is 360 sky, wind, and mountain ridges off in the distance. You will see these adorable little rodents who might come up to you for food when you rest. There is a segment where the trail seems to shoot to the left, but then vanishes into a jumble of boulders. The correct way looks like a set of stone “steps” up ahead of you. Take the trail spur to the left and scramble around on the rocks - great fun - but remember to return to the trail, or else you will be bushwhacking your way back like I did. I chose this as my single hike I had time for in Boulder, and really think I picked well!! Thank you, OSM!

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Gabby C
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HikingRockyScramble

Loved this trail! Great views throughout, but especially at the summits! We accidentally went off trail for a bit somewhere during the Fern Canyon section of the route, which added to our completion time. Not quite sure how/where we went wrong, because when we found our way back we somehow popped out farther along the trail than we were when we got off track originally. My only advice is that if you feel like you might be off trail, you are! The trail is pretty obvious the whole way, and we should have realized we were off trail and turned back sooner in hindsight. Regardless, it was a great adventure. Brought nearly 3 liters of water (96 ounces) and went through almost all of it by the end. This trail was lightly trafficked on the day we did it (9/3/20), which is what we were hoping for. This is a difficult trail, so I would only recommend if you are at least a semi-experienced hiker and/or in good shape to handle this level of incline. We were exhausted by the end, but so glad we did it!

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Alex Herbert
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Hiking

Great scenery and wonderful views! This is definitely a hard hike, especially with the grade between Nedel and Bear peaks. With this in mind, I would say it’s better to go counter clockwise, going up fern canyon and back shadow canyon as opposed to the other way around. As brutal as going up this way is, it seems safer to me than tumbling down bear peak.

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Oddy Taylor
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HikingRockyScramble

Make sure you’re repaired and do your research.

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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

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Jesse Russell
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HikingRockyScramble

Tough climb but worth it! had 1L of water, wish I brought more. Parking lot was full at 915AM. Parked close to .75 mile down the road. Missed turn on return route and ended up adding a bit more on to total hike. Went right (counter-clockwise).. not sure if it was any easier or harder than left (clockwise) would've been.

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