South Boulder Peak Trail

HARD 171 reviews
#13 of 84 trails in

South Boulder Peak Trail is a 7.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Eldorado Springs, 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 November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
7.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,936 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

up a wooded canyon to top of a mountain peak, strenuous hike. This hike starts in the plains of the foothills along townee trail. It then connects to shadow canyon trail and enters a cool wooded canyon. At the top of the canyon a short trail takes you to the top of South Boulder Peak. This peak does not have many visitors, as compared to the other nearby peaks.

hiking
2 days ago

Starts out moderate but gets very steep about halfway through. It was sunny until you get into Shadow Canyon, but then gets much steeper so was still very challenging and once you get to the top there is more sun. I found it very difficult and stopped many times, but I haven't done much hiking lately. The view at the end was nice, getting to see the mountains in the distance, but I was very worn out coming down. I should probably have waited until I had done more hikes before doing this one. The dog liked it but she was very worn out at the end. It was her first hike and it was probably a little too much for her.

hiking
12 days ago

Definitely challenging climb/hike. Came across baby rattlesnake along the trail. Very title wildlife otherwise. Lots of stairs on Shadow Trail. We took Mesa to add 2 miles to hike and came down Homestead. My favorite hike so far in Colorado.

hiking
14 days ago

What a great hike. Definitely challenges that cardio and strength for a hike in the front range but has to be my favorite hike in Boulder. Beautiful, challenging (perfect for 14er training- sans the altitude), and close to Denver! Oh, and bring exact change-$5 for parking!

trail running
1 month ago

I was born and have lived in Texas all my life, mainly around the Austin area. I have completed a lot of 50 to 100 mile trail runs mainly in Texas and one in Arkansas. I would not consider any of them a race with tons of climbing but they did have 10 to 12K of cumulative climb throughout the entire 100 mile run. Well today I got a little taste of what “real” climbing is like. I would recommend starting as early as possible just to beat the heat. I ran with my running vest with 2L bladder of water which ended up being enough, but I had to be very conservative on drinking just so I would have some water available towards the end. I will definitely bring extra water next time. I downloaded the AllTrails app on my phone which helped me find my way around the trails and gave me a peace of mind that I was not going to get lost. The last mile up you are running on stacked boulders which does not always define that clear view of a dirt trail. . I would catch myself at times looking on the app just to make sure I was still on the correct path. Overall it was awesome. After today I have a lot more appreciation for people who do races at high elevation with big climbs. What a rewarding experience when you travel by foot to reach the top of a mountain.

1 month ago

This is definitely a streneous hike, dont underestimate it like we did! A couple friends and i hiked this 2 weekends ago (early May 2018) and wow did it whoop our arses! Definitley bring lots of water, we ran out before we even reached the peak. This hike takes you on a journey to say the least-- you pass around Devils Thumb which we were planning to scramble up to but decided to conserve our energy (glad we did), shadow canyon takes you up up up through the shaded mountain forest til finally you pop out of the tree line in all these surreal, charred trees and then there's the split where you can go left to South Boulder Peak or right to Bear Peak. Wish i had enough energy to go to both but we were also trying to beat nightfall as we started this hike a little later in the day. Absolutely worth every minute, every drop of sweat. Its such a rewarding, blissful feeling sitting on south boulder peak and just soaking it all in. Would do it again to see the neighboring Bear Peak! My advice: brings LOTS of water, go earlier than noon/1pm if you wanna be down at a good time, and take plenty of breaks! (even on a beautiful weekend we didnt encounter too many folks, especially the higher up we got). enjoy!!!

hiking
1 month ago

Good hike, good views (from summit), very good workout. It seems to get steeper and longer every year. A bit of a breeze on top, so bugs weren’t too bad.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice hike and workout. Shady areas before you get to the burn area on top with good views. Had overcast and "fog" roll in so no views of the range nor mountains but overall good to get out.

1 month ago

Second time on this trail after getting no view the first time. Totally worth redoing. The trail is hard and hot (gets cooler as you get higher). Flies at the top are horrible even with bug spray. We lasted maybe ten minutes because we were getting attacked. That said it was worth the view. Go early in the morning to beat the heat and bring tons of water.

hiking
1 month ago

Went to Bear Peak before coming here. The climb to the peak isn't hard, but the flies at the peak are annoying.

1 month ago

Don't let the wild flowers fool you, this beautiful hike is steep and long. One of my favorites! Great on Thursday with few people.Dont forget it's $5 for parking if your car isn't registered in Boulder County.

hiking
2 months ago

I did this hike on my own, on May 4th, it was a gorgeous day, it was a little hot and the trail is quite strenuous so make sure to bring a lot of water. South Boulder Peak is accessed from the Shadow Canyon Trail, which can be difficult to find. Start on the Mesa Trail, which is just a fireroad, follow it for about a mile, mile and a half until you come to fork (there should be a trail marker) be sure to take the left fork towards Shadow Canyon otherwise you'll ended up just continuing on the Mesa Trail. Once you're in the Canyon, the trail gets steep, rocky and strenuous. Be careful on some of the larger boulders because they can be quite slippery due to wear from people hiking on them. The trail through the canyon is beautiful, it's shaded almost all day so you'll get a reprieve from the sun although it can get a bit chilly if there's wind. Once you get out of the canyon you'll find yourself in the saddle between Bear Peak to your right, and South Boulder to your left, from there it's about 600m to the top. The view from the top is gorgeous! To the east you look out over parts of Boulder and Highway 93; and to the west you look out over a valley onto Nederland and Eldora Ski Area, and onto the Continental Divide and Longs Peak; it's a very cathartic experience, especially being alone there. The view is incredible and totally worth it. Try and go on weekday, if you can it can get busy in the weekends, I had the whole trail and summit to myself it was wonderful.

hiking
2 months ago

We did this hike on May 5, 2018 and had a beautiful day for it. I've got to say it is very hard, but when you reach the top what an accomplishment! I'm a 49 year old woman of average fitness level and if I can do it, you can too. I would suggest paying close attention to the trail map so you don't add extra miles on the hike through the canyon. We took the Mesa Trail and connected to the Shadow Canyon Trail and that added several miles. Believe me, you do not need to add anymore miles to this hike! The steep ascent begins just after you see a little cabin next to a brook. from here on up to the top it is all uphill climbing up big rocks. We took lots of breaks to catch our breath. When you finally reach the saddle you can go right for Bear Peak or left for South Boulder Peak. From here it is a short scramble to the peak where you are rewarded with amazing views. At the very top there are chipmunks and lots and lots of gnats! I suggest you bring a lot of water. I had 2 liters and it was all gone just for the climb up. The climb down is equally challenging and if you have bad knees you will feel it here. All in all though, it was an amazing hike. You will really feel like you did something with your day. Don't be scared off by the hard rating. If I can do it. You can too!

2 months ago

Amazing day hiking to bear peak and South boulder peak!!!!

3 months ago

I'm a little late getting my review up. I went on 3/20/18, and it was great. A few snowy patches leading up to the canyon, but once I got into the canyon there was still snow on everything but it had snowed the day before so I was expecting it, even with the snow the trail was relatively easy to follow. There was only 2 other sets of footprints in front of me so I followed those till one got off trail, thankfully she found her way back and we made it to the top together. I'm glad she was there, from the saddle up was 6in.+ of untouched snow so we plowed through that doing our best to follow the blazes, i only wish i brought my gaiters, i brought micro spikes hoping to use them but my boots had enough tread i didn't need them. Made it like 10ft from the highest rocks on South Boulder Peak and started hearing thunder, got to the top and looked west to see some pretty ominous clouds, took some pictures then high tailed it outta there.
If the other woman wasn't there I wouldn't have made it all the way, she ended up saying the same thing as we were headed down. Proud of us. hah
It was a great hike, I just wish I could've spent more time enjoying the summit.

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike! Once I summited South Boulder Peak, I decided to check out Bear Peak, which was an easy add once your up there if your legs are still feeling good. I started this hike around 8:40am and on my decent the sun/warm weather had already put in work on the snow from yesterday! Extra traction (as of today) is a “nice to have” over a “need to have”.

hiking
5 months ago

Need traction once you hit Shadow Canyon. Awesome hike!!

hiking
5 months ago

Great climb- did it on Saturday, lots of snow- which resulted in less high steps and knee bending.
Most of the snow is after the 2nd shack on shadow canyon.

7 months ago

Challenging hike, awesome hike. First 2 miles are a nice warm up but expect a steep ascent after. Almost harder on the way down! Great views from the top - overall, preferred the summit of Green Mountain. Love the views of Devil’s Thumb.

hiking
7 months ago

Great and tough hike just outside of Boulder starting through the rolling open prairie foothills into the flatirons forests and then a sharp change to steep incline like climbing lots of stairs to get up top where the trail splits and you can go to South Boulder peak or bear peak or both. Beautiful views from up top especially looking west at the snow capped mountains. Pretty windy up top. Good option for a strenuous hike and incline without snow up top like other similar gain hikes farther into the mountains that are already too icy and snowy.

hiking
7 months ago

This is always a humbling hike. Shadow Canyon will test your fitness for sure. This hike gains close to 3K feet so you see a wide variety of terrain and eco-systems. If your lucky, at the top you will be buzzed by Golden Eagles or the occasional glider. Keep an eye out for wildlife, we saw a Ptarmigan in Shadow Canyon last time out.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike, however I brought the dog along with me on South Boulder Canyon trail and he was struggling on the last 1.5 up due to the rocks, so I turned around. I would not recommend bringing dogs if you want to make it to the peak.

10 months ago

Hard trail. Steep incline over last mile and a half. Lots of bouldering. Imagine there are stunning views at the top but we weren't able to see much given the forest fires. Take plenty of food and water.

trail running
10 months ago

Always love this trail. Keep in mind that the South Mesa Trail-head and most of the Shadow Canyon and Mesa trails are currently closed on weekdays until Mid-November. The only access would be via the Bluestem trail which will be a very long hike.

10 months ago

Solid hike....challenging last 1.5 but what awesome hike isn't! Views are great and don't be afraid to hit bear peak on your journey as well

hiking
11 months ago

Took us about 5 hours roundtrip. The descent was much harder than the ascent because of the rocky terrain. It was particularly hard on the knees and ankles. Highly recommend hiking poles.
Spotted a bear during the descent about a mile from trailhead.

hiking
11 months ago

Challenging due to last 1.5m - steep and rocky.
It took me 1:40 up, and about 1 hour down (neadless to say, most of downhill was running).
Make sure to have good shoes with rough soles - the rocks are always slippery.

hiking
Saturday, July 15, 2017

This trail was beautiful and challenging. The panoramic view from the top is amazing. Most of the elevation gain is in the last mile and a half or so. I stopped a few times to rest and fuel up and I reached the summit in about 3 hours. I got back down in about 2 hours. I was very thankful to have my poles on the way down. There is a lot of loose rock and things get slippery.

hiking
Thursday, June 15, 2017

Great all-around trail. Starts off on nice gravel trails which lead to some nice Rocky inclines toward the top. Great views. Great hike.

hiking
Thursday, June 15, 2017

Excellent little hike. My friend and I did the South Boulder + Bear Peak and it was great! Don't let the easy first portion deceive you, this sucker climbs altitude quickly at the end!

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Great Trail with alot of shade...

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