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Three Peaks Loop Trail is a 13.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Boulder, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 13.1 miles Elevation Gain: 4,734 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

Start: Chautauqua Park Main Entrance S. Boulder Peak - 8549' Bear Peak - 8459' Green Mtn. - 8150' End: Chautauqua Park Main Entrance

hiking
icy
muddy
snow
11 days ago

First time attempting this trail and man was it a fun workout! Don’t stop long at Green because you’ll need your strength for the next two peaks for sure. Very snowpacked between Green and Bear but with crampons you’ll be fine. A lot of mud and water on the Mesa Trail headed back to Chatauqua today but wonderful weather overall! Will definitely be coming back for round 2 soon. I took about 3L of water for this hike and ended up with some left over at the end.

hiking
4 months ago

I use this trail weekly as my Long run. Great elevation gain and long rolling sections provide for a variation of training. Total time for competition was about 3:28, power hiking steep sections and running the more tame terrain.

running
5 months ago

One of my favorite "longer" Boulder loops. Either direction, the exposure between Green and Bear is significant. You are out there. Be prepared for any possible weather and have water. Shadow Canyon is rough on the joints but rewarding. Running on 10/21 it was really cold and windy.

hiking
7 months ago

It took a little under 7 hours on an 85 degree day. Went up Gregory and Ranger Trail Great elevation gain. It hurt a lot on the way back

hiking
8 months ago

One of my favorite "local" hikes. Great elevation gains and beautiful scenery. Much of the hike between peaks has less traffic than the other routes. Only downside is the lower altitude. It gets HOT! I went through 3L of water with 1+ hour left. That part was painful. Overall, it took me and a buddy ~7.5 hours in total. We're both pretty athletic. We took decent breaks at each peak and were a bit slow on the descent (bad knees).

hiking
8 months ago

I agree with everyone else. Beautiful hike, secluded after you clear NCAR, and a perfect mix of flat paths and steep mountain climbs. It was shady during half my hike and I still went through 3L of water.

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful and challenging hike. Somehow missed the meadow trail so had a small detour and used the ski jump trail at the beginning. Went down fern canyon. The first part of it was STEEP but the second half was much more doable. Total distance and elevation according to my Fitbit: 14.38 miles and 4790 ft. Started at 6:50am, summited Green Mountain just before 9, Bear Peak just before 11:15 (stopped for lunch) and South Boulder at noon. Back to the car by 2:50 with storms in the distance. Not too bad for an Oklahoman!

hiking
9 months ago

Well, we are still alive some 18 miles and over 6000ft of elevation gain later... Started the trail at 530am. Made Green Mountain summit at around 7:30. Bear at 10am and South Boulder at 11. We took Shadow Canyon down from Bear....this added a few extra miles. Take Fern Canyon down to not do 18 miles. I’ve hiked up/down Fern and it is STEEP. I recommend having poles to save your knees. The last part of the hike back to the trailhead is almost entirely unshaded and brutal. Joe has it right in his review. Bring sunscreen and plenty of water. My friend and I went through 3 liters of water each before the end of the hike.

running
9 months ago

Really really REALLY steep. So beautiful tho. Fun to run. Definitely be back.

hiking
muddy
rocky
9 months ago

Looking for a 14-er caliber training ground only an hour from Denver? Enter the three peaks loop. The climb up Shadow Canyon — legit. The sore feet and thunderstorm scares — real. The satisfaction when you return, bruised, muddy, and full-circle, to Chatauqua park — irreplaceable. Tl;dr it's a beautiful and challenging hike. Bring plenty of food, sunscreen, and 2+ liters of water. Be prepared to hike a full 8 hours. As of now, the Mesa Trail section is still muddy, and the wildflowers are just beginning to peek out. Be careful of afternoon storms — I had a scare coming up South Boulder peak. Enjoy!!

10 months ago

Great route. The trail today was very muddy in many areas and packed snow and slush. Slick areas near top. Coming down was a bit of a challenge.

hiking
11 months ago

Be prepared for this one. The trail is now dry for the most part. I didn't need any extra traction but I did take some yaktrax just in case. Make sure to bring enough water.

running
11 months ago

A LOT of snow and mud, took chains on and off a few times.

hiking
snow
Sun Mar 24 2019

running
Mon Nov 05 2018

Did this once - exhausted. Trying for the 5 peaks of Boulder's skyline next year!

hiking
Sat Aug 11 2018

Incredible trail with great views. Took a little over 7 hours but wasn’t really hurrying to get through the trail. Would definitely do again. Be sure to bring enough water.

hiking
Wed May 16 2018

Closer to 14 miles and 5,000 feet of total elevation gain (according to Strava). Really enjoyed this hike though, I just didn't bring nearly enough food or water, and there is very limited sun cover on the more difficult parts of the route (Bear Peak's west ridge and South Boulder Peak). The descent down shadow canyon and subsequent death-march on the Mesa trail back to Chautauqua Park were very painful. It took me almost 8 hours exactly to complete the hike round-trip. Be prepared for this one. Wouldn't do it again but I'm glad I did it.

Wed Apr 18 2018

Many trails shown in the map are closed which makes me detour around for more than one mile. In general a good but tiring trail.

hiking
Sat Apr 14 2018

Mon Nov 06 2017

14.1 miles according to my Garmin watch. 5 hours for me, trail running.

hiking
Fri Aug 18 2017

GPS clocked this at closer to 14 miles. I'm guessing it's because the app tried to have me go straight down the mountain where there was no trail. Hated coming down Shadow Canyon! First part is the best part, not too excited about the burned out area near Bear and S. Boulder Peaks. Not one I'm looking to repeat but good workout.

hiking
Sun Jul 09 2017

Couldn't summit Bear and SB peaks due to weather. Started by approaching Amphitheater Trail and up to Green Mountain. There are closures coming off of GM that redirect you through the newer Green Bear trail. This probably adds about an extra 1.5 miles. View the updated map. I hiked to the saddle and down through Shadow Canyon to avoid the storms that luckily stayed on the West side the remainder of the trip. This is a very long hike that will burn your legs on the way up and jerk your knees coming down either way you start. Awesome hike to get ready for 14ers.

Sun Jul 02 2017

Great hike. Plan for a few hours

Wed May 17 2017

This is an amazing but challenging hike . You'll experience several environments throughout the loop -- some more strenuous and others less so. Overall a great loop to get to some of the most beautiful peaks in Boulder!

hiking
Sat May 06 2017

Holy crap this is a tough trail. But it is totally worth it. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that the Green Bear trail has been re-routed, which adds an extra 1 - 1.5 miles to the hike. Also, skip the flat part at the end and have two cars, if you can.

hiking
4 days ago

hiking
12 days ago

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