Boulder’s own Alli F. on her 10th summit of Bear Peak
A New Year is approaching, Boulderites. For many, this signals the opportunity to make positive changes and set new goals. But traditional New Year’s resolutions are a bit old-fashioned and not particularly enjoyable. What if you did something different for 2018? What if you made some changes and set some goals that are actually fun? And badass? And very, very Boulder?
Our open space provides the perfect foundation for this. With 5 unique peaks and 150 miles of trails, Boulder is a playground with infinite possibilities. Just say no to boring resolutions. It’s time to challenge yourself, connect with others, and inject more fun into the New Year. Read on for the trail resolutions and goals that you’ll be eager to embark on in 2018.
As always, please consult the City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks for trail conditions, temporary closures, and dog regulations.
The Boulder Trails Challenge
If you’re someone who hikes Mount Sanitas on repeat with your eyes closed, this one’s for you. It can be hard to break out of a trail rut and explore new territory, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Enter the Boulder Trails Challenge. The City of Boulder introduced this challenge last year with a handy guide that includes a listing of all 166 city trails.
Variations on this challenge abound, but the general idea is simple: Hike every unique Boulder trail at least once within a calendar year. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to try new trails, this is it. It’s a hefty task, but very doable if approached strategically.
Recruit friends to join you on individual trails or for the entire challenge. At the end of the year, you’ll have a newfound appreciation for our open space… and some newfound bragging rights.
The Mileage Challenge
If you need the motivation to hit the trails more often, this one’s for you. With a straightforward mileage challenge, you can hike or run whichever trails you want – the goal is simply to get out there. Check the OSMP interactive map for routes, connections, and trailhead information.
If you’re new to hiking, 250 miles is a great starter goal. This breaks down to about 5 miles per week, and you may find yourself exceeding that target as you get stronger. If you’re a regular hiker or runner with a moderate fitness level, you might set your annual goal at 500 miles (about 10 miles per week). And if you’re up for the ultimate challenge, shoot for 1,000 miles (about 20 miles per week).
For a variation on the mileage challenge, turn it into a group effort and go for 2,018 miles in the year 2018. You and your friends can hit the trails together and combine your collective mileage. Everything is more fun with friends, especially on the trails!
The Local Summit Challenge
The local summit challenge is either your worst nightmare or a trail dream come true. If you have a high tolerance for monotony and want to make some serious fitness strides, this one’s for you.
You probably have a favorite peak in town. If you’re ready to get up close and personal with it, consider making the commitment to climb it 25, 50, or even 100 times in a year. This sounds a little crazy because it is. But it’s a great way to get to know a mountain through every possible approach and all four seasons. It’s also a great way to track your fitness because you’ll see yourself getting a little stronger and faster with each and every summit.
Be sure to research the peak and all possible routes before you unveil your new Instagram hashtag. Location and average time per climb are important factors and a key to your success. It would also be wise to check on upcoming OSMP trail projects to be sure your peak’s primary routes will be open in the foreseeable future.
The Skyline Traverse Challenge
If you live to check items off your bucket list, this one’s for you. It’s the ultimate Boulder bucket list hike: the Boulder Skyline Traverse (also known as the 5-Peak Traverse). This hike encompasses all five Boulder peaks and presents an incredible challenge right in our own backyard.
At 16.4 miles and 6,000 feet of elevation gain, the Skyline Traverse is tougher than most Class 1 and Class 2 fourteeners. If you’re a beginner, this gives you something to train for throughout the year. You’ll want to spend several months section hiking the route and bagging each peak individually. If you’re a more experienced hiker or runner, 2-3 months of focused training will suffice.
You say you’ve already done the Skyline Traverse? Congratulations! Of course, your traverse goals don’t have to end there. Perhaps you’d like to attempt it in winter conditions. Or maybe you’re yearning for a monthly date with the traverse (completing 12 in one year). This is Boulder, after all, so we can just keep up-leveling this thing.
If you really want to go for the gold, consider a round trip Skyline Traverse. The upside is that you begin and end at the same trailhead, so there’s no need to do a car drop. The downside, of course, is that you have to do the traverse twice in a row. But… no car drop!
Happy (almost) New Year and happy trails, Boulderites! May your trail goals be lofty, your summit snacks yummy, and your photos Instagram-worthy!