When the sun is shining, there is a warm breeze in the air and the masses of people on the Chautauqua, Sanitas and Boulder Creek hiking trails look like they are being herded – keep driving. Keep driving to some off the beaten path destinations that Boulder and the surrounding area has to offer.
There’s plenty to be found in the area — Boulder hiking trails are a-plenty. Here’s the scoop on a few that might not be on your radar.
Head West on Baseline Road past Chautauqua and follow the windy, steep street to the summit of Flagstaff Mountain. Walker Ranch is a few miles after you start descending on the right-hand side of the road.
Previously one of the largest cattle ranches in the region – Walker Ranch has over 3,500 acres filled with wildlife, various landscapes and a rich history told through plaques scattered along the trails.
For a nice stroll and perhaps with a picnic basket in tow – jump on The Meyers Homestead Trail – a moderate 5-mile trail along an old roadbed with grassy meadows, Aspen groves, springtime wildflowers, views of the Continental Divide and not so many travelers.
For more challenging terrain in the Boulder area, take the Walker Ranch Loop Trail – a 7.6 mile journey up, down and around the open space area with fabulous views of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains and of interesting rock formations.
A wonderfully tranquil trail winds through Dream Canyon – hugging a cliff wall on one side and Boulder Creek on the other (if the water is too high the path can get washed out sending you scrambling on rocks for higher, dryer ground). The sound of nothing but rushing water, big rock walls sheltering you on both sides and the smell of pine in the air makes you feel like you are far away from civilization, though Boulder proper is only a few miles away.
To get to this utopia drive West on Canyon Boulevard making a right on Sugar Loaf Road. After three miles take a left on Lost Angel Road and continue straight for one mile until there is a fork in the road, head left. The dirt parking lot will be within another half-mile. Several trails from this parking lot lead to the base of Upper Dream Canyon. The most defined trail starts about 100 feet past the parking lot – right before a private property sign on the left hand side of the road.
Other less traveled Boulder hiking options
The DeLonde Homestead Trail and the Bluebird Loop – both moderate hikes located in Caribou Ranch. This property is closed until June 30th to protect animals in the area.
Heil Valley Ranch and Hall Ranch also have many less-traveled trails zig-zagging through them.
Happy, peaceful, trails to you!
Photo credit: Katie Drucker