Sanitas is the Latin word meaning "health, sanity and well-being", and you're certain to find all of those as you hike one of Boulder's favorite mountains, Mt. Sanitas. The 3.1-mile loop will start you off with a stair-stepper of a workout, give you access to bouldering and provide you with the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife, including deer, elk, owls, fox and even mountain lions.
Sanitas Trailhead — Photo courtesy of Hope Gately
This adventure will take between 1.5 and three hours. If this is your first hike on Sanitas, however, you should definitely take your time, bring a light picnic, snap plenty of pictures along the way and savor the view at the top.
The first half of the trek will take you up a winding staircase of boulders, giving you excellent views of Green Mountain, Red Rocks trail and Boulder Valley as you hit several false summits.
Along the way, there are plenty of spots to relax in the shade, sit for a snack, and, if you've brought your chalk bag and climbing shoes, boulder around on some of this mountain's most epic routes. Sunrise and moonlit hikes are particularly exciting because celestial events are visible from this trail.
Sanitas at Sunrise — Photo courtesy of Hope Gately
Before you reach the summit, you'll have the chance to glimpse the snow-capped Rocky Mountains. As you approach the final leg of the trek, the trail will veer suddenly to the right and take you up one last push to the top. Be sure to tap the metal summit pole–this is a mountaineering tradition that makes your summit official.
Rocky Mountain High — Photo courtesy of Hope Gately
As you descend, you'll take a momentarily steep trail down the east face of the mountain, which will turn into a graveled, ambling valley trail with a spectacular view of the Flatirons and the green peaks of Chautauqua Park.
Green Mountain — Photo courtesy of Hope Gately
Tips for hikers:
- Pack plenty of water; 2-3 liters is standard. Bringing a Camelback for hands-free drinking is recommended.
- Wear sturdy hiking boots or trail-running shoes.
- Dress in light layers that can be easily put on or taken off. The weather in Boulder is finicky and changes suddenly.
- If you are visiting, take into account the change in altitude. Since Sanitas is a moderate-strenuous hike, it will certainly be a challenge if you haven't had time to acclimate. It is not recommended to do this hike in the first 2-3 days of your visit unless you are in very good physical condition and work out regularly.