Foot to Earth: Boulder's Premiere and Pristine Hiking Trails

Boulder is known for its proximity to the great outdoors. Hiking, rock-climbing, mountain biking, and skiing are just a few of the outdoor activities that can be done within the Boulder city limits. As such, this active town takes pride in maintaining its pristine and intricate hiking trails. Chautauqua Park boasts a variety of trails that range from easy to strenuous and nearby Rocky Mountain National Park is a hikers heaven. Mt. Sanitas and Bear Peak sit toward the top of our list because of their challenging terrain and spectacular views. But before tackling these hikes, let's talk trails: the class ratings, what you need to bring, and how physically fit you need to be. 

Class 1: Easy-Moderate. These trails are typically flat with little elevation gain. You will need to be in descent physical condition. If you can climb a flight of stairs without getting winded, you should be just fine. 

Class 2: Moderate. Class 2 trails usually rise steadily and gradually. There will be considerable elevation gain over time. People who hike regularly and are acclimated to altitude will find these trails fairly simple where others may find them to be a challenge. 

Class 3: These trails are a challenge even for those who are accustomed altitude. Scrambling (using your hands for stability) may be required. 

No matter how easy the hike, taking water, rain gear, layers, and sturdy hiking boots is essential. Remember when hiking in altitude that there are sudden weather changes and always tell someone where you are going and when you'll return.

Hike safe, and hike on! 

Flagstaff Mountain


This famous 2.5 miles loop allows for an easy-moderate hike with splendid views. Perfect for visitors who haven't yet acclimated to the altitude, young children, and those who just aren't particularly fond of long hikes but want to get out and...  Read More



13.4 miles of trail connecting Eldorado Canyon to Chautauqua park offers access to multiple trailheads and a variety of terrain. Start out at the Chautauqua Trailhead and end up at the South Boulder Peak trailhead. If you don't want to double...  Read More



Red Rocks trail can be accessed from the Centennial Trailhead in North Boulder and sits just across Mapleton from the Mt. Sanitas trailhead. For those who aren't up for significant elevation gain but could use a brisk hike with great views and...  Read More



With more than 1,000 acres of land, this park is a favorite site for hiking and horseback riding on 10 beautiful miles of trails with varying degrees of difficulty. The park's 850-foot sandstone canyon wall is popular with world-class rock...  Read More



This 5 ( and come change) miles hike starts at an elevation of 5,856ft and tops out at 8,144ft making for a whopping 2, 288ft of elevation gain over about 21/2 miles. Not for the faint of heart ( but certainly no 14er either) Green Mountain...  Read More

Chautauqua Park
Photo courtesy of © 2014 City of Boulder Parks & Recreation


This meadow-like foothills park is ideal for a lazy afternoon with a book, a family picnic, bird watching, or a vigorous hike on numerous trails that will suit any skill level. The hiking trails take you into the Flatirons and the Bluebell...  Read More

Mt. Sanitas


This 3.1 mile moderate to strenuous trail will lead you to one of the most breathtakingly beautiful summits overlooking all of Boulder Valley. Sanitas, which is Latin for health, wellbeing, and clarity of mind, is the perfect day hike whether...  Read More



The highlight of the 415-square mile park is the Trail Ridge Road. Travel 50 spectacular miles over Trail Ridge Road, the nation's longest continuous road at such a high altitude, and experience incomparable changes in climate, vegetation, and...  Read More



Though Bear Peak can be accessed from several different points, the Mesa Trail is one of the best access points and provides you with a grueling 12.7 miles of switchbacks, scenic canyons and, at the top, views of the Rocky Mountains and Indiana...  Read More


Meet Hope Gately

Hope Gately should have a bumper sticker proclaiming "Not a Native...But I Got Here as Fast as I Could!" A transplant from the Midwest, Hope has fallen in love with Colorado's mountains playing...  More About Hope