Photo of Hiking Trails in Boulder, CO

The Best Hiking Trails in Boulder, CO

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Trail adventures just a few minutes from downtown

Boulder Colorado is one of America’s great cities for those who love the outdoors. The famous Flatirons sit just west of downtown and give the city an adventurous spirit. When it comes to hiking, there are a tremendous number of great trails within a few minutes drive of downtown.

We used the data from hundreds of thousands of hikes to create a list of the best hikes in Boulder Colorado. Here’s what we found! If you’re looking for a popular and welcoming route for the whole family, Mallory Cave is a great option. If you’d like a challenging full day’s adventure, we recommend Bear Peak.

You can’t go wrong with any of the trails on this list. There are thousands of local Strava members around these parts, so you may even bump into another member of the community. Have fun out there and don’t forget to share your adventure on Strava!

Top 10 hiking trails in Boulder, CO

1

Mallory Cave via N.C.A.R. Trail

Easy
1.46 mi(33m)·
349 ft
The Mallory Cave hike takes you to the mouth of a beautiful cave that’s home to a population of Townsend’s Big-Eared Bats. The cave is closed to protect the bats and us humans, but you can still trek to the entrance and peer in. The hike follows an out and back route along the N.C.A.R. Trail. The trail is on the shorter side and doesn’t feature too much elevation gain. Most consider this an easy hike. The Mallory Cave hike is one of the most popular with local Strava members.
2

Royal Arch

Hard
3.29 mi(1h 45m)·
1,438 ft
The Royal Arch hike is Boulder at its best. You’ll trek to a natural stone arch with views of the city, the famous Flatirons, and the valley to the east. The trail follows an out and back route. There are consistently steep grades throughout, so most consider this a hard hike. This hike is one of the most popular in the area with local Strava members and visitors from out of town. Take a look at the photos from the community to get a sense of what you’ll see along the way.
3

Shanahan Ridge

Hard
3.86 mi(1h 22m)·
816 ft
The Shanahan Ridge hike takes you high above Boulder to a long ridgeline with spectacular views. There are several trails available in the area, but this routing is popular with Strava members. The trail follows a loop route and most members tend to take that loop counterclockwise. The average gradient isn’t too severe, but there are some steep bits. Because of this, most consider this a moderate hike. This is one of the most popular trails in the area with local Strava members.
4

Mount Sanitas Loop

Hard
3.13 mi(1h 31m)·
1,310 ft
The Mount Sanitas Loop is a beautiful and challenging hike in the Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks. The trail follows a loop route with most Strava members proceeding clockwise. Hikers will reach the summit of Mt. Sanitas via the Mt. Sanitas trail then return to the start via the Sanitas Valley Trail. Because of the significant amount of elevation gain, most consider this a hard hike. This hike is popular with local Strava members.
5

Green Mountain Loop

Hard
5.96 mi(2h 52m)·
2,513 ft
The Green Mountain Loop is a challenging and rewarding hike to the summit of Green Mountain. Most Strava members take the loop counter clockwise. This route uses a number of differently named trails, so it’s wise to download the map before you head out on your adventure. Because of the steep grades, especially near the summit, most consider this a hard trail. This hike is very popular with local Strava members, and the views from the top are well worth the effort!
6

South Boulder Peak

Easy
2.97 mi(1h 2m)·
534 ft
The South Boulder Peak hike is a fun excursion into the foothills south of Boulder. Most take the trail clockwise, ascending via the Homestead trail then returning via the Mesa trail. Most consider this a moderately challenging hike. This trail network connects to a few others in the area. When you intersect with the Mesa trail, you can turn left to extend your adventure. This trail network is popular with local Strava members.
7

Wonderland Lake Trail

Easy
1.6 mi(31m)·
77 ft
The Wonderland Lake Trail is a welcoming, family friendly hike option around Wonderland Lake just north of downtown Boulder. The trail is mostly flat and follows a loop route. Most Strava members take the loop clockwise. This is an easy trail and can make a great excursion for the whole family. All of this combines to make Wonderland Lake a popular option for beginner hikers, families, and those just looking for a pleasant walk near town.
8

Anne White Trail

Easy
3.07 mi(1h 17m)·
495 ft
The Anne White Trail is a pleasant hike in the Boulder County Parks and Open Space. The trail follows a beautiful mountain stream and takes an out and back route. Overall, it's fairly mellow and may be a great option for hiking with dogs or young children. Most consider this an easy hike. The Anne White Trail is popular with local Strava members
9

Green Mountain West Ridge Trail

Moderate
3.77 mi(1h 29m)·
731 ft
The Green Mountain West Ridge Trail climbs from a trailhead along Flagstaff Road up western slopes to the beautiful summit of Green Mountain. The trail follows an out and back route. There are some steep sections near the summit so you’re sure to get a good workout! This hike is popular with local Strava members.
10

Bear Peak Hike

Hard
4.74 mi(2h 35m)·
2,689 ft
The Bear Peak hike is a challenging day hike to the summit of Bear Peak. Once you get there, you’ll take in stunning views of the Continental Divide and the surrounding mountains. The trail follows an out and back route and involves steep switchbacks and scrambling over some large boulders. Most consider this a hard hike. The hike shown uses a number of differently named trails so it’s worth downloading the map before you head into the wilderness. This is a popular hike with rewarding views. It’s perfect for your next adventure. \