For those of you who enjoy the outdoors, Colorado has much to offer. There are many wonderful hiking trails throughout the state. Trails range in difficulty from easy to very difficult, and many of these are great for experienced hikers, but not suitable for families hiking with children. For those who are either somewhat new to hiking, or will be hiking with children, this article lists some of the best hiking trails near Boulder, Colorado.
Late spring or summer is a great time to go hiking in Colorado. While many parts of the country are beginning to heat up, you can still enjoy the cool morning crispness, especially in the higher elevations. This is also a great time to experience some beautiful mountain scenery, and enjoy a colorful array of wild flowers. Boulder, Colorado is an extremely beautiful area, and has many hiking trails nearby. For families, hiking with children, here are some of the best hiking trails near Boulder.
Bald Mountain Scenic Area – Pine to Peak Loop Trail
Pine to Peak Trail is a 1 mile loop trail that is a great first hike for younger children. Hiking to the 7,160 foot summit of Bald Mountain, you will find a magnificent view and a variety of wildflowers. The trail starts off with a slight incline. After the trail splits, stay to the right and follow the Pines to Peak Trail. Bald Mountain Scenic Area is located 5 miles west of Boulder on the south side of Sunshine Canyon Drive (County Road 52).
Betasso Preserve Canyon Loop Trail
This hiking trail is a 2.8 mile loop that starts out with an easy climb, and then becomes a little more vigorous. The trail offers many different scenic views, and includes dense forest, fields, and meadows. This area was homesteaded around 1912, and later became a cattle ranch operated by the Betasso family. It is now part of the Boulder County Mountain Parks and Open Space system. To reach the trailhead take Boulder Canyon(CO 119) west for 6 miles, then go right on Sugarloaf Road for one mile to the trailhead.
This trail is located in a parks and open space area of Boulder. It travels along South Boulder Creek, and is a flat, easy trail that is sport chair accessible. This area affords seasonal viewing (mid-May through Summer) of the bobolink for which the trailhead was named, along with other ground nesting birds. This hiking trail is located just west of the intersection of Baseline and Cherryvale Roads, and there is a parking lot on the southwest corner of the intersection.
Enchanted Mesa McClintock Trail Loop
This loop trail is approximately 1.8 miles in length and offers breathtaking views of the Flatiron Mountains. This easily accessible loop trail treats hikers to a beautiful pine forest, bustling song birds and squirrels. Along this hiking trail there is a gain in elevation of about 1,100 feet. The trail is located on the southside of the Chautauqua Auditorium, near Chautauqua Park (Grant and Baseline Streets in Boulder).
Lichen Loop Trail
This is an easy hiking trail that starts out at an elevation of around 5,900 feet and climbs only about 250 feet. The round-trip length is approximately 1.3 miles and provides beautiful views to the south of Boulder’s Front Range. To reach the trailhead take US 36 from Boulder and head north for 4.7 miles to Left Hand Canyon Drive. Turn left onto Left Hand Canyon Drive and travel 0.7 miles to Geer Canyon Road. You will see the Heil Valley Ranch sign and take a right onto Geer Canyon Road. Travel through private property 1.3 miles to the trailhead. Geer Canyon Road is a private road so do not park your car along the side of the road.
Rattlesnake Gulch Trail
This hiking trail is moderate in difficulty and takes approximately 2 hours to hike. The trail is about 3.6 miles round-trip, and begins at the entrance to Eldorado Canyon State Park, a world renowned rock climbing area. The trail makes its way up the southern flank of Eldorado Mountain, crossing a small stream on its way up to the ruins of the historic Crags Hotel. Built in 1908, the hotel was accessed via an inclined railway from the canyon floor, and burned down in 1913. To get to Eldorado Canyon State Park follow Broadway (93) South to Eldorado Canyon Road (CO 170) where you will turn right and follow this road all the way into the park. There is a small park fee upon entrance and a visitors center.
Hopefully, this short article has given you some good ideas for your next hiking trip. Our family really enjoys hiking together. There is nothing like being out in the fresh air, enjoying beautiful scenery, and having fun together as a family. Have fun, stay safe, and enjoy some of these wonderful Colorado hiking trails.