Grizzly Creek Trail Trailhead: Grizzly Creek Rest Area (Glenwood Canyon) Activities: Hiking Closest Towns: Glenwood Springs, Colorado Driving Directions to Trailhead: From I-70 in Glenwood Canyon take Exit 121. The parking area for Grizzly Creek trail is on the north side of the Interstate. Look for a short road that will take you to the upper lot. The parking area can be busy in the summer due to river access and users. Hiking Distance: ~ 6.8 miles (roundtrip) Description: The Grizzly Creek Trail is an out and back hike that generally follows the meandering Grizzly Creek. The canyon is one of the largest side canyons in Glenwood Canyon. This is a great hike for families and young children because the grade is relatively gentle (at least for the first couple miles). Begin hiking from the small kiosk located adjacent to the upper/northern parking lot. You will quickly leave the hustle and bustle of I-70 behind you as you pass two picnic tables within the first half-mile of the hike. The picnic areas offer perfect resting spots to enjoy the tranquility of Grizzly Creek. At approximately 2 miles into the hike, you’ll hit the first steep portion of the trail. This can be a great […]
No Name Trail Trailhead: Jess Weaver Trailhead (Glenwood Canyon) Activities: Hiking Closest Towns: Glenwood Springs, Colorado Driving Directions to Trailhead: From I-70 in Glenwood Canyon take Exit 119 (two miles east of Glenwood Springs). Head north away from the rest area for .5 miles on No Name Road. You will dead-end into the trailhead. Park in the designated lot just to the south of the last house in the canyon. Hiking Distance: ~ 6.2 miles (roundtrip) Description: The No Name Trail (aka Jess Weaver Trail) is really the highlight of the three major hikes you can do in Glenwood Canyon. It’s a little shorter and much steeper than the Grizzly Creek Trail. Begin the hike at a small parking lot on the north side of I-70. The first .4 miles of the hike follow the water diversion access road to a small diversion building. Water is diverted to Glenwood Springs as one of the town’s main water supply sources. It’s once you pass the diversion structure that the trail turns to single track and you leave most traces of humanity behind. The trail is oftentimes steep and follows No Name Creek the entire way up the canyon. Dense vegetation sometimes shields the creek […]
Trailhead: McDonald Creek Trailhead Activities: Hiking, Camping Closest City / Town: Fruita, Colorado Driving Directions: Head out west from Grand Junction on I-70 for about 30 miles to the Rabbit Valley exit (Exit #2). Take a left (south) at the stop sign; cross over the freeway and a cattle guard. Stay on the main road going straight (southwest) for about 2.5 miles. The turn into the canyon is marked by Castle Rocks. When you reach this rock, you’ll turn left (east) onto another two-track road which follows the stream bed for about 0.3 miles to a parking area. NOTE: No motorized vehicles or bikes are permitted beyond this point!!! CAUTION: A high-clearance vehicle is recommended to get to the trailhead!!! Hiking Distance: 3.0 miles (roundtrip) Description: The McDonald Creek Trail is a fun and relatively gentle hike in Colorado (McInnis) Canyons National Conservation Area. Because there really is no trail, hikers simply need to follow the winding path of the usually dry creek bed. Tamarisk litter the last half-mile of the hike. Tamarisk are an invasive species that many states in the Southwest struggle to control. Worth Noting: Pictographs, pictographs, and yes, more pictographs!!! Moreover, there is amazing camping located at Castle Rocks (refer to the […]
Trailhead: Mount Sanitas Trailhead (Boulder) Activities: Hiking, Bouldering Closest City / Town: Boulder, Colorado Driving Directions: Get onto Broadway and then head west on Mapleton. The Mount Sanitas Trailhead is located just west of Boulder Valley Hospital on the north (right) side of Mapleton. Hiking Distance: 3.3 miles (loop) Description: This is an enjoyable trail located near the heart of the City of Boulder. Begin your hike by heading up the Mount Sanitas Trail towards the ridgeline to the north. Eventually, the trail will wrap around on the East Ridge Trail, head towards the east, and descend back south via the Mount Sanitas Valley Trail. This is a great hike to do during a weekday. The trail swells on the weekends and evenings; we recommend avoiding a hike during those times. Worth Noting: The bouldering along the trail is exceptional. There are numerous areas to jump on the beautiful sandstone. Suggested Materials: The following books all contain relevant information on this trail… Bob Horan, Best of Boulder Bouldering, pp. 7-14. Steve Johnson & David Weinstein, Best Loop Hikes Colorado, pp. 63-64.
Trailhead: Gregory Canyon Trailhead (Note: you can add some additional mileage to your hike by starting at the Chautauqua Trailhead) Activities: Hiking Closest City / Town: Boulder, Colorado Driving Directions: Take the Baseline exit off of Highway 36. Head west on Baseline (go past Broadway and continue up the hill). Continue on Baseline beyond the Chautauqua Trailhead (which is located on the left). Just before Baseline begins to head up Flagstaff Mountain you will see a road on your left-hand side; follow that westward-trending road to the Gregory Canyon Trailhead. Hiking Distance: 6.2 miles (loop) Description: This is a great hike that winds approximately 2,500′ strait uphill. Take the Gregory Canyon Trail until you run into an abandoned cabin. Continue up the north ridge until you reach the summit. The views from up top are breathtaking. To the west, you’ll be staring at James Peak Wilderness, Indian Peaks Wilderness, and Rocky Mountain National Park. To the east, but only on clear days, you will be able to peer nearly all the way out to the Kansas state line. Descend via the Greenman Trail. Next, take the Saddle Rock Trail. Finally, jump onto the Amphitheater Trail, and follow it back to the Gregory […]
Royal Arch Trailhead: Chautauqua Trailhead (Bluebell Mesa Trail) Activities: Hiking Closest City / Town: Boulder, Colorado Driving Directions: Take the Baseline exit off of Highway 36. Head west on Baseline (go past Broadway and continue up the hill). Continue on Baseline to the Chautauqua Trailhead (which is located on the left). You really can’t miss it!!! Hiking Distance: 3.0 miles (roundtrip) Description: This is a great jaunt anytime of the year. The hike commences at the ranger station in Chautauqua Park and follows the southward-trending Bluebell Road that is closed off to vehicle access. From there, it is just a matter of paying attention to Boulder City Open Space signs. You will gain approximately 1,100 feet of elevation along this switchbacking hike up to the Royal Arch. Worth Noting: Although you can make this hike year-round, ice on the trail during the winter can make the journey a little dicey. Bring some Yak Trax and you should be okay!
Trailhead: NCAR Trailhead (National Center for Atmospheric Research) Activities: Hiking, Birding Closest City / Town: Boulder, Colorado Driving Directions: From US-36, take the Table Mesa Drive exit and head west (left at the first traffic light). Continue on Table Mesa Drive as it climbs up the side of the Rocky Mountain foothills. Table Mesa Drive will eventually dead end into the NCAR parking lot. Distance: 2.2 miles (roundtrip) Description: Like most of the hikes in the immediate Boulder area, hikers can make the trip up to Mallory Cave just about anytime during the year. The hike takes anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, and you’ll gain approximately 1,000′ in elevation. Start out from NCAR on the Walter Orr Roberts Interpretive Trail. The trail will eventually rollercoaster down towards the Mesa Trail. After approximately .5 miles, take a left onto the Mesa Trail. Next, take an immediate right (west) onto the Mallory Cave Trail, which is clearly marked by City of Boulder Open Space signs. Follow this trail all of the way up to the Mallory Cave. We recommend this hike for people of all abilities. However, there is one moderately difficult section in where hikers must be able to scale […]
South Boulder Peak Trailhead: South Mesa Trailhead Activities: Hiking Closest City / Town: Boulder, Colorado Directions to South Mesa Trailhead: Take Highway 93 south out of Boulder. Hang a right onto Highway 170 (towards Eldorado Springs). After 1.8 miles, you will see the South Mesa Trailhead on the right-hand side of the highway. There is ample parking and a restroom at the trailhead. Note: Please go the speed limit on highway 170. You’ll encounter many bikers and children on this drive. Hiking Distance: 7 miles (roundtrip) Description: Hiking up to the summit of South Boulder Peak is a relatively difficult, rigorous trek. You’ll inevitably gain 2,950′ in elevation. South Boulder Peak rests at 8,549′. The hike starts out of the South Mesa Trailhead. There are a number of different variations that you can make on this hike due to the web of trails heading out from the trailhead. The best route courses along the Homestead Trail. Follow the Homestead Trail for 1.1 miles. After 1.1 miles, you’ll encounter the first of many trail junctions. Continue taking left turns at each of the 4 junctions that you encounter over the next .9 miles. After 2 miles, you should hit the Shadow Canyon […]
Trailhead: NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) – if approaching Bear Peak via Fern Canyon or the West Ridge; South Mesa – if approaching Bear Peak via Shadow Canyon Activities: Hiking Closest City / Town: Boulder, Colorado Directions to NCAR Trailhead: Head west on Table Mesa Drive (Table Mesa can be accessed directly from Broadway or Highway 36). Continue on Table Mesa Drive as it climbs up the side of the Rocky Mountain foothills. Table Mesa Drive will eventually dead end into the NCAR parking lot. Directions to South Mesa Trailhead: Take Highway 93 south out of Boulder. Hang a right onto Highway 170 towards Eldorado Springs. After 1.8 miles you will see the South Mesa Trailhead on the right-hand side of the highway. Note: Please go the speed limit on highway 170. You’ll encounter many bikers and children on this drive. Hiking Distance: Approximately 7.6 miles (roundtrip) Description: There are three ways that you can climb Bear Peak: 1) West Ridge, 2) Fern Canyon, & 3) Shadow Canyon. Personally, we would recommend ascending via the West Ridge & descending through Fern Canyon. This trip is approximately 7.6 miles roundtrip. If you want to avoid crowds, then you should definitely go […]
Trailhead: Pawnee Road Trailhead Activities: Hiking Closest City / Town: Manitou Springs, Colorado Driving Directions: From Colorado Springs, head west down Highway 24. Get off at the Manitou Avenue exit and head left (westerly direction). Continue on Manitou Avenue through the City of Manitou Springs. Approximately halfway through Manitou Springs, take a left (south) on Pawnee Avenue. Continue up Pawnee, which is a very steep paved road, until it turns into a gravel road. There is a small parking area on the right next to a large drainage. This is the trailhead parking lot. Hiking Distance: approximately 2.5 miles (roundtrip) Description: The trail begins by heading out west along the Paul Intemann Trail. Approximately 0.5 miles from the trailhead, you’ll see a sign for the Red Mountain spur trail. Take a left at the junction, and head up to the the top of Red Mountain. It is 0.75 miles, all uphill, to the top. The trail ends at a false summit. There is an old building foundation at the top. Word has it that the area was actually used as a gentleman’s club many years ago. One other note, the Intemann Trail Committee constructed the entire trail. Worth Noting: The views […]
Red Rock Canyon Trailhead: Ridge Road Trailhead Activities: Hiking, Mountain Biking, Rock Climbing Closest City / Town: Colorado Springs, Colorado Driving Directions: Start by getting onto I-25. Take the Cimarron exit (Highway 24) and head west. Take a left on Ridge Road, and park in the first parking lot (the lower lot). Note: If you pass Manitou Springs, then you’ve gone too far. Hiking Distance: 2.05 miles (roundtrip) Description: Red Rock Canyon Open Space is generally touted as the Garden of the Gods for Colorado Springs locals. Its superb red rock sandstone formations, rich history, and brilliant trail system make this park one of Colorado Springs’ best. There are plenty of locations to picnic and hiking opportunities for everyone — novice and expert hikers alike. We’ve named the trail described on this page the Quarry Pass Loop, although it has no official name. Begin your hike by jumping onto the Mesa Trail. Take the Mesa Trail uphill for approximately .6 miles. Next, hang a left on the Quarry Pass Trail, following it .65 miles. This is a marvelous section of trail that winds through the old sandstone quarry. It’s one of the few places in the State of Colorado where you can […]
Trailhead: South Turkey Creek Road & Highway 285 Activities: Hiking, Mountain Biking, Sledding, Snowshoeing Closest City / Town(s): Aspen Park & Conifer, Colorado Driving Directions: From Denver, head west into the mountains on Highway 285 for approximately 16 miles. Jump off on the exit that is located 0.5 miles before reaching Aspen Park (the exit is on the right-hand side of the highway). Go beneath the overpass and park in the parking lot immediately in front of you (The lot is actually off of the beginning of South Turkey Creek Road). Hiking Distance: There are a number of different loops that you can hike throughout the park. The route described on this page is approximately 5.0 miles roundtrip. Description: Meyer Ranch Park is one of Jefferson County Open Space’s crown jewels. Hiking in the area offers great wildlife viewing potential and a sense of solitude. There is a nice picnic area located 0.5 miles away from the main parking area. Just follow the Owl’s Perch Trail up to the picnic facilities. Also, the area provides wonderful sledding possibilities during the winter months, all within eyesight of the parking area. As for the best hiking opportunity in the park, take the Owl’s […]