Whether you came to see a concert at Redrocks, do a sample tour of the town’s many fine microbreweries, or specifically to hike, rock climb and mountain bike, it is often difficult to know where to start hiking in a large town like Boulder Colorado.
I am about to tell you all some secrets from the locals. It took me a while to find the best hikes in our area, but now that I know them, I do them almost every day. I’m sorry locals, but the world needs to know:
• Bear Canyon: This is my personal favorite hike, where I go to unwind from finals or hang out with some friends. The hike is pretty easy going and has some of my favorite views of the Flatirons. The trail also hides the town pretty well, and gives the feeling of solitude and woodsyness.
o If I’m feeling frisky, I can also climb to the top of Bear Peak, which stands above the Flatirons, and also gives a view of the snow capped Indian Peaks. Keep in mind that this climb will take at least 4 hours.
o Parking is at the NCAR research institute, and there is always plenty of parking.
• The classic 1st or 2nd Flatirons hike: This is the classic hike of the town. The flatirons stand out from the ground like spaceships from Star Wars, and the view of town from the top of them is pretty spectacular. As an added bonus, you may also get to watch a few climbers rappelling down the backside of the flatiron, which is always nice.
o The only negative thing I can say about this hike is everybody knows it is iconic, so the trails are busy. There is no solitude here, but the people are friendly in the Colorado fashion, so feel free to make some friends. This hike is also physically strenuous for those not used to the altitude.
• Anenome Trail: Great for anybody with a hangover, or anybody with just an hour or two for hiking. It begins at the base of the Red Rocks Cathedral, (Boulder’s version of the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs). The trail offers beautiful views of Boulder Canyon on the left, and the town on the right.
o Not many people know about this hike, so there is a lot of solitude. It branches off the Boulder Creek Path, so its easy to reach from Pearl Street, or anywhere near the creek. Easy to do if you have requirements later that day, as it only takes an hour, or two if you feel like taking all the sights in.
• The Royal Arch: One of my favorites, and runs along the same access route to Chataqua. I usually find myself missing the turn off for Chataqua, and going to the arch by accident, but am never upset about it. There is a cool cave/tunnel at the base of the arch, and the people are always interesting. Last time there was a group of girls in some sort of ukulele band.
o This trail is typically busy like Chataqua, so it isn’t the best for solitude, but the views are still pretty spectacular, and the arch is very unique.
• Mallory Cave: This one only comes last because the cave has been closed off due to the white nose disease for bats (not related to cocaine). It’s great for a quick hike to see a wider variety of flatirons peaks. The area is really popular for rock climbers, and there is a nice view of town from the closed off Mallory Cave.
Each of these places is within 15 minutes of Boulder Colorado, and has some of my favorite hiking. Be sure to stop by the Southern Sun Brewery in South Boulder Colorado, or Mountain Sun Brewery on Pearl Street when you finish, to get some truly delicious microbrew beers and hearty food. Their beers aren’t in stores yet, but they have won quite a few awards. Check out there website: http://www.mountainsunpub.com