If you live near mountains, or even hills higher than 10 feet, than count yourself lucky. Because if you live in Florida for a few years, you’ll probably forget that walking up a hill requires some exertion, and walking up a mountain trail filled with large rocks and tree stumps will require even more exertion. This was the case when I went hiking in Boulder, Colorado. But the outstanding views made all the struggling worth it. Here are three hikes you need to tackle when you go to Boulder.
In each trailhead description, I embedded a link to the City of Boulder’s website which features more information on each trail, as well as maps! Seriously, I’m already excited for you to hike at these places because they’re so awesome!
1. Mt. Sanitas Trailhead
This easy-to-locate trailhead offers some incredible views of Boulder. Bring plenty of water as some parts of the trail aren’t as shaded. I only did one portion of the trail over a leisurely 3-4 hours. There’s a few other trails, with varying levels of difficulty, so you could easily spend a day wandering around! My favorite memory here? A Chihuahua ran past me on the trail, leaving me behind, huffing and puffing in its dust. That’s how slow the Florida girl was going.
2. Chautauqua Trailhead
Oh Chautauqua, you were a pleasant challenge! The 0.6 mile hike doesn’t sound long, but when the path turns into rocks (like these below) and you’re having to climb, not walk you’ll understand that 0.6 miles is a lot in hiking terms. At other times, you’re climbing up steep “steps” alongside ravines. I hadn’t seen anyone “bouldering” or free climbing before, so I took a few rest breaks to watch people climb easily 100 foot cliffs.
You can take in the above views of the Flatirons while at the Chautauqua Ranger Cottage, which houses a nature center and has picnic tables nearby.
3. Royal Arch Trail (at Chautauqua Trailhead)
Okay, so Royal Arch trail isn’t a separate trailhead but is part of Chautauqua Trailhead. It’s a 0.8 mile hike that ends with stunning views of Colorado. You’ll pass the Tangen Spring on the way, and around each corner is a beautiful scene (or large rock to climb over), making this trail far from boring. And when you reach the Arch? Well, you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view and (if there aren’t many hikers that day) a peaceful atmosphere.
All of these trails made me fall even more in love with Boulder, a city with adventurous, startling happy people (which we need more of in this world) and a healthy, grass-roots lifestyle. Makes returning to Boulder a must in the near future!