It lines the trails, clings to hillsides, and turns an intensely deep red this time of year. This 3-plus-mile loop trail lives up to its name, serving up awesome views of Boulder’s fiery fall foliage as you ascend toward the upper flanks of the almost 7,000-foot Flagstaff Mountain. (Don’t worry – this isn’t poison sumac.) Meanwhile, cottonwoods and other deciduous trees provide colorful foliage and amber prairie grasses blow in the autumn breeze. Boulder might not be on the top of most fall hiking lists, but it’s a great option for hikers who want to stay close to Denver and Boulder. In September and October, it doesn’t get any better than the Mesa Trail. The best part is that you don’t have to be a hardcore trekker to soak it all in. Hiking is a way of life for most locals, but with so many options it’s hard to narrow down the most amazing family friendly hikes near Boulder. Enjoy a lighter pack now that you don’t need a gallon of water just to make it from the parking lot to the trailhead. When it comes to knowing what to do and whats going on in the numerous open spaces around Boulder, Lizzie is your girl. And if Boulder isn’t high enough for you (wink, wink), simply hop in the car and head north to Rocky Mountain National Park. To reach Boulder Falls, take Canyon Blvd. There’s several places a quick drive from Boulder to go check out the leaves. With bugling elk at every turn and aspen groves a plenty, RMNP is sure to delight. Time to Hike: 3.5-4.5 hours. The 7 best family friendly hikes near Boulder, Colorado. A brief boulder scramble awaits hikers on the way to the summit of Bear Peak. Here are some great leaf-peeping options within an easy drive of Denver or Boulder. It begins and ends at roughly the same elevation, but gains and loses over 1,000 feet as it rolls this transitional zone between the foothills and the plains. Once outside of Boulder, Canyon Blvd. west out of town. Can CBD help to keep your tolerance down? Starting near Ridgway, visitors can get an amazing view of Mount Sneffels, one of Colorado’s 58 fourteeners, and the expansive Sneffels Wilderness Area, which offers several hiking trails for those wishing to venture out farther. I’d expect lots of warm days in Boulder to come, but in the mountains, it is really starting to feel like fall. There’s nothing like the high country in autumn. Here are 3 perfect fall hikes in Boulder (easy, moderate, and strenuous) and one “all level” fall hike that’s just a short drive away. But of course there are so many more hikes that you can do in the area. Boulder’s Best: Great hikes to take near Boulder City Boulder City is an anomaly in Southern Nevada. However, Boulder is one of the best destinations for hiking because of its proximity to the mountains and the wide range of options within a five-minute drive from town. Best For: A mellow hike to enjoy the mountains near Boulder; Dogs: Leashed; Brainard Lake Recreation Area is located in Roosevelt National Forest and is a hub for trails leading into the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Each hike offers something a little different. Privacy Policy • Terms of Use • Disclaimer • Contact, Copyright © 2019 • All Rights Reserved • AboutBoulder.com • Metro Sampler. Bear Peak is a real bear of a hike, but that’s why it comes complete with stellar views and bragging rights. Also includes a side trip to Mamie Creek natural Bridge Show more The Top Fall Hikes in Colorado that You’ve Never Heard of. While this trail probably isn’t on the top of most fall hikes lists, it is great for those looking to stay close to Denver and Boulder. Note: Definitely check for weather and trail conditions before heading out. Fall is swiftly descending upon Boulder and that’s great news for hikers. Use this list to do some serious leaf peeping around Boulder. Many of the waterfall hikes near Boulder are located in Rocky Mountain National Park. Upon reaching Bear Canyon, be alert for wildlife. Say goodbye to those sweltering summer trail days and say hello to cooler temperatures and brand new scenery. Of the Colorado fall hikes that we've done so far, this one reminds me of the Maroon Bells, near Aspen. There are also many other ways to extend your hike. What makes Mesa so great in the fall? The full Bear Peak loop is approximately 8 miles and over 3,000 feet of elevation gain. Alli Fronzaglia is a hiking guide, naturalist, and community volunteer. Move over wildflowers – it’s time for blazing red sumac and golden cottonwoods. Cottonwood trees follow suit in October Bobcats and foxes may be spotted, too. Boulder, Colorado is a gateway to the beautiful Rocky Mountains. The Best 11 Activities to Do During Boulder Winters, The ULTIMATE Guide to Sledding in Boulder, This Beautiful Boulder Park is Also the City’s Origin Story. This makes… The only gear you really need is a fleece. She has a passion for spreading environmental knowledge and bringing nature straight to the people. Delivered to your inbox every Friday! This 6.9-mile trail may be accessed from Chautauqua Trailhead or South Mesa Trailhead. Colorado Hwy. In the fall, it also comes with great foliage. Customize Landscape Designs? When she's not hiking or running on Boulder's trails, Alli is hitting the water with her standup paddleboard. It’s just a small cluster to the left of the trail, but it’s a welcome sight as you painstakingly scramble the last few feet to the summit. Right away, you’ll pass upper and lower Copeland Falls. Migratory birds pass through in droves, herds of deer graze openly, and even bears may be spotted as they fuel up for the upcoming winter. At 8,459 feet, Bear Peak is the second-highest of the trio of the "Guardians of the Flatirons" peaks above Boulder’s famous rock structures, but it has the most exposed summit, complete with unobstructed 360-degree views. In the fall, wildlife is abundant at Wonderland Lake. Photo Credit: Alli Fronzaglia for YourBoulder.com – all rights reserved. Happy fall and happy trails, Boulderites! Some may opt to hike a shorter portion of Mesa as an out-and-back. Sign up for our FREE weekly email with Boulder's best events, concerts, happy hour deals, comedy shows and more. Merge onto Fowler Trail, a portion of the hike that runs atop an unfinished railroad grade. You can also to a moderate hike up to Lost Lake to extend your hike. The best part is that you don’t have to be a hardcore trekker to soak it all in. Many people simply drive around and then turn back. Mountain Bike at Kenosha Pass Best Hikes In Boulder Colorado – Bonus Hikes. And as you wind your way down the burn zone on the west ridge, you’ll see a variety of leafy shrubs in orange and yellow. It’s a sight to behold and it only lasts a few weeks, so hit the trail and catch it while you can. Lizzie works as a seasonal for City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, spending her days among the flora and fauna of Boulder both on and off the job. No matter your age, experience, or fitness level, there’s a fall hike out there with your name on it. Like the Bear Peak an Mesa Trail hikes, the 3.7 mile ascent up to the summit begins at the South Mesa Trailhead (see trail profile for parking fee details). It is an easy hike to wander around up to a waterfall on Boulder Creek and to wide open mountain meadow views full of aspen trees. The state of Colorado is a hiker’s heaven, with nearly unlimited opportunities to hit the trails no matter where you are, from Fort Collins to Durango. The air is a bit crisper, the days are a bit shorter, and our open space will soon be a bit more colorful. Decide whether you want to hike, run, bike, or simply drive, but be sure to get out and savor the spectacular fall foliage in Colorado. One word: Sumac. Let’s dive into the best fall hikes in Colorado to put on your bucket list this year. Take in the scenery on a hike: The best way to explore Colorado is on foot, and Frisco is no different. This easy, 3.6-mile hike starts near the Wild Basin Trailhead, in the southeast region of the park. Within the City of Boulder, we’re fortunate to have a variety of trails to suit anyone and everyone. Others may choose to make it part of a loop hike featuring Towhee, Homestead, Shanahan, or the Big Bluestem Trails. "As older (well over 40) hikers from the flatlands, we also had to take this trail with several rests, but those were good opportunities to hydrate." Check out these scenic hikes and explore the beauty surrounding Frisco! Before heading out, please consult OSMP.org for trail conditions and temporary closures. The park near Boulder can be at capacity in the summer, but in the fall you're virtually guaranteed entry on an abundance of trails, from quad-busters to easy strolls. Hiking the Flatirons near Boulder, Colorado is a must. The Best Places to See Boulder's Fall Colors. Alli serves on the board of the PLAY Boulder Foundation and she's the co-founder of Boulder Hiker Chicks. Consult the OSMP map for all the options. This is a popular loop hike that takes you into Death Hollow Canyon to the junction of the Escalate River, Then up the Escalante River to the Historic Boulder Mail Trail which returns back to the Boulder Mail Trailhead. This is a stunning hike near Aspen with plenty of colorful aspen trees. An illustrated guide to the best hikes and hiking trails in Boulder, Colorado At 8,549 feet, it’s the tallest of the five major peaks in Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks. 62 over the Dallas Divide represents an epic fall Colorado drive. To help you make the most of your remaining snow-free time, we assembled this list of the best fall hikes near Denver. Hiking up the Dakota Ridge or near the red rocks above Settler’s Park are my best–kept secrets for viewing fall colors close to Boulder.” Here’s some basic information about route and elevation as well as the more general information about the Mount Sanitas trailhead which intersects. 3. Wonderland is, indeed, a wonder-full place to be this time of year. So that is our top 10 best hikes near Boulder. No matter your age, experience, or fitness level, there’s a fall hike out there with your name on it. 4. This 2.9-mile hike is fairly difficult but the views across the Continental Divide make all the effort worth it. Every fall, as the breezes off the Flatirons turns crisp and cool, Boulder's cottonwoods change from green to yellow, aspen leaves quiver and take on a brilliant golden hue, and maples become ablaze in fiery reds. Thomson20192. The 1.8-mile hike to Emerald Lake (one-way) is suitable for most levels and features some truly incredible fall scenery. Last Update: January 2, 2021. All Terrain Landscaping’s Got You, 4 Restaurants to Pickup Curbside Cuisine This Weekend in Boulder, What to Do While Quarantined or Social Distancing This Weekend. Within the City of Boulder, we’re fortunate to have a variety of trails to suit anyone and everyone. Wonderland Lake features a 1.5-mile loop trail that’s ideal for kids, out-of-towners, beginning hikers, or anyone looking for a peaceful, easy going stroll. Your Boulder is a weekly email newsletter that will keep you informed with the latest news, events, restaurant deals, local real estate and personal stories. There's even more though. The flat, well-maintained trail encircles a serene wetland habitat while offering gorgeous views of the foothills and the plains. Originally from New England, she and her family have settled down in Boulder for the long haul. Continue along Fowler for views of grassy Shadow Canyon and South Boulder Peak. It's kind of like Vail's version of the Maroon Bells because the mountains are big and right there in front of you, (like the Maroon Bells), and the hiking trail goes straight towards them, through lots of … Hiking the First Flatiron is a 2.9-mile round trip hike that’s fairly difficult. After graduating from the University of Texas with a Geography: Environmental Resource Management degree, she came to Salida, CO to work in the San Juan National Forest and surrounding areas on a trail crew. Once the aspen trees start to turn its a narrow window of time to see the mountains shrouded in gold. 9 Short And Sweet Hikes Near Denver With A Spectacular End View It’s prime time to get out and explore the radiant gold, orange, and red leaves in all their splendor here in Colorado. Follow signs for Nederland. Your email address will not be published. Fall is here, and with the cooler temperatures, stable weather and glut of aspen gold, it’s one of the best seasons to get out for a hike. It is Fall! 1. Only a short drive from a major metropolis, the town that built Hoover Dam is surrounded by a diverse range of terrains and outdoor excursions. Once you’re on the summit, take a moment to admire the city’s fall foliage as seen from 8,461 feet. The trailhead to begin the hikes lies about 50 minutes northwest of Denver and then a brisk 5 minute trek. Mesa Trail can be incorporated into a variety of hikes. Experience this colorful time to the fullest with these four hikes near Boulder. It’s the best time of year to be a hiker in Colorado. We are past Labor Day (usually the official end of summer), but we still have a few days until the Autumnal Equinox on September 23. Previously she has worked for Boulder County Parks and Open Space, other trail crews, and as an environmental educator. Conditions in the park can be vastly different from conditions in Boulder. Fallen leaves float down to be whisked away by Boulder Creek and the foothills glow with brilliant color. The shuttle runs 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays until October 4. It’s a very dramatic landscape. The dramatic, striated walls of Eldorado Canyon State Park are just 20 minutes south of Boulder, and its full of hiking, biking, and outdoor recreation opportunities. Panorama Point. 5 Fun Hiking Activities to Try with Your Kids This Fall Fall is a fantastic time for hiking: the weather’s cooler, the foliage is beautiful, and wildlife sighting opportunities abound. Rattlesnake Gulch is a moderate hiking option that will take you past spectacular views of the canyon and Colorado’s eastern plains in the distance. This custom list of hikes gives you the best of hiking in the Colorado mountains during the fall season. becomes Highway 119. She writes to inspire others to get outside and play. We’ll finish up this list of best hikes near Boulder with a classic, South Boulder Peak. The trail draws you across an green meadow, then up through a notch between the First and Second Flatiron. Cottonwoods are popular along the Bobolink, South Boulder Creek, Boulder Valley Ranch, the Cottonwood trail or along the Coal Creek trail in Louisville. It can be done by itself from one end to the other, if a ride is arranged at the finish. Yes, bears reside here as the name suggests and they’re very active in early to mid fall. But not you! The standard route up Fern Canyon is a lung buster, but near the top you’ll see one of the only natural aspen groves in the city. AboutBoulder.com is a locally-owned and operated directory and information guide for Boulder County Colorado, MetroSampler.com Announces Partnership with JNH Lifestyles, MetroSampler.com Announces its Family of Websites, About Boulder Blog post on Hessie Trailhead. "Great hike, My favorite work out trail, Steep uphill in forest, great view at the top." And since snow and ice are not an issue (yet! You can go at any time of the day – the crowds have thinned and mid-day heat is no longer an issue. South Boulder Creek or Boulder Valley Ranch And as the weather cools down at 5,400′, the Cottonwoods will put shine in turn. This includes Calypso Cascades. Boulder Colorado Hiking. ), there’s no need for traction or gaiters. You'll find the best part of this hike in the Flatirons at the end of the trail: some breathtaking and unmatched views of Colorado's Rocky Mountains. 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Bluestem trails our top 10 best hikes near Boulder part of a hike: 3.5-4.5 hours Ranch...