Where are the best hiking trails close to Boulder? We’ve been hiking in and around Boulder, Colorado for years, profiling over 30 different trails. So, we decided to share here our favorite hikes near Boulder. These ten hikes will give you a variety of landscapes and experiences. You’ll find dog friendly hikes, hikes to summits, and waterfalls. And we’ll update it when a new hike strikes our fancy and pushes one of the others off the list. Explore this page for an overview. But there is more, as each hike has a detailed page with trail maps, driving directions, and photos.

dirt trail leading toward the flatirons of boulder colorado in chautauqua park wooden fence in foreground and broad meadows

  • First and Second Flatirons Hike

  • Distance: 2.6 Miles

    Difficulty: Moderate

    Let’s start with my favorite and probably the most classic hike in Boulder, the trail that leads between the 1st and 2nd Flatiorns in Chatauqua Park. The trail takes you across the open meadows of the park, then ascends up the long ridge of the Second Flatiron before passing through the gateway between the two stunning rock spires. The trail curves around to the back side of the First Flatiron where you can scramble up to a natural alcove and take in views of the snowcapped Rocky Mountains in the west. The photo at the top of this page with the pink sky is of the 2nd Flatiron. Explore our full trail profile for trail map, driving directions and more photos of the hike.

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    Hiker on summit of bear peak near boulder colorado

  • Bear Peak Summit Hike

  • Distance: 7.4 Miles Round Trip or 8.4 Mile Loop

    Difficulty: Difficult

    Bear Peak is located along the Flatirons range just south of Boulder, Colorado. The South Mesa Trailhead is one of our favorites because of the number and variety of hikes that start here. The hike up to Bear Peak starts out on a gradual ascent up the mesa, then follows the route of Fern Canyon until it breaks out into an open saddle between South Boulder and Bear Peaks. The last bit to the summit is a scramble along a real knife edge to its pointed peak.

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  • Eldorado Canyon State Park Trails

  • Distance: 0.5 to 7 Miles

    Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

    Eldorado Canyon is like entering another world. The high and narrow canyon walls shut out the distant sounds of the city and South Boulder Creek tumbles over cascades through the middle of the park. It’s a rock climbing mecca and quite popular, so you’ll need to go early and either pay the daypass fee or have a Colorado State Parks Pass to enter. Hikes in Eldorado Canyon State Park range from easy short jaunts along the creek or more demanding hikes up to the top.

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    boulder falls waterfall near boulder colorado pouring through canyon into creek below with grey rock cliffs

  • Boulder Falls

  • Distance: 100 Yards

    Difficulty: Easy

    Just a short drive out of Boulder, you’ll find one of the best waterfalls along the Front Range of Colorado. Boulder Falls requires a walk, not a hike, to take in its 70 foot plunge over a cliff face in Boulder Creek Canyon. Parking is roadside on a curving road, so be alert along the road. Climbing is prohibited inthe area around Boulder falls, so stay the trail and take in the beauty of this waterfall.

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    south mesa trail hike with ponderosa pines in foreground and flatirons mountains in background near boulder colorado

  • Mesa Trail: South Segment Hike

  • Distance: 8.4

    Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

    The southern segment of the Mesa Trail is my favorite easy hike near Boulder. The trail starts by crossing South Boulder creek then making its way through meadow grasses onto the expansive mesa, giving you views of the entire Flatirons and down into Eldorado Canyon. The ecosystem here where the foothills meet the prairie is unique, and you’ll take this in as the land makes a gentle roller-coaster, dipping into canyon draws and back into wooded areas of ponderosa pine.

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    green meadows along trail leading to gregory canyon and green mountain ascent in chautauqua park hike in boulder colorado

  • Green Mountain Summit Hike

  • Distance: 5.5

    Difficulty: Difficult

    Like the 1st and 2nd Flatirons, Green Mountain is situated on the north end of Chautauqua Park, right in the heart of Boulder. If you are looking for a challenging hike that takes you to a summit with 360 degree views, then Green Mountain is a great workout to great panoramas.

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    view of wide dirt trail at mount sanitas in boulder looking south to green mountain in boulder colorado ponderosa pine in foreground

  • Mt. Sanitas Hike

  • Distance: 2 and 3.1 Mile Loop Options

    Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

    Liesurely. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think about hiking Mt. Sanitas. Well, that’s true of the trail near the bottom of the mountain. The climb up is more challenging. Situated right in the heart of Boulder, the trails at the base of Mt. Sanitas may be the best place to walk your dog in town because of the broad trails, great views, and places for your pup to get a sip of water. Take the broad ridge trail up to the summit if you want to shift into workout mode and take in views of the city.

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    royal arch red rock formation in boulder's flatirons chautauqua park red rock arch with ponderosa pine in foreground

  • Royal Arch Hike in Chautauqua Park

  • Distance: 3.5 Mile

    Difficulty: Moderate

    The Royal Arch is a pink granite formation tucked back into the heart of the Flatirons range. This 3.5 mile, out-and-back hike. The hike climbs over 1000 feet in a short distance, as the trail makes its way up through narrow Bluebell canyon. Because of the many steps and because it’s a popular hike, we recommend not hiking to Royal Arch with your pup. But because of the uphill and many steps, this adventure makes for a great leg workout.

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    lost lake near nederland colorado with snow capped peaks and woman hiker

  • Lost Lake Hike in Indian Peaks Wilderness

  • Distance: 4 Mile

    Difficulty: Moderate

    Indian Peaks is so breathtaking, that we had to include at least one hike on the list from the closest wilderness area to Boulder. The Lost Lake hike is a moderate, out-and-back trek from the Hessie Trailhead, located about 45 minutes west of Boulder. Because the trailhead has limited parking and is a popular hiking and backpacking starting point, there is a shuttle that runs during the Summer months that you can pick up in the mountain town of Nederland. We love this hike because it gets you back in the heart of the mountains and offers landscapes similar to those in Rocky Mountain National Park. Check out the full trail profile for more details on the hike and the seasonal shuttle service.

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    View of South Boulder Peak from Bear Peak Near Boulder Colorado

  • South Boulder Peak Summit Hike

  • Distance: 7.4 Mile Out-and-Back or 8.7 Mile Loop Hikes

    Difficulty: Difficult

    We’ll finish up this list of best hikes near Boulder with a classic, South Boulder Peak. 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). Enjoy late-summer raspberries along the trail, and take in 360 degree views of the surrounding Colorado countryside.

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Dayhikes Near Denver has been serving the outdoor community of the Colorado Front Range since 2010. In 2020, we have launched a line of apparel designed by Colorado-based artists featuring Colorado peaks and landscapes. Check out our store for new designs and to wear clothing that shows off your love for our beautiful state.

Aaron Johnson


Aaron Johnson has been hiking in Colorado for over 20 years. The owner and editor of Dayhikes Near Denver, Aaron writes every trail profile as a local guide who has hiked hundreds of miles of trails along the Front Range and deep in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

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