Trail Snapshot: Gregory Canyon to Realization Point
- Hike Distance: 2.4 to 5.7 miles Round Trip
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Duration: 2-3 hr Round Trip
- Trail Type: Out & Back
- Starting Elevation: 5600′
- Elevation Gain: Approx. +900′ (Gregory Canyon Segment)
- Seasons: Year Round
- Dogs: Allowed On Leash
- Hike Trail Map: Click for a Map of Gregory Canyon Trail to Realization Point in Boulder
- Denver Drive Time: 35 min
- Driving Directions to Gregory Canyon Trailhead: Click for Google Map
- Town Nearest Hike: Boulder, Colorado
- Beauty: Canyon, wildflowers, summit views, forest, rocky hillsides, wildlife: mule deer, coyote, mountain lion, bear, red-tailed hawk, fox.
- Activities: Hiking, photography
Parking & Trailhead Information for Gregory Canyon
The Hike: Gregory Canyon Trail to Realization Point
In addition to its proximity to Boulder, this hike sports a number of options and a variety of landscapes. The stretch between Gregory Canyon Trailhead and Realization Point Trailhead is the main artery of all the options in this profile. Because most hikers will begin their adventure at Chautauqua Park, there are a couple 1/2 mile (one-way) approaches: the Baseline Trail or the Meadow Trail. On the upper end of the hike, at Realization Point Trailhead, there are two different loop options that offer beautiful views to the West of seasonal snowcapped peaks. These are the Rangeview/Ute Loop and the Tenderfoot Loop. You can review each of the hike options below to decide which trail combination is best for you.
Gregory Canyon Trailhead to Realization Point Trailhead – 2.4 Miles Round Trip
This segment constitutes the main artery for all the hike options below. The Gregory Canyon Trail begins in the shade along Gregory Canyon Creek and climbs gradually to 0.5 mile where it crosses another small creek. Here the trail becomes more steep, making its way up a ridge via a set of switchbacks. Then the trail descends to a junction. At the junction, the Northern (right) segment leads a short distance up to Flagstaff Road and the Realization Point Trailhead (the destination for this hike as described here), or South (left) to the Long Canyon and Ranger Trails. After hiking the short segment to Flagstaff road, Realization Point Trailhead will be located across the street to the North. Be sure to watch for both cars and cyclists before crossing. If starting at Chautauqua Park and taking the Baseline or Meadow Trails to the Gregory Canyon Trailhead, add approximately 1 mile to this hike, making it 3.4 miles Round Trip.
Gregory Canyon Trailhead to Realization Point Trailhead + Rangeview/Ute Loop – 3.2 Miles Round Trip
After traveling the 1.1 miles up through the canyon to Realization Point, hikers will find two loop options. The first is the shorter Rangeview/Ute Loop. This loop makes a 0.8-mile clockwise circuit around Flagstaff Mountain then joins back up to the trailhead. The loop offers views to the mountains in the West and great viewpoints to take in the changing aspens in the Fall. If starting at Chautauqua Park, add approximately 1 mile to this hike, making it 4.2 miles Round Trip.
Gregory Canyon Trailhead to Realization Point Trailhead + Tenderfoot Loop – 4.7 Miles Round Trip
From Realization Point Trailhead, the Tenderfoot Trail bears to the left (Northwest) and makes for a more demanding loop when compared to the Rangeview/Ute Trail because of both the added distance and the additional elevation loss and gain. At its most northern point, hikers will find a short spur trail leading to a small peak that affords expansive views to the West. If starting at Chautauqua Park, add approximately 1 mile to this hike, making it 5.7 miles Round Trip. By adding the spur trail, it becomes closer to 6 miles total.
Both loop hikes afford multiple opportunities for taking in views out to the Rocky Mountains. The photo below was taken along the beginning segment of the Rangeview Trail.
Video of Gregory Canyon Hike
Tips & Resources for Hiking Gregory Canyon
- Poison Ivy: The canyon trail segment has a good deal of poison ivy trailside. Be aware and stay the traill
- Stay the Trail: Bear and Mountain Lion frequent this area of Boulder. It’s wise to stay the trail and to hike with others.
- Trail Map: Trail Map for Gregory Canyon to Realization Point in Boulder
- Boulder Parks Area Dog Regulations Map
- Boulder Area Dog Regulations Map
- Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get the list and dayhiking packing checklist.
- Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
- After the Hike: Alpine Modern Cafe
Map & Driving Directions
Click for Driving Directions