I'll have the good part of a Saturday to enjoy in Boulder, Colorado on 18 May. What is a suitable area for a day, loop hike close to the city? My criterion for "close" is that the start of the trail can be reached with at most 30 minutes cycling or a short bus ride. By a "day hike" I mean around 5–6 hours not counting breaks. By "loop" I mean that it ends where it starts, not necessarily that no part of the trail is walked twice.

I've found a handful of hikes at Wikiloc and quite many at OSMP, but most hikes appear quite short, less than 6–7 km. Via wikiloc I find one hike between 5 and 10 mi in length, but this is not a loop so poses logistic issues. Is there any other place where I can filter hikes near Boulder by length and 'loop vs line'?


1 Answer 1


SW of Boulder you have a few trails that you could combine into a loop. I've done those many times. You can start the hike from here for example:

  • 2350-2432 Cragmoor Rd, Boulder, CO 80305 (Google Maps: 39.968656,-105.263094)
  • Cragmoor-Hardscrabble Trail
  • N Fork Shanahan
  • Shanahan-Mesa
  • Hike up on Fern Canyon Trail to the peak
  • Follow the trail back down going South
  • Connect to Mesa Trail
  • Shanahan Connector to S Fork Shanahan
  • Hardscrabble Connector
  • Back to where you started from.

It all depends on how fast you hike at this elevation. It is about 3000ft elevation change. The hike starts at about 5500 and the peak is over 8000. I don't remember exactly. I've done it in 5 hours before in over 90 degrees summer day without rushing.

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