19 Fun Hikes Near Boulder, Colorado (Easy to Expert)
As soon as you set eyes on Boulder, it’s obvious it’s a great place for hiking! You can explore the Flatirons (those flat red rocks that jut into the sky in the background), along with plenty of lakes, streams, and other mountain trails.
Boulder is also only an hour from Rocky Mountain National Park, so while I’m mostly focusing on hiking trails in town, I’ll throw in a few suggestions there for you, too. As a Colorado local who’s hiked many of these trails, I’m confident that several of these best hikes near Boulder, Colorado will fit your interests and abilities!
Also, be sure to check out my list of 29 fun things to do in Boulder, Colorado for even more activities in the area!
Table of Contents
- 19 Best Hikes Near Boulder
- Flatirons Vista Trail
- Mesa Trail: Eldorado Springs to Chautauqua
- Eldorado Canyon Trail
- Isabelle Glacier Trail
- Wonderland Lake Loop Trail
- Mount Sanitas
- Green Mountain West
- Red Rocks Trail
- First and Second Flatirons
- Bear Peak
- Boulder Falls
- Royal Arch
- Lost Lake Trail
- Rattlesnake Gulch
- Arapaho Pass Trail
- Bald Mountain Scenic Area Pine to Peak Loop
- Sprague Lake
- Bear Lake to Fern Lake
- Longs Peak
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19 Best Hikes Near Boulder
Flatirons Vista Trail
One of many easy hikes in Boulder, perfect for an after-work walk
🥾 Easy | 2.3 miles | Google Maps | Flatirons Vista Trail Website | 7 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: free
Much of the best hiking in Boulder, Colorado offers views of the Flatirons. You’ll see those rock formations on much of this flat trail, which is a great spot for an after-work walk. Be sure to watch for wildlife and wildflowers!
Mesa Trail: Eldorado Springs to Chautauqua
Hike along the base of the Flatirons
🥾 Moderate | 6.2 miles | Google Maps | Chautauqua Website | 5 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: free
The Mesa Trail runs along the Flatirons and connects Chautauqua Park with Eldorado Canyon Road. Watch for wildlife and wildflowers along the way, and there are lots of spurs and turnoffs for various hiking options.
Eldorado Canyon Trail
Waterfall and canyon views are abundant on this Eldorado Canyon State Park route
🥾 Moderate/Difficult | 6.6 miles | Google Maps | Eldorado Canyon Website | 24 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: $10 Daily Vehicle fee
Easily one of the best hikes in Boulder, this trail at Eldorado Canyon State Park has beautiful views of the canyon and the mountains (plus a waterfall!) and ends at south Boulder Creek where you can cool off.
🥾 Read Next: The 15 Top Hikes in Colorado
Isabelle Glacier Trail
See gorgeous views of the Rockies at Brainard Lake Recreation Area
🥾 Difficult | 8.4 miles | Google Maps | Isabelle Glacier Trail Website | 52 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: $12 Daily Use Vehicle fee
This is a gorgeous hike through the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Start at the Long Lake trailhead, and you’ll pass several pools and get gorgeous views of the Rockies.
👉 Pro Tip: Brainard Lake has a timed entry system during the summer. Be sure to plan ahead!
Wonderland Lake Loop Trail
If you’re looking for scenic but easy hikes near Boulder, add this spot to your list
🥾 Easy | 1.5 miles | Google Maps | Wonderland Lake Website | 7 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: free
Wonderland Lake in North Boulder is a flat loop that heads around the lake. You’ll get views of the Flatirons, and you may see paragliders taking off from Wonderland Hill.
An iconic Boulder trail offering both mountain and city views
🥾 Hard | 1.3 miles | Google Maps | Mt. Sanitas Website | 5 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: free
It’s just a short drive from downtown Boulder to this hiking trail! The trail is short but steep, meaning you might be sucking air by the time you get up the stairs to the summit. You’ll get everything from open meadows to rock outcroppings, and there are places to go bouldering.
👉 My Favorite Gear: Trekking poles can be a huge help on steep hikes! Browse options from REI.
Green Mountain West
A gradual climb to the top of Boulder’s Green Mountain
🥾 Moderate | 3.7 miles | Google Maps | Green Mountain West Website | 22 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: free
The Green Mountain West trail starts out easy, but when you get to the summit at the end, you’ll be working hard! Fortunately, you’re rewarded with beautiful views of the city from atop Green Mountain at the end.
Red Rocks Trail
One of the best Boulder hikes to see red rock formations up close
🥾 Easy to Moderate | 0.7 miles | Google Maps | Red Rocks Website | 4 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: free
Start the Red Rocks Trail at the Centennial Trailhead, where you’ll head up a ridge and then near the red rocks themselves. You’ll end at The Peoples’ Crossing (formerly known as Settler’s Park).
👉 My Favorite Gear: Bug spray is hugely helpful in spring and summer! I like this set by Ranger Ready, which includes both a body and a clothing spray.
First and Second Flatirons
Hike up the famed backdrop of Boulder, Colorado
🥾 Moderate | 2.6 miles | Google Maps | First & Second Flatirons Website | 8 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: free
This trail begins at Chautauqua Park and heads between the First and Second Flatirons. You’ll get beautiful meadow views at first, then of the city and Flatirons, and of the Rocky Mountains beyond. It’s one of the most popular hikes in Boulder, Colorado.
Challenge yourself on this Boulder trek and enjoy panoramic views at the summit
🥾 Difficult | 8.1 miles | Google Maps | Bear Peak Website | 32 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: $5
A 2,000-foot elevation gain makes this a lung-buster, but a great workout especially on the last mile before you summit. You can combine this with South Boulder Peak for a longer hike if you’re up for the challenge!
👉 Want More Front Range Hikes? Be sure to check out my list of the best hiking trails around Denver for more ideas.
A family-friendly waterfall trail in nearby Nederland
🥾 Easy | 0.3 miles | Google Maps | Boulder Falls Website | 50 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: free
This is a popular, easy trail that ends at the falls. Bring a picnic and enjoy the view! If you have children, it’s definitely one of the best things to do in Boulder with kids.
👉 My Favorite Gear: I love picnic backpacks because they keep your hands free, which is helpful when hiking with children.
Stand beneath a massive arch in Chautauqua Park
🥾 Difficult | 4 miles | Google Maps | Royal Arch Website | 14 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: free
From the Chautauqua Trail, follow signs to the Royal Arch Trail for a different kind of red rock formation. The hike is steep and rocky but (of course!) beautiful.
Lost Lake Trail
A beautiful, popular trail in the Indian Peaks Wilderness offering some of the best hiking near Boulder
🥾 Moderate | 4.4 miles | Google Maps | Lost Lake Website | 41 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: free
A beautiful trail to an alpine lake that’s popular not only with day hikers but backpackers as well. After you get to the lake, you can continue on to Devil’s Thumb or King Lake Trail…or head back.
👉 Pro Tip: During the popular summer months, you’ll need to park at Nederland High School and take the free shuttle to the trailhead.
Expansive canyon views and Wild West ruins make this one of the more unique Boulder hiking trails
🥾 Moderate | 3.6 miles | Google Maps | Rattlesnake Gulch Trail Website | 23 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: $10 Daily Vehicle Fee
This Eldorado Canyon hiking trail has amazing canyon views, and you’ll pass the remains of the historic Crags Hotel, built in 1908 but destroyed 5 years later in a fire.
Arapaho Pass Trail
Trek the Fourth of July Mine in Nederland
🥾 Moderate | 4.1 miles | Google Maps | Arapaho Pass Trail Website | 58 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: free
Lots of amazing hiking trails near Boulder start at the Fourth of July Trailhead in Nederland. This one takes you to the Fourth of July Mine and there are lots of options to continue on from there.
Bald Mountain Scenic Area Pine to Peak Loop
A great picnic spot and one of the best easy Boulder hikes
🥾 Easy | 1 miles | Google Maps | Bald Mountain Scenic Area Website | 12 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: free
This is an easy loop trail at the top of Bald Mountain that gives you a panoramic view of the Continental Divide and the Rocky Mountains, all the way to the Great Plains. It’s also a beautiful picnic spot.
See breathtaking views at Rocky Mountain National Park
🥾 Easy | 0.8 mile | Google Maps | Website | One hour and 41 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: $25
This is a very flat, easy 0.8 mile walk around a lake that beautifully reflects the mountains behind it. You may see wildlife — we once saw a moose and her babies standing in the water to drink.
Sprauge Lake makes a great day trip outing from Boulder if you’re looking to get away into nature.
Bear Lake to Fern Lake
Hike past several alpine lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park
🥾 Moderate | 7.8 miles | Google Maps | Website | One hour drive from Boulder | Cost: $25
This Rocky Mountain National Park hike includes several Colorado lakes beside Bear and Fern Lake. It also gives you beautiful views of Longs, Pagoda, and Chiefs Head Peak along the way. You can also make this a one-way hike by getting a lift on the park shuttle back to your car from Fern Lake.
The Bear Lake trailhead is at the end of Bear Lake Road, 9 miles from the turn-off at Highway 36.
👉 Pro Tip: The park is on a timed entry system during warmer months so be sure to plan ahead!
An extreme hike in Rocky Mountain National Park that climbs atop a 14,000-foot peak
🥾 Expert | 14.8 miles | Google Maps | Website | One hour and 27 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: $25
The Keyhole Route at Longs Peak is very popular, thanks to the mountain’s short distance from Boulder. But be warned — it’s an extremely difficult hike and definitely not for beginners!
You’ll want some rock climbing experience, and you’ll need a helmet. Many people start this hike between 2-3 a.m. to avoid any chance of lightning storms.
🥾 Read Next: 15 Best Colorado Hiking Trails
There are tons of hiking trails near Boulder, but these are some of the best! For more Colorado adventures, be sure to check out my list of the top 33 things to do in the state of Colorado. Happy trails!
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