View of the Flatirons in Chautauqua Park

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, we’ll throw in a few suggestions there for you, too. You’re sure to find hikes near Boulder to fit your 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!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

19 Best Hikes Near Boulder

Flatirons Vista Trail

Boulder

View of the Flatirons Vista Trail and a wide grass field

Easy | 2.3 miles | Google Maps | Flatirons Vista Trail Website | 7 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: free

This is a flat trail with continual views of the Boulder Flatirons. It’s a great spot for an after-work walk – be sure to watch for wildlife and wildflowers! 

Mesa Trail: Eldorado Springs to Chautauqua 

Boulder

View of Chautauqua Trail from a far and a wooden fence

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 if you want to change up your hike. 

Eldorado Canyon Trail

Boulder

View of the Eldorado Canyon Trail and a rocky river

Moderate/Difficult | 6.6 miles | Google Maps | Eldorado Canyon Website | 24 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: $10 Daily Vehicle fee

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. 

Isabelle Glacier Trail

Brainard Lake Recreation Area

View of the reflection of Isabelle Glacier Trail in Brainard Lake

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

North Boulder

View of the sunset in Wonderland Lake

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.

Mount Sanitas

Boulder

View of the Mount Sanitas Trail

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! I like these from REI

Green Mountain West

Boulder

View of the Flatirons in Green Mountain West

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

Boulder

View of mountains in Settler's Park

Easy to Moderate | 0.7 miles | Google Maps | Red Rocks Website | 4 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: free

Red Rocks is one of the most popular places to visit in Colorado, not just for the music but also for the incredible hiking trails! 

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

Boulder

View of the Flatirons in Chautauqua Park

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.

Bear Peak

Boulder

View of Bear Peak from above

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.

Boulder Falls

Nederland

View of a rocky small waterfall in Boulder

Easy | 0.3 miles | Google Maps | Boulder Falls Website | 50 minute drive from Boulder | Cost: free

This is a popular, easy trail that’s great for kids and ends at the falls. Bring a picnic and enjoy the view!

👉 My Favorite Gear: I love picnic backpacks because they keep your hands free to handle kids! This one is great for short hikes with lunch at the end.

Royal Arch

Chautauqua Park

View of rock formation which is called Royal Arch

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 for a different kind of red rock formation. The hike is steep and rocky but (of course!) beautiful. 

Lost Lake Trail

Indian Peaks Wilderness

View of a reflection of a mountain in Lost lake

Moderate | 4.4 miles | Google Maps | Lost Lake Wplaebsite | 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. 

Rattlesnake Gulch

Boulder

View of Rattlesnake Gulch from Eldorado State Park

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

Nederland

View of the Arapaho Pass Trail near Eldorado

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

Boulder

View of the Bald Mountain Scenic Area

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. 

Sprague Lake

Rocky Mountain National Park

View of the Sprague Lake and a mountain on the background

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

Rocky Mountain National Park

View of the Fern Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Moderate | 7.8 miles | Google Maps | Website | One hour drive from Boulder | Cost: $25

This hike includes several 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!

Longs Peak

Rocky Mountain National Park 

View of the Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park

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. 

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There are tons of hiking trails near Boulder, but these are some of the best! Do you have a favorite hiking trail near Boulder? Tell us about it in the comments!

For more Colorado adventures, be sure to check out my list of the top 33 things to do in the state of Colorado. It’s filled with tons of fun activities all around the Centennial State!

Happy trails!

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