If you want to do a fun hike in the Boulder area that is a moderate to difficult level (there are a couple steep and rugged stretches), try the Mount Sanitas Trail. It is just minutes away from downtown Boulder. I usually park on Mapleton Avenue just West of 4th street. The hike takes an hour or 2 depending how quickly you move, and it has great views of the surroundings. The trail is 3.1 mile long, and the net elevation gain is 1,323 feet. Dogs are allowed.
You can hike Mt. Sanitas trails in a number of ways. That’s what makes it amazing. Each time can be a different experience. If you want to start climbing up steeper terrain right away, go to the left at the start of the trailhead. If you want to ease into the hike, go to the right up the long valley. Or, if you like you can wander more East along the Dakota Ridge Trail. If you follow either of the Eastern side routes the steep part comes later as you climb up to the peak along the East Ridge Trail, and then return to the start downwards along the Western ridge. All routes, and all paths in the area are fun to try.
Here is some nice looking rock halfway up to the peak, along the more Western part of the loop.
Here is a look West of the trail.
And here I am standing on top of the summit with Boulder behind me down below.
This is the view just after going over the peak, and descending down the front East side of the trail looking towards South Boulder. All along the way, you can pause and take in amazing views.
After you go over the peak, you twist and turn your way on the path descending into a big valley. Below, is the view on your right facing West. You would have hiked along the entire ridge left to right making your way to the peak of Mount Sanitas which is further to the right in this photo.
What a gorgeous green Spring it was this year in Boulder.
Now you have an easy going walk South down the valley back to the trailhead on Mapleton.
If you have more time on your hands after the hike, cross Sunshine Canyon Drive and go South from the parking lot and walk around the Red Rocks Trail. Here is the view of the entire Mt. Sanitas hike from the Red Rocks trail.
So there you have it, the wonderful Mount Sanitas trail in Boulder Colorado. I have done it many times, and will do it many times more!