One of the wonderful things about Boulder culture is that everyone loves to be outside all the time. Unfortunately, that makes for crowded trails and busy trailheads. Part of the experience of the great outdoors is solitude with nature, and that can be a challenging thing to find in Boulder. Lucky for you, we’ve found some less-trafficked diamonds in the rough to feed that need to be alone in the wilderness.

  1. Anemone Hill

Credit: James Dziezynski, Rootsrated

Anemone Hill is a perfect solution for the introvert hiker who doesn’t want to drive far. This pleasant 2.4-mile out-and-back hike shares a parking lot with Mount Sanitas, but branches off to a peaceful view of Boulder, quiet time passing through a burn zone, stunning quartz blocks, and views of the Indian Peaks Wilderness and Boulder Canyon. Get a workout with your pup on this 1,000ft ascent and get away from it all for a minute of quiet contemplation close to home.

  1. Forsythe Canyon


This delightfully shady 2-mile out-and-back hike will take you past a creek, lake, and waterfall. The trailhead is a little bit hard to spot, so you will be alone with your thoughts on this gentle meandering path through a canyon. Cool off by dipping your hands in the reservoir, and go early in the season to get peak snowmelt shots of the waterfall. This is an excellent hike to do with dogs and children, and spend a shady afternoon in solitude only a few miles outside Boulder.

  1. Shadow Canyon

Credit: Denise Lynch,

If you’re looking for a short steep trek through desolate burn zones to a breathtaking summit, Shadow Canyon is for you. Climb 2,000 feet over the course of 8 miles on this lightly-trafficked loop to get away from the crowds, get some exercise, and commune with nature. Pups are welcome on this challenging trail, and you’ll only be joined by those brave enough to undertake the trek.

  1. Gem Lake

Credit: Jeannie Yu, Alltrails

Drive a few miles north of Boulder to Glen Haven for this literal hidden gem. You’ll see some other hikers on this 3-mile trail, but there are no dogs allowed, and it’s a bit out of the way, so you’ll find plenty of solitude here. Ascend 990 feet along the out-and-back trail to great views of Estes and Rocky Mountain National Park, and dip your feet in the frigid snowmelt of the lake at the top.

1. Sky Pond


Rocky Mountain National Park draws visitors from around the world, and it’s easy to see why. Beat the crowds by taking this stunning 9-mile out-and-back trail that will work up a sweat—it’s totally worth it. See Bear Lake, Alberta Falls, and Loch Vale, and other beautiful sights along the way to Sky Pond, your ultimate destination. Because of its length and difficulty, this trail is very lightly trafficked, and you’ll be alone with your thoughts and your pounding pulse most of the way along this beautiful hike.