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For those who have lived in the Boulder County area and have been hiking, Chautauqua Park is a well-known destination for weekend hiking or a morning workout. Chautauqua was bought by the Boulder citizens in 1898 to preserve and enjoy the land, and ever since it has been enjoyed by many. If you have just moved to Boulder or are planning a trip to Boulder, Chautauqua is a must for hikers.

Though Chautauqua is a “must” for hikers, I would caution those who don’t go hiking often. Chautauqua is a steep climb and not for the faint of heart; though those who do choose to hike the Chautauqua trails are rewarded with beautiful views of the city below and Boulder County beyond, as well as opportunities to Boulder and climb the Flatirons. You may also see wildlife such as bears, mountain lions, deer, coyotes, birds, chipmunks, and squirrels, and a variety of trees and flowers.

Chautauqua trail begins at the trailhead and leads to most of the other trails. It is a little over half a mile long with a 440 foot elevation gain. From Chautauqua trail you can take most of the other trails including Baseline Trail (0.4 miles; 60 foot gain), Mesa Trail (6.9 miles; 410 foot gain), Royal Arch (0.8 miles; 880 foot gain), Woods Quarry (0.3 miles; 230 foot), First-Second Flatiron Trail (1.1 miles; 960 foot gain), Second-Third Flatiron Trail (0.3 mi; 300 foot gain), and Third Flatiron Climbing Access Trail (0.5 mi; 650 foot gain).

As with many of the hiking trails, you are able to tailor your hike to your needs and time available to hike; making your hike as long or short as you want. Be sure to check out The City of Boulder’s website for a map, and more info to plan your hike. Also, as I have hiked Chautauqua I have noticed many hikers wearing flimsy shoes: check out last week’s blog for advice on proper hiking attire and shoes that will help you avoid injury and more fully enjoy your hike.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • The trailhead is located off of Baseline near Grant Street.
  • Restrooms are at the trailhead in the Ranger Cottage.
  • A small parking lot is available, otherwise street parking can be used in the surrounding neighborhoods, and bike racks are available.

Happy Adventuring!