8 Easy Mountains to Summit Right in Your Backyard
Despite the occasional snow this winter, there has been many beautiful days for hiking. While you may not be ready for a winter Fourteener, I think you can definitely summit some of these super close beautiful mountains with amazing views. Just be sure to bring your crampons! Although some of these trails at the right time you may not need the crampons. My list gets progressively harder, so start at the top and climb your way up to the tops of those mountains first.
1. Bald Mountain, 1.5 miles one way: From Boulder, head west on Mapleton and on up about 7 miles on Sunshine Canyon. The small Boulder County Parks and Open Space parking lot will be on your left. This short hike is scenic and a quick trip to get to an amazing 360 degree peak view. You’ll see the skyline of Denver as well as the Continental Divide on a clear day. There is a option to take a shorter, steeper trail straight to the top too if you just want to get up there.
2. Sugarloaf Mountain, ~1 mile one way: It’s just a short drive up Canyon from Boulder (and a few more miles up Sugarloaf road). Although the hike is slightly shorter than Bald Mountain, this hike gains a lot more elevation quickly. The parking area is a little rough so be aware for those of you with very low clearance vehicles. The top affords an amazing view, but is very exposed so bring warm clothing.
3. Flagstaff Mountain, 1.5 miles one way: This is a pretty steep hike, but gives access to a lovely eastern views along the way and spectacular western views at the top from Realization point and Panorama point. I also say this is more difficult because you have to cross Flagstaff road several times- cars are driving slowly, but still that is still a hazard.
4. Sanitas Mountain, ~3 mile loop or out and back: Sanitas is a well known Boulder favorite, and a pretty short hike to summit a mountain for awesome eastern views. You can make it a loop or take the steep way up and down or the not so steep way. I recommend being kind to your knees and trying to take the further west trail up instead of down, as it is mostly stairs the whole way.
5. The Flatirons, ~2.6 miles one way: The link describes hiking Flatiron #1 and #2, popularly paired together. I did this hike last summer, starting from Chautauqua. Most of the hike is fairly easy, though there are a few sticky situations where you will need to pull yourself up, etc, so it may not be a good hike to bring your grandma on. You end up with a pretty cool eastern view, and just just a neat look at the big rocks that are iconic to Boulder.
6. Green Mountain, 5.4 miles round trip: This is a amazing hike. I think particularly so during summer (because I’m a plant nerd), but regardless you will still travel through several different ecosystems and a variety of scenery. The hike is challenging and steep at parts and due to large stretches of hiking on bare rock you will likely need your crampons in winter.
7 and 8. South Boulder Peak and Bear Mountain, ~6 miles round trip: First off you can get to Shadow Canyon Trail (which is the easiest way to access South Boulder Peak) a number of ways (I don’t even remember which way I took when I last climbed it). Second, these 2 mountains are usually summited on the same hike because there’s a nice saddle between them from which its 0.3 miles to summit South Boulder and 0.3 miles to Bear Mountain. The hike is fairly steep up Shadow Canyon Trail (Its rated as “Difficult” on my map). And as you might have guessed, it is fairly shaded on Shadow Canyon, so winter foot wear is recommended.
Have fun with these popular Boulder Mountains!