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Secret Trails to Boulder’s Dream Canyon: Our HIDDEN Foothill Escape Gem

Dream Canyon is as well known for its seclusion as it is for its hidden location. Tucked behind Boulder Falls, it is only accessible from the behind the Falls, off Sunshine Canyon more or less. It’s location is marked by, well, by nothing. Here are some clues to help find it. With these clues and a topo, you can find it. Do not, I mean do NOT go down the cliff to get to the bottom of the canyon, 800′ or 250 meters below. However, if you walk a little further down the “trail,” you’ll find yourself on a dirt “road” that will take you to the bottom of the canyon without the exposure of a cliff. I know this because I’ve used both routes. Please skip the cliff unless you are up to that challenge. HINT!! The biggest gem in this blog is the link to free topographic maps!

Dream Canyon is a hidden gem located in the foothills of Boulder, Colorado, known for its natural beauty and secluded spots. It’s situated behind Boulder Falls. Access is “typically” through Sunshine Canyon. Here are some key points about Dream Canyon:

Location and Access

The coordinates for Dream Canyon in the foothills of Boulder, Colorado, are approximately:

  • Latitude: 40.0143° N
  • Longitude: -105.3815° W
  • Definitely do not rely upon this location information or map without verification. Google Maps areal view might help. An “old timer” might help, although I don’t know if my memory is up to the challenge. This Boulder Mountain’s gem could be named “Lost Canyon” or even “Hidden Canyon” or perhaps “Dream Canyon”. One possible source of a “modern” topo is from webmap.onxmaps.
  • This is a perfect application for an “old fashioned” topographic map. As Boulderites, this is a topo that should live in our day packs. Hopefully a tent and several days food and water will not be needed!
  • The trail on this map is the VERY faint line, not the easy-to-read lines. Otherwise, where would the challenge be?

                     Two Hikers Prepared for a Half Hour Walk from Parking, Taking No Chances!

These coordinates should help you locate the general area on the topo. Given that Dream Canyon is somewhat secluded and has unmarked trails, it’s advisable to use these coordinates as a starting point and then follow detailed trail maps, google maps, or a trail guide to find the precise location behind Boulder Falls. While access from the Falls side of the Canyon is impractical and I believe illegal now, Boulder Falls WILL help in locating Dream Canyon on a map. I recommend clicking your heels together three times as an adjunct method of navigation.

Features and Activities

  • Natural Beauty: Dream Canyon is renowned for its stunning rock formations, dense forested areas, and beautiful creek. The scenery is picturesque, offering plenty of opportunities for photography and nature observation.
  • Rock Climbing: The canyon is a popular spot for rock climbing, with a variety of routes that cater to different skill levels. The rock formations provide challenging climbs and breathtaking views.
  • Hiking: There are several hiking trails in Dream Canyon, ranging from easy to moderate difficulty. These trails offer a chance to explore the area’s natural beauty and tranquility.
  • Nude Sunbathing: Historically, Dream Canyon has been known as a spot for nude sunbathing and swimming. The secluded nature of the area provides privacy for those looking to enjoy the sun and water in a natural state.
  • Swimming: The creek that runs through the canyon offers spots for swimming, although the water can be quite cold, even in summer. Be cautious of the currents and depth when taking a dip.

Tips for Visiting

  • Privacy and Respect: Given its reputation as a nude sunbathing area, it’s important to respect the privacy of others and maintain a respectful distance if you encounter sunbathers.
  • Safety: The trails and climbs can be challenging, so ensure you are prepared with proper gear, enough water, and knowledge of the area. It’s also wise to go with a friend or inform someone of your plans.
  • Leave No Trace: As with any natural area, it’s important to follow Leave No Trace principles. Pack out all trash, stay on designated trails, and avoid disturbing wildlife or plant life.

Dream Canyon offers a unique blend of natural beauty and recreational opportunities, making it a special spot for those looking to escape the crowds and enjoy the serenity of the Colorado foothills. It is an adventure similar to finding the Lost City of Lasa, and is somewhat closer, IF you don’t get lost! Again, do not rely upon this blog’s location information without further research and verification. Does beauty always come with a price? NO! It is all around us if we merely take the time and effort to look. Dream Canyon however takes a bit more effort than just noticing the beauty that surrounds us in Boulder.

Lenny Lensworth Frieling

Shared Knowledge is Power!


Leonard Frieling Pen Of Justice Legal Blogger
  • Senior Counsel Emeritus to the Boulder Law firm Dolan + Zimmerman LLP : (720)-610-0951
  • Former Judge
  • Photographer of the Year, AboutBoulder 2023
  • First Chair and Originator of the Colorado Bar Association’s Cannabis Law Committee, a National first.
  • Previous Chair, Boulder Criminal Defense Bar (8 years)
  • Twice chair Executive Counsel, Colorado Bar Association Criminal Law Section
  • NORML Distinguished Counsel Circle
  • Life Member, NORML Legal Committee
  • Life Member, Colorado Criminal Defense Bar
  • Board Member Emeritus, Colorado NORML
  • Chair, Colorado NORML, 7 years including during the successful effort to legalize recreational pot in Colorado
  • Media work, including episodes of Fox’s Power of Attorney, well in excess of many hundreds media interviews, appearances, articles, and podcasts, including co-hosting Time For Hemp for two years.
  • Board member, Author, and Editor for Criminal Law Articles for the Colorado Lawyer, primary publication of the Colorado Bar Assoc. 7 Years, in addition to having 2 Colorado Lawyer cover photos, and numerous articles for the Colorado Lawyer monthly publication.
  • LEAP Speaker, multi-published author, University lectures Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, Denver University Law School, Univ. of New Mexico, Las Vegas NM, and many other schools at all levels.
  • http://www.Lfrieling.com
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