For a more curated experience check out trail guides from our partner publishers.
Afoot & Afield: Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, and Rocky Mountain National Park
by Alan Apt and Kay Turnbaugh (Wilderness Press)
This is a relatively short, easy stroll or ride through pretty, rolling grasslands and hills,
with an amazing backdrop of the Flatirons foothills on the way back, with snowcapped peaks in the distance. It is a short route for a family hike, or an easy mountain bike outing.
Best Easy Day Hikes: Boulder
by Tracy Salcedo-Chourre (Falcon Guides)
Once the site of extensive coal mining activity, Marshall Mesa now harbors prairie grasses (and prairie dog colonies), wildflowers, a nice loop hike, and great Flatiron views.
This outing is most easily accomplished on a mountain bike but could also be hiked. It features some of the most stunning views of the Flatirons and Fountain-era rock formations on the western leg of the loop. As soon as you turn west, you will have panoramic views and varying scenery, including magnificent meadows. You can shorten the route by reversing course at any point and still have a satisfying day.
Colorado's Best Wildflower Hikes: The Front Range
by Pamela & David Irwin (Westcliffe Publishers)
Boulder’s Open Space acquisitions include historic Marshall Mesa in southern Boulder County. The vegetation has survived in the remains of a coal mining operation active as recently as 50 years ago. The semi-arid grasslands are interspersed with pine.Wildflowers now flourish under open skies where miners once sweated underground. Marshall Mesa Trail is gentle to its intersection with Greenbelt Trail, and in spring and early summer it’s a wonderful wildflower walk highlighted by scattered golden dainty sundrops. Sweeping views of the red-finned Flatirons to the west add a bonus. Wildflower alert: Drifts of dainty sundrops and buttercups in spring.
Mountain Biking Colorado's Front Range
by Stephen Hlawaty (Falcon Guides)
The Marshall Mesa and Community Ditch Trail is one of the most popular trails in all of Boulder County. In Under the Devil’s Thumb, David Gessner describes another nearby trail as “a sort of StairMaster-with-view. ”The same description may apply to this one. The trail follows an easy route atop Marshall Mesa before descending to and crossing Colorado Highway 93 on its way toward Eldorado Springs Canyon. The views here of the Flatirons are among Boulder’s best. Trail users regularly bring their dogs, as the trail runs alongside a water-filled “community ditch,” as well as Marshall Lake. This trail can become quite crowded during the weekends. Terrain: Wide singletrack, doubletrack, and gravel road that rolls atop mesas, through sprawling grasslands, and past sandstone cliffs.
Best Trail Runs: Denver, Boulder, & Colorado Springs
by Adam W. Chase, Nancy Hobbs, Peter Jones (Falcon Guides)
From the trailhead, head south (up) on a short climb to where Coal Seam Trail meets Marshall Valley Trail. Stay on Coal Seam to an area that feels like you are running on Moab’s slickrock. Coal Seam converges with Community Ditch Trail near an underpass that brings you under CO 93, heading west, with Eldorado Canyon beckoning you as you cruise along the ditch on a flat, fast path.
Mountain Biking Denver & Boulder
by Bob D'Antonio (Falcon Guides)
Excellent beginner’s ride close to Boulder. Great views of the Flatirons and Indian Peaks. Can be biked most of the year. Tread: 1.6 miles on singletrack and 7.2 miles on wide doubletrack.
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