Royal Arch Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"One of the somewhat challenging options along the Mesa Trail is an interesting trail in its own right because you end up at a small arch with striking views, especially to the north, and you have unique glimpses of the Flatirons along the way. It has the feel of a high mountain hike even though it is close to town. The challenging part is the fairly steep, rock garden trail that makes you feel like you’re on a short Himalayan trek with all of the twists, turns, and ups and downs, without the altitude or length. If you go at a slow pace, the challenge becomes a fun, moderate clamber rather than a heart-thumping workout."
--Alan Apt and Kay Turnbaugh, Afoot & Afield: Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, and Rocky Mountain National Park (Wilderness Press).
"Royal Arch is a modest cousin of the impressive and incredible sandstone arches in Arches National Park in Utah. Yet, once at the arch, you are as close as you will get to the vertical face of the famous Flatirons unless you are a technical climber. In fact, you may see a climber negotiating a difficult pitch. Probably the best time to reach the arch is by midmorning, to marvel as the eastern sunlight glances off the russet cliff faces."
--Ania Savage, Best Hikes with Dogs: Colorado (The Mountaineers Books).
"Keep a sharp eye out for raptors soaring in the skies on this popular hike amongst Boulder’s famous Flatirons. The sandstone arch itself is modest compared to those in southern Utah, but it frames an impressive backdrop of the famous Boulder Flatirons. You may even see a technical climber negotiating one of the sheer walls. The best time of day to visit is early morning when the sun bathes the red rock formations with light.. In fact, you are likely to encounter scores of locals on their way down after their daily dawn run up the steep and rocky trail! Keep a sharp lookout for raptors soaring in the skies above the Flatirons. Each year, sensitive raptor breeding sites in the park are restricted to public use, during which time they are monitored by staff and volunteers for nesting and breeding activity. In 2003, over a dozen eagles and falcons were successfully fledged, increasing Boulder’s future population of these magnificent birds."
--Dave Muller, The Colorado Year Round Outdoor Guide (Colorado Mountain Club Press).
"You are going to have to work (and sweat) to get there, but you can savor the pain, along with the views, along the smooth sun-drenched rocks beneath the Royal Arch. This towering red-rock structure is as spectacular as any of the Flatirons, and it's well worth the hike, as it is a truly unique geologic formation on the Front Range."
--Tracy Salcedo, 12 Short Hikes in the Boulder Foothills (Falcon Guides).
Lots of stairs and a bit difficult in the snow, but great view!
I found this trail to be difficult, especially toting a 3 month old - lots of boulder and stone steps. A true workout and a great view from under the arch.
I've done this hike two times and have enjoyed both trips!
I've done this trail twice within two months, 5/30/10 and 7/4/10 and they were two totally different experiences. The first time I had been in Colorado for about a week and was very acclimated to the altitude, and therefore it was a challenging, but pretty easy going hike. The second time around I was back and had only been there two days before I did this "easy" hike again, and I was starving for oxygen, making the going pretty rough! All in all it's a great trail with some pretty steep parts, but the view at the top makes it more than worth it. I like to scramble up the sheer slab that brings you up almost to the top of the arch. It's scary, but a lot of fun if you know what you are doing!
Completed our first climb while in Boulder for a wedding. The weather was in the 70's and the climb to Royal Arch was fun. Our kids (13 and 9) made it all the way w/ no desire to stop. Views were incredible ! Enjoyed it so much, we will return to do other climbs.
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