Tag Archives: chautauqua park

Green Mountain Loop In Boulder

October 19, 2017

Trail(s): Green Mountain Loop
Location: Chautauqua Park
Fees: Free depending on parking area chosen
Website: https://bouldercolorado.gov/parks-rec/chautauqua-park
Elevation: 5,200-8,150 feet
Distance: 6.0 miles roundtrip
Hours: 5am to 11pm

It was a small miracle, but Tanya and I were finally able to connect on Thursday for a hike, only five months after our last one together! Clearly our schedules did not mesh, and when we first planned to hike Green Mountain Loop in Chautauqua Park in Boulder we expected we’d have some time restrictions, so we opted for a short and nearby hike.

Who knew a six mile hike beginning at 5,277 feet would take a full three hours! I failed to read the description before I picked the trail, and it was sort of hard for a local trek. After completion, we found it was rated difficult and the clockwise direction we took made it harder!

Fortunately, we snapped a photo of the sign at the trailhead as the Green Mountain Loop included a combination of several trails. We started on the 6th St. Connector Trail which took us to Meadow Trail. Meadow Trail, appropriately named, led us through a golden grassy meadow occasionally dotted with bushes turning brilliant red with the fall weather upon us.

Soon we reached Amphitheater, Saddle Rock, and EM Greenman Trails which all connected together to reach Green Mountain Summit at 8,144 feet. In Colorado, that’s not even close to high, but gaining 2,867 feet in three miles is steep. I had stopped to snap a photo of the natural rock stairs we were climbing as they looked lovely surrounded by fall foliage. Little did I know, I’d have countless opportunities for this. We climbed stairs almost the whole way up! Based on a 12 foot ceiling, that’s 239 stories over uneven steps.

At the top, we were blessed with views of snow capped mountains to the West and the City of Boulder to the East. We snacked on our lunch as a chipmunk tried doing the same, before we headed back down the mountain on Ranger Trail and through Gregory Canyon before we reached Baseline Trail to end the loop near our car. After initially climbing down a few stairs, we descended along a smooth dirt path peppered in pine needles. This way was much easier! Overall it was a lovely hike and we couldn’t have asked for a nicer day. ETB

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Hiking Royal Arch Trail in Boulder

March 11, 2015

Royal Arch Trail
Location: SW of Boulder in Chautauqua Park
Round-trip: 3.2 miles
Elevation: 5,710-6,915
Fees: None

David and I arrived to Chautauqua Park in the late morning on Wednesday. The parking gods looked upon us as we snagged the last parking spot in the lot. We planned on hiking to the Royal Arch which I have wanted to do for a while now. It hadn’t snowed for a week and temperatures were unseasonably warm, so it looked like it might be a somewhat muddy trek as we surveyed the trail options.

We started out on Chautauqua Trail and trounced through the mud to a snowy path that ascended through the evergreen forest. After about half a mile we reached a trail intersection and began climbing toward the 3rd flatiron. The steep path weaved around snow-covered boulders. Soon we found the frozen-over compressed snow to be quite slick. We were wishing we had our hiking boots instead of trail runners, but happy to some of the few who came equipped with hiking poles.

As we pressed our poles down into the snow, others clinged to tree limbs. While we stopped plenty of times for photos, the one step forward, slide two-steps back process caused the 3.2 mile roundtrip hike with 1,400 feet of elevation to take much longer than we anticipated. Finally we reached the pass, where we were happy to see a mileage marker…a quarter of a mile to the arch!

Here we climbed down through a rocky chute, descended along the path briefly and then climbed up a small waterfall. Soon we arrived at the magnificent arch and spectacular views for our picnic lunch. After soaking in the sun beneath Colorado’s clear sky, we headed back down. This time I strapped on my micro-spikes. I thought they would be too large to use on my trail shoes, but thankfully, though slightly loose, they worked wonders. I should have strapped them on for the ascent as well, though the descent was harder, so I was happy to make life easier.

David is not a micro-spike owner, but after this hike may be a proud new owner. He followed a few fellow hikers lead and basically skied down the trail on his tennis shoes with only a few expected wipeouts. I managed to stay on my feet all the way down Royal Arch Trail and Blue Mesa Trail only to fall in the MUD about 100 yards from the car! Figures. Overall, it was a gorgeous hike and despite the slick conditions was worth the extra effort and extended time it took to reach the top. Fun day! ETB

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