I’ve not been on a trail in nearly 8 weeks and out of the gym for the last 3 weeks and having worked the last few number of weekends and dealing with the stresses of life I knew this weekend that I had to get out on a trail somewhere now that I had the free time to do so! I didnt want to go too far from home and I didnt want to do too long of a trail, so I stayed local and made my way to Boulder and hiked the Mt. Sanitas Trail.
I work in Boulder and I’ve always heard of the Mt. Sanitas trail and have never taken it on until today. I made the decision last night to go check it out for myself. Mt. Sanitas trail is 1.8 miles one way with an elevation gain of 1243 feet. So it is indeed a workout in such a short length of a trail. This was ideal! A lower body workout and a chance to regain my lung capacity in just a couple of hours time. I decided to do this hike out and back. I could have done the loop and come back down via the Mt. Sanitas Valley trail, but I didnt want to go too easy on myself coming back down, nor did I want to cheat myself out of a half mile of hiking. I mean, who does that? The loop would have given me 3.1 miles, out and back on the same trail would be 3.6 miles.
Looking out over the city of Boulder from the summit
Almost at the summit
Looking Northeast over the front range. The Mt Sanitas Valley Trail and the East Ridge Trail are below
This is a hike that you will not do alone by any means. Everyone in Boulder hikes or runs here, many taking the easier routes, the Sanitas Valley trail or the East Ridge Trail. Get there early if you can!
It was a nice day today and much needed for myself to get outdoors. My sanity has been restored.
Destination, Eldorado Canyon State Park, just outside of Boulder, in the town of Eldorado Springs. It was my first visit here and makes my 4th state park out of Colorado’s 42 state parks. This state park is a rock climbers paradise! And because of that, it was listed as one of the “Ten state parks you cant miss!” by Smartertravel.com in 2007.
The hike on Eldorado Canyon Trail is rated as moderate to difficult. The 3.5 mile trail climbs fast in the first mile, then it levels out some and then drops pretty steep again the last mile ending at the Walker Ranch Loop Trail. (So you can expect your calves to get quite a workout!) Turn left onto the Walker Ranch Loop Trail towards South Boulder Creek about a quarter mile maybe, cross over the bridge and find a spot to enjoy lunch or just the sounds of the creek rushing by. Take advantage of some wonderful views in all directions while on this trail. Freight trains follow the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad through a number of tunnels high above the park. On a clear day you get a good look at downtown Denver in the distance.
We had clear blue skies at the start of this hike and the skies became hazy as the day went on. After lunch by the South Boulder Creek, on the return hike back there were some dark clouds, but none too threatening looking. And luckily no rain fell anywhere near the park. All and all, I logged a little over 7 miles on Saturday, too bad there is no such thing as frequent hiker mileage points!
Enjoy a few photos I took from Saturday.
Looking up after a few minutes on the trail
South Boulder Creek before crossing the bridge
Nice red home
Another look further up the creek
A look back after a few minutes on the trail.
Look on the left between the mountains and you can see Denver, if it werent for the haze.
The intersection of Eldorado Canyon Trail & Walker Ranch Loop Trail
Closeup of the creek, even further up
One of the tunnels of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad
Sitting creekside, having lunch.
On the descent, a look down at South Boulder Creek
Looking towards the Continental Divide on a hazy day
Look just under center you can see the parking lot from where we began.
Nature at work
A hazy Mile High skyline
Freight train coming out of another tunnel
This is a great hike if you want variety of scenery and elevation gains. There were a lot of people on the trail this day, but many were there just to take a short hike a mile or so in and turning around. Maybe it was because it was a holiday weekend. But it was great to see so many different nationalities and people of many backgrounds being outdoors and enjoying what nature and our state parks have to offer!
Diversity in nature is something we don’t often see or even think about, but this day was different. Possibly it’s something we will discuss in the future.
I will be back on a trail this coming weekend, since I don’t have to work. The thought right now is probably Twin Sisters Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. The last time I did this trail was almost exactly 3 years ago this weekend. I’ll let you know for sure as the weekend gets closer. Get out and enjoy the outdoors!!!