Features: Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
There are some wooden steps and rockier sections to negotiate. It's skinnier than Sanitas Valley Trail
so some dodging of slower users may be necessary.
Start up the Sanitas Valley Trail
initially, then join the Dakota Ridge Trail
by heading right (east) down through a shallow gully. Climb up out of this gully (actually the Silver Lake Irrigation Ditch) and make a long switchback to gain the ridgeline.
From here, the trail snakes its way along the rocky spine of Dakota Ridge using wooden steps and rock outcrops to gain elevation. The packed dirt trail is singletrack (one person wide) and has more rocks and roots than the Sanitas Valley Trail
. A couple of spur trails (Dakota Ridge Upper and Lower Cutoffs) can be used as shortcuts to escape down to the Sanitas Valley Trail
The steepest pitch comes about 1/3 of the way up, but soon eases to a mellow grade. Ponderosa pine line the trail as it passes below rocky slabs. Pause during your climb to look down valley southwards towards the impressive Bear Peak and profile of the iconic Flatirons. The trail terminates at a nice bench with sweeping views over Boulder.
Enjoy wildflowers in spring on this trail. Note that mountain lions and bears pass through this area and although rangers do their best to put up warning signs about recent activity, dawn and dusk are the times to be most aware.