“A backbone of the south Boulder trail system that hugs the foothills.
— Brian Smith
Birding · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This trail makes for a great out and back run that works out to be roughly a half-marathon.
Mesa Trail runs north to south all the way from the top of Bluebell Road
in Chautauqua to the South Mesa Trailhead near Eldorado Springs. As a product of its extended nature, Mesa Trail travels up and down through varied terrain and environments. The general pattern the Mesa Trail follows is into and out of drainages and across flatter sections in between.
Mesa trail connects to pretty much every major east-west trail in south Boulder. Trail junctions include the Kohler and Enchanted Mesa trails, the NCAR trails, Bear Canyon Trail
, Fern Canyon
trail, North and South Fork Shanahan Trail
, Upper Big Bluestem Trail
, Shadow Canyon
, Homestead Trail
Trail users can expect to travel through mixed grassland/prairie and ponderosa pine savannah. Looking westward, great views of the Flatirons and frontrange peaks can be had. Simultaneously, vistas of the plains are on offer to the east. Near the junction with Shadow Canyon South Spur
, there are great views of devil's thumb, a large rock tower on South Boulder Peak
's southern ridge.
The largest and most sustained elevation change is on Mesa Trail's southern end as it descends into Eldorado Canyon. This portion of trail also happens to be mostly exposed so heading up it during the summer can be a scorcher.
Flora & Fauna
Black bears and mountain lions inhabit this area. The area is rich with wildlife including Peregrine Falcons, Red-tailed Hawks, songbirds, mule deer, and coyotes. This trail passes through a mixture mixed grass prairie ponderosa pine savannah.