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A backbone of the south Boulder trail system that hugs the foothills.


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Map Key

6.3

Miles

10.1

KM

89%

Runnable

6,428' 1,959 m

High

5,623' 1,714 m

Low

801' 244 m

Up

1,190' 363 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

17%

Max Grade (9°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Dogs may be off leash per City of Boulder Voice and Sight Program ( bouldercolorado.gov/service…).

Runner Notes

This trail makes for a great out and back run that works out to be roughly a half-marathon.

Description

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 and Towhee trails.

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Brian Smith with improvements by Dima Kalinchenko

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 35 votes

#94

Overall
  4.5 from 35 votes
5 Star
57%
4 Star
37%
3 Star
6%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#24

in Colorado

#94

Overall
85 Views Last Month
17,083 Since Dec 17, 2014
Intermediate Intermediate

3%
3%
63%
6%
25%
0%

Photos

A snowy start of the Mesa Trail looking at the first Flatiron.
Apr 14, 2015 near Boulder, CO
Bear Peak, the Goose and the Seal with permission from BoulderTraveler
Jan 8, 2015 near Boulder, CO
Square House in Square Format
May 7, 2015 near Superior, CO
The Mesa Trail overlooking NCAR and the valley below. Dogs are allowed off leash if they have their Blue tags
Apr 13, 2015 near Boulder, CO
View of NCAR from up on the Mesa Trail near Kohler branch.
Jul 5, 2023 near Boulder, CO
The turn on the Mesa Trail down to the steps to the stream crossing behind NCAR
Apr 14, 2015 near Boulder, CO

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Minor Issues 93 days ago
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Check-Ins

Feb 12, 2024
Atsuko Ohtake
Nov 30, 2023
Atsuko Ohtake
Feb 19, 2023
Trevor Edie
Icy, muddy, and hilly. 4mi
May 1, 2022
Matt Thome
6 out and back from south Mesa TH 12mi — 2h 20m
Jan 9, 2021
Charly Jackson
Nov 30, 2020
Atsuko Ohtake
Jul 20, 2020
John Pearson
started with a group, then ran on solo to Chautaqua. 7.8mi — 2h 38m
Jul 13, 2020
Levi Perigo
C to SB
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