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Shadow Canyon

Difficult
 4.3 (16)

A stiff climb to the sandy saddle between Bear Peak and South Boulder Peak.


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Map Key

1.1

Miles

1.8

KM

36%

Runnable

8,178' 2,493 m

High

6,570' 2,002 m

Low

1,608' 490 m

Up

0' 0 m

Down

27%

Avg Grade (15°)

59%

Max Grade (30°)

Dogs Leashed

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

Description

Directly after crossing Shadow Creek, this trail heads straight up. Follow the creek as you weave around massive boulders, stair stepping almost the entire way.

Although this trail gives little to no shelter from the immense incline laid before you, it does offer some amazing views of Devil's Thumb's rarely seen backside. Additionally, the trail provides some fleeting views of both Bear Peak and South Boulder Peak.

The bottom portion of this trail is set deeply in a conifer forest and will provide the best opportunity for potential wildlife sightings. At the steepest and most difficult section of trail (where it switchbacks multiple times), you'll be set in a large burn zone.

This burn area is the product of a massive fire, the Flagstaff fire (also called the Bison fire). Started June 26th, 2012, this fire burned approximately 300 acres and closed a large portion of the City of Boulder Mountain Parks for public use. This trail was reopened June 7th, 2013 - almost a year post-fire!

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Tom Robson

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 16 votes

#1

in South Mesa

#1816

Overall
  4.3 from 16 votes
5 Star
56%
4 Star
19%
3 Star
19%
2 Star
6%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#1

in South Mesa

#235

in Colorado

#1,816

Overall
33 Views Last Month
4,075 Since Jan 31, 2015
Difficult

0%
0%
6%
6%
88%
0%

Photos

Once you get to the runnable section inside the burned area, the lung-busting climb is almost over. You're not far from the saddle and great views of Walker Ranch.
Jun 15, 2015 near Boulder, CO
Getting up near the top, the trail levels out (relatively speaking) into switchbacks as you enter the burned area (Bison Flagstaff Fire, 2012)
Jun 15, 2015 near Boulder, CO
Looking down through the burned area - into the switchbacks. This is one of the 'runnable' sections of Shadow Canyon Trail
Jun 15, 2015 near Boulder, CO
The steep walls of Shadow Canyon provide a cool respite from the heat - and the mosses love it!
Jun 15, 2015 near Boulder, CO
This is what Shadow Canyon Trail looks like, mostly.  Steep and rocky.
Dec 7, 2019 near Boulder, CO
Devil's Thumb's rarely seen backside.
Jan 31, 2015 near Boulder, CO

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Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jul 30, 2021
Jessica Montenieri
Cool and challenging
Jan 10, 2021
Ed VanDutch
Nov 21, 2018
Kaylee M
1.1mi
Sep 3, 2018
Andrew Kumler
Aug 6, 2016
DwightD Dettloff
1.1mi
Jun 2, 2016
Kaylee M
Jun 13, 2015
BJ Marraccini
part of a 'loop' run: S. Mesa TH > Mesa Trl > Shadow Cyn > Bear Pk > Fern Cyn > Mesa Tr > S. Mesa TH. 2:30 total, 8.5 miles 1.1mi