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Welcome to Chautauqua

 4.3 (15)

1.3 Miles 2.1 Kilometers


68%

Runnable

437' 133 m

Ascent

-440' -134 m

Descent

13%

Avg Grade (7°)

27%

Max Grade (15°)

6,144' 1,873 m

High

5,704' 1,739 m

Low

Shared By Tom Robson

Conditions


All Clear 18 days ago
Dry History

Getting forecast...

Perhaps the most popular (crowded!) run in America. And for good reason.

Tom Robson

Dogs Leashed

Features Views · Wildflowers

Overview

Enjoy flowers and prairie grasses as well as magnificent views on this awesome run. At Bluebell-Baird Trail, you'll head through ponderosa pine and perhaps enjoy a nice picnic on the way!

This is clearly one of the best "bang for your buck" runs in Boulder. As such, it's always incredibly crowded.

Need to Know

Recommended extensions: Flatirons Loop Trail to the Royal Arch Trail.

Runner Notes

Start with this loop, and extend trails as you see fit to make a longer run.

Description

From the Chautauqua Ranger Cottage head west on Chautauqua Trail as it ascends towards the flatirons. Try to peel your eyes away from these awe-inspiring geologic formations enough to watch your step. Stay left on Chautauqua Trail as it continues its wide and mostly smooth journey above Boulder. As you gain elevation, take a look back to the east and admire the city from above.

After a short stint in ponderosa pine forest, turn right onto Bluebell-Baird Trail. This trail drops at a mellow grade through the forest to Ski Jump Trail. Although you're just a stone's throw away from Boulder, Bluebell-Baird Trail gives a nicely forested respite from the hubbub of the city.

To finish the loop, turn right onto Ski Jump Trail. Chautauqua was once home to the bustling Mesa Ski area off and on from 1949 to 1963. It had one tow operated by an engine from a World War II Dodge truck and several ski jumps. The ski area struggled with lack of snow and vandalism, and closed for good in 1963.

From the end of Ski Jump Trail, head back onto Chautauqua Trail and take it back to the Ranger Cottage and your car!

Flora & Fauna

Black bears and mountain lions inhabit this area. Many other wildlife species are common including birds of prey, mule deer and coyotes. You'll also enjoy the abundant wildflowers, prairie grasses, and ponderosa pine along this route.

History & Background

The City of Boulder began preserving wild lands over 100 years ago! In 1898, Boulder citizens approved a bond issue to purchase 80 acres of land to be used as a "Chautauqua." Over the next 22 years, Flagstaff Mountain, Bear Mountain, Royal Arch, and Green Mountain were added to the early protected land system. Chautauqua Dining Hall and Auditorium was built in 1898. Chautauqua Ranger Cottage was built in 1987.

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Check-Ins

Jun 20, 2018
Galina Melamed
Great doggie hike 1.5mi
Nov 27, 2016
Tim Spang
1.3mi

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 15 votes

#714

Overall
  4.3 from 15 votes
5 Star
47%
4 Star
40%
3 Star
13%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#138

in Colorado

#714

Overall
238 Views Last Month
2,152 Since May 5, 2015
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

18%
55%
27%
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