South Mesa Loop
ElevationAscent: 508' 155 m
Descent: -507' -154 m
High: 6,123' 1,866 m
Low: 5,623' 1,714 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 13% (8°)
Popular runs nearby
15.7 mi 25.2 km • Loop • 970 ft Ascent 295.65 m Ascent
Second-Third Flatiron Mesa Loop
2.2 mi 3.6 km • Loop • 716 ft Ascent 218.32 m Ascent
Royal Arch Out and Back
3.3 mi 5.3 km • Out and Back • 1,311 ft Ascent 399.74 m Ascent
Green-Bear Combo from Chautauqua
13.5 mi 21.7 km • Loop • 4,512 ft Ascent 1375.35 m Ascent
Sunshine Lion's Lair Loop
5.3 mi 8.5 km • Loop • 1,261 ft Ascent 384.48 m Ascent
Coyote Run - Harper Lake - Davidson Mesa - Louisville Res
8.3 mi 13.3 km • Point to Point • 334 ft Ascent 101.69 m Ascent
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“Stunning scenery and a little history...”— Tom Robson
Note that on the return, taking the Towhee trail is roughly the same distance, not very different, and thus a fine alternative.
If you're running this trail during Spring, you'll most likely be treated with wildflower views as well as the usual mountain vistas. At the first intersection you encounter, turn left onto Homestead Trail.
Homestead, named for the historic homesteads surrounding this trail, doesn't actually directly encounter any of the historic sites. Although it does allow you access to other trails that do!
Homestead Trail heads due west and contours the hillside. At ~0.65mi, the trail heads directly north and switchbacks four times to gain the ridge. Once on the ridge, Homestead Trail is very straightforward. The last semi-technical aspect of this trail is a drop into and out of Shadow Canyon proper. From here the trail contours north, eventually connecting with Mesa Trail.
Turn right onto Mesa Trail, which eventually takes you back to the South Mesa trailhead. Mesa descends into Eldorado Canyon and proves to be one of the most heavily crowded sections of trail in Boulder. This portion of trail is also very sun-exposed, so using it during summer can prove a scorcher.
Be sure to check out the South Mesa Historic Route provided by Boulder County Open Space.
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Land Manager: Boulder County, CO - Parks and Open Space