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Dakota Ridge to Sanitas Valley Loop



2.3 mile 3.7 kilometer out and back
85% Runnable


Ascent: 458' 139 m
Descent: -458' -139 m
High: 5,961' 1,817 m
Low: 5,503' 1,677 m


Avg Grade: 8% (4°)
Max Grade: 21% (12°)


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Trail shared by Dan Gleason

A technical ascent with a great view of Boulder, followed by a nice, open downhill pitch.

Dan Gleason

Features Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


Rocky, technical terrain on Dakota Ridge and a few short steep climbs lead to a great view of Boulder. Turning around on Sanitas Valley Trail is a welcome relief. It's a wide gravel/dirt trail with a manageable downhill pitch, allowing you to cruise back down.

Runner Notes

This is a great, quick loop that can easily be done from town. The perfect mid-day "runch" break.


Start on Sanitas Valley Trail. Keep an eye out for the Dakota Ridge Trail sign about 0.2 miles in. Dakota Ridge is a rocky and rooty singletrack, which makes for a great challenge. Follow Dakota Ridge north, paralleling the Valley Trail. There are a few forks that lead back to the Valley Trail. Be sure to stay on Dakota Ridge.

Go easy on the stairs, as they're pretty steep, and it doesn't really level out until you reach the turnaround. Be wary of rocks and roots - keep your head down. You'll know you've reached the end of the uphill when you see a bench to the right overlooking a sweeping view of Boulder.

Stop and enjoy it for a minute. Then head to the gravel/dirt path, and head south (left) down the Sanitas Valley Trail back to the trailhead. Be wary on this path as it gets a lot of visitors.

Flora & Fauna

You're unlikely to encounter much other than squirrels and chipmunks along this trail.

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Nov 1, 2018
Chris Mavricos
Aug 29, 2018
James Carson
Nov 11, 2017
Hrishi Chandanpurkar
Did it twice: once a loop and then just going up again on the gentler (west) side and back. — 0h 50m
May 30, 2017
Kristan Uhlenbrock

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 8 votes


  4.0 from 8 votes
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in Colorado


58 Views Last Month
2,795 Since Feb 1, 2016



Trail runners enjoy their winter workout
Dec 5, 2014 near Boulder, CO
Late season flowers on the Sanitas Valley Trail
Nov 7, 2014 near Boulder, CO
View from the top of Dakota Ridge
Aug 2, 2015 near Boulder, CO
Beautiful broad valley views to the south
Nov 7, 2014 near Boulder, CO
Views of Bear Peak and the edge of the Flatirons
Nov 7, 2014 near Boulder, CO
View up-valley from the Dakota Ridge Trail
Nov 7, 2014 near Boulder, CO


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