Boulder Skyline Traverse
ElevationAscent: 5,409' 1,649 m
Descent: -5,492' -1,674 m
High: 8,492' 2,589 m
Low: 5,417' 1,651 m
GradeAvg Grade: 13% (7°)
Max Grade: 65% (33°)
Popular runs nearby
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4.9 mi 7.9 km • Loop • 2,305 ft Ascent 702.5 m Ascent
Flagstaff Summit Loop
2.4 mi 3.9 km • Loop • 346 ft Ascent 105.4 m Ascent
Indian Peaks Traverse (IPT)
71.2 mi 114.6 km • Point to Point • 9,173 ft Ascent 2796.02 m Ascent
Mount Sanitas Loop
3.2 mi 5.2 km • Loop • 1,281 ft Ascent 390.4 m Ascent
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“The classic long mountain route in Boulder.”— Eli Z
At the junction at the top, turn left and for the final 500 feet up South Boulder Peak on steep but smooth trail. Scramble up the talus to the top. From South Boulder Peak, head back the way you came back to the Shadow Canyon junction and continue straight/left to Bear Peak. Continue on the trail to the north side of the Bear Peak summit block and scramble up to the top of Bear Peak. Backtrack to the west side of the mountain and take the Bear Peak West Ridge trail down some steep rocky switchbacks which eventually give way to buff, perfect singletrack.
Motor along the flowing trail down to Bear Canyon, where you cross a reliable creek. Shortly after the creek, make a sharp left up the Green-Bear trail and head up winding and generally smooth trail to the summit of Green Mountain. From the summit of Green Mountain, head back down to the west and take the Ranger Trail to the north. After a few steep switchbacks, the trail turns to smooth and wide singletrack that can be easily bombed down.
At the Gregory Canyon junction, go left up a short ways up to Flagstaff Road. Cross Flagstaff road and take the Ute Trail just to the left of the gate in the parking area. Follow the Ute Trail for a few minutes. To tag the true summit of Flagstaff, head off trail to the left to the highest point you can find - a molar shaped boulder. From the summit, head north back to the Ute Trail and the Flagstaff Amphitheater area (bathrooms nearby). Take the Flagstaff Trail down for a little over a mile. The trail crosses the road several times and also intersects many climbing access trails, so be careful to stay on the correct trail. The trail crosses Flagstaff road one more time at the Panorama Point parking area.
From here, take the Viewpoint Trail north from the parking area as it descends easy and fast trail down to Boulder. Where the trail ends, take a short dirt road to a roundabout and enter Eben G. Fine Park. Follow the creek path West to an underpass (drinking fountain and bathrooms nearby). Cross under Canyon Blvd. on the bike path up to the Settlers Park Trail. Follow the system of trails north. If you go left, it will take you the easy way over a short hill. If you go right, you'll pass through the Red Rocks rock formation.
(From here you can go out and back to the summit of Anemone Hill to the West. Typically this isn't included in the Skyline Traverse)
Drop down the other side of the hill and into the Centennial Trailhead parking area. Cross Mapleton road and go to the Sanitas picnic shelter, then left onto the Mt. Sanitas Trail. Climb 1.3 miles of steep, rocky terrain to the summit of Sanitas, finishing the Skyline Traverse. From the summit, the fastest way is to go back the way you came, although you can also go to the East and take the East Ridge Trail and then the Sanitas Valley Trail back down to Mapleton Road, which is a half mile longer.
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Land Manager: Boulder County, CO - Parks and Open Space