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Second-Third Flatiron Mesa Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.3 (3) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

See the Flatirons up close and get a quick tour of the varied terrain accessible from the Chautauqua Trailhead.


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Map Key

2.2

Miles

3.6

KM

69%

Runnable

6,397' 1,950 m

High

5,702' 1,738 m

Low

716' 218 m

Up

713' 217 m

Down

12%

Avg Grade (7°)

36%

Max Grade (20°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Views

Overview

This trail starts off with a steady uphill climb on nice, paved trail straight out of the trailhead, but plunges into the trees before too long and provides an up-close look at the 2nd and 3rd Flatirons. The switchbacked descent from the base of the flatirons eventually mellows out as you loop back around to the mesa. There are a lot of trails in the area, and this run makes sure you repeat as little ground as possible.

Need to Know

The Chautauqua Trail parking fills up quickly on weekends, and charges by the hour from Memorial Day to Labor Day. If the trailhead parking lot is full, metered parking (again, in effect during the summer) is available on Baseline Road.

During the winter, many of the steeper sections of the trail ice over and microspikes should be considered mandatory.

Description

This loop encapsulates multiple different trails all accessible from the Chautauqua Trail. Start by heading up the wide, paved Chautauqua Trail and continue following it as it turns right and passes over a small bridge. At the intersection with the Bluebell-Baird Trail and Flatirons Loop Trail, head to the left and uphill.

Before long, the 1st/2nd Flatiron trail joins in from the right - you continue going straight and will cross a short talus field. After the talus field, you'll arrive at the base of the 2nd Flatiron... you might see climbers starting their ascent from the trail here!

Not long after passing the 2nd Flatiron, you'll start losing elevation and will pass the 3rd Flatiron Climber's Access trail on the trail. Continue downhill until you reach an intersection with the Royal Arch Trail and turn left. When you reach the small shelter (no facilities) at the intersection with Bluebell Road, turn left and go up a few wood steps to join the Bluebell-Baird Trail again.

Cross the small clearing on the Bluebell-Baird Trail and then turn right onto the Bluebell Mesa trail, shortly after re-entering the trees. When the Bluebell Spur trail joins from the right, you'll swing to the left and pop out of the trees, giving you a great view of the whole Chautauqua. At the end of the Bluebell Mesa trail, turn right back onto the Chautauqua Trail and follow it to the trailhead.

Contacts

Shared By:

Zach Tucker

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 3 votes

#2736

Overall
  4.3 from 3 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
67%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#370

in Colorado

#2,736

Overall
180 Views Last Month
1,147 Since Jan 14, 2020
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
33%
0%
67%
0%

Photos

Morning at the Flatirons.
Apr 26, 2015 near Boulder, CO
First snow of the year in the Flatirons.
Sep 22, 2016 near Boulder, CO
Good running conditions along the Bluebell Mesa Trail
Jun 29, 2015 near Boulder, CO
Boulder Colorado - Winter Wonderland
Jan 2, 2015 near Boulder, CO
This is how you know a run/hike is going to be good, right from the get go. Flatirons from Bluebell Road.
Dec 20, 2014 near Boulder, CO
The second Flatiron.
Feb 9, 2015 near Boulder, CO

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