Wildflowers bloom in a recent burn area on the Continental Divide Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park.

The promise of spring will soon be in the air, even with this most recent snowstorm. Colorado Wilderness is looking ahead and forward to the fresh bloom that happens in the front range from April through August! The spring bloom is an excellent time to explore the trails and have lunch between the fields of red, blue, yellow, and purple-coated meadows. Here is a list of our top five spring hikes around Boulder to see our favorite slopes come to life after a dormant winter.

Mt. Sanitas Trail Loop – 5 Miles, 1,500 feet of vert

Mt Sanitas Hike Boulder colorado
Mt. Sanitas in the winter

A local’s favorite for after-work hikes and long-loved by trail runners, the trails around Mt. Sanitas explode with color after the long winter, as the Lions Lair trail, lined with grassy hillsides, erupts into wildflower color. Start in the Sanitas Valley meadow and see the carpets surrounding the peak with Prairie Fire, Cumbres, Poppies, and Columbines stretching out towards the hills. Flanked by the needles of pines on the peak, the flowers line the trails in many different hues, and especially on Boulder’s sunny days, give the city an entirely different kind of character. Hike anywhere from 2-4 miles with different combinations of difficulty and enjoy the one of a kind spring Colorado color.

Shanahan Ridge Trail (Loop) – 4.2 miles, 800 feet of vert

woman with pack and poles hiking up a steep rocky trail with wildflowers

Starting at the Shanahan North Fork Trailhead, head west and take a right to start this loop going counterclockwise. Meander along the ponderosa pines and enjoy the views of the front range peaks, admiring golden banner along the way. The trail will eventually connect with Mesa trail, cruising through some open prairie areas, where you can view Oregon Grape and Pasque flowers. Dogs are welcome in this area, so make sure to bring your furry friend along!

Mesa Trail: Eldorado Springs to Chataqua – 6.4 miles point-to-point, 1, 272 feet of vert

people walking the Mesa Trail in Boulder colorado
Golden Banner along the Mesa Trail

Hikers who are looking for an easier option will enjoy the Mesa Trail, which stretches all the way from Eldorado Canyon and traverses rolling hills, grassy fields, and low grade trails back into Boulder. With the Flatirons and Boulder’s peaks in the background, hike past Wild Iris, Spring Beauties, and Crested Prickly Poppies stretching out towards the hills. The contrast of the wildflowers set against the snowy Indian Peaks makes for a wonderful photographic opportunity that is hard to find anywhere else. This is a great hike for those who want to take it easier, however you can combine it with a number of Boulder’s other options, including climbing some of the nearby peaks. With it’s vast views and easy flowing trails, the Mesa Trail makes for an excellent long day out, while still being close to the city.

Goshawk Ridge Trail – Begin at Fowler Trail or Dowdy Draw, ~4.2 miles with 700 feet of vert

wildflowers with hikers walking by

Set in the confines of the towering walls of Eldorado Canyon State Park, Goshawk Ridge rises through forests and meadows, with the Flatirons rising spectacularly in the background as a field of flowers stretches towards the canyons and mountains. While a shorter trail than most, Goshawk Ridge’s rolling hills through grassy plains make this an especially favorite trail for wildflower seekers. In the spring, Pasque flowers and Wild Irises will be in full bloom. In the summer, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the rare purple sugar bowl flowers in the meadows. This hike is in a Habitat Conservation Area, so you will have to leave the pups at home for this adventure.

Gregory Canyon, Range View, and Flagstaff Trail Loop – 3.6 miles with 1,200 feet of vert

Colorado Columbine in Rocky Mountain National Park

Beginning at Gregory Canyon Trailhead, Goshawk Ridge will have you meandering through forest, meadow, and give you stunning views of Eldorado Canyon. In this landscape you can greet more Oregon Grape, Pasque Flowers, Blue-Eyed Mary, and Lance-Leaved Chiming Bells during the spring. The trail will summit Flagstaff Mountain at 6,983 feet and allow you to continue on to connect with other trails, or continue the loop to head back to your car and go grab a beer. Pups are allowed in this area and can be off-leash in some sections!

Jump over to our page at https://coloradowildernessridesandguides.com/guided-adventures/hiking-peak-ascents/ to check our pricing, or call us at (720) 242-9828 to book your Boulder adventure with us today. Also head over to https://www.bouldercoloradousa.com/outdoors/hiking/wildflower-hikes/ and scroll to the bottom to see a local wildflower identification guide. Take a screenshot and do some plant ID while you’re taking in the views!

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