Best Winter Hiking Routes in Boulder, Colorado

With trails empty and temperatures cool, there may be no better time to lace up your boots than during the snowy season. Walking through a winter wonderland has nothing on hiking through one.  

If you live in Boulder, this frozen feat is easier than you might think. There are all sorts of routes perfect for holiday trekkers and Jack Frost fanatics. Here are a few of our favorites:

Marshall Mesa Loop

This South Boulder trail is popular all year round, but the blazing sun can make the heat overwhelming in summer. Winter, on the other hand, provides a chance to hike on a warm (or warm-adjacent) path that takes you through rolling countryside, prairies, and scenic landscapes. The 2.7-mile trail closes when it gets too muddy, so double-check before you head for these rolling hills

East Boulder Teller Farm

The East Boulder Teller Farm route is easy and flat, something highly attractive when the grounds get icy. It winds hikers through farmlands used for everything from beekeeping to crop-growing. It’s a popular trail for birdwatchers, as well as runners and cyclists and is relatively short at 2.3 miles. The elevation gain is only 38 feet, making it a great option for out-of-town holiday guests who are altitude-challenged.  

Enchanted Mesa and McClintock Trails

The Enchanted Mesa and McClintock trails connect to one another and begin in the picnic area of Chautauqua Park. The Enchanted Mesa trail crosses a stone bridge and leads hikers toward an overlook point that offers beautiful views of the city. The McClintock trail takes hikers through an evergreen forest and runs adjacent to a stream. Both hikes are relatively gentle and short and come with approximately 400 feet of elevation gain. 

Royal Arch

Another adventure inside Chautauqua Park, the Royal Arch trail is considered moderate to difficult under normal circumstances. Therefore, anyone hiking on icy and frozen ground or during a storm best be prepared and looking for a challenge. The trail is roughly 3.5 miles with a steep incline of 1,400 feet. Despite this, it’s a popular route, so going early in the morning is recommended for those hoping to beat the crowds.

Caribou Ranch

Caribou Ranch is a bit outside of Boulder, located in Nederland. It’s a long but relatively easy loop of roughly 5 miles. It’s a great place to venture if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, explore an old homestead, or frolic among forests, meadows, and wetlands. If you’re a music lover, the hike might be particularly enticing. The ranch was once home to a recording studio that worked with several well-known artists, including Chicago, Elton John, Joe Walsh, The Beach Boys, and Amy Grant. 

The weather outside might be frightful (or 70, it is Colorado, after all), but that doesn’t mean you need to spend the season ignoring your hiking boots. There are several Boulder trails that welcome the pitter-patter of your feet all year long. Come prepared (ice cleats may be necessary depending on conditions) and have yourself a merry little outing.

The Habitat Apartments is located in Gunbarrel with convenient access to shopping in downtown Boulder and beyond. We offer apartments and townhomes with private patios, a heated pool, outdoor kitchens, pet-friendly perks, and multiple floor plans to choose from. Contact us today to learn why we’re the perfect place to set down roots this winter.

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