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    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    857 m
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    10.0 km
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
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    Directions to Trailhead

    Bear Peak via NCAR Hike


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    Table of contents

    The Bear Peak via NCAR Hike is an epic adventure near Boulder that reveals awe-inspiring views of the snow-capped Front Range peaks and the cityscape below. Get in your steps for the whole week as you trek up the leg-burning trail to one of Boulder’s tallest peaks.

    Route Description for Bear Peak via NCAR Hike

    Escape into nature and challenge yourself along the Bear Peak via NCAR Hike. Reserved for experienced hikers or intrepid adventurers, this demanding excursion is well worth the effort. Located near the city you will feel as though you have been transported to the middle of nowhere as you explore the dense ponderosa pine forests that engulf the path. Note that this path does travel into the wilderness, so keep an eye out for black bears and mountain lions. If you are uneasy about the possibility of an encounter, consider wearing a bear bell to deter unwelcome visitors. When hiking this trail in the late fall or winter it is strongly recommended to strap on some microspikes.

    Embark on your journey along Bear Peak via NCAR Hike from the NCAR Trailhead. From here, track the NCAR Trail southwest through the grasslands and beneath the tree shade. At the intersection with the Mesa Trail, you are going to want to keep left and hike through the ponderosa pines and over Bear Creek. Eventually, you will encounter the junction with Fern Canyon, where hikers will turn right and begin their push up to the summit of Bear Peak. Track the Fern Canyon Trail west as the terrain becomes increasingly rocky and exposed.

    Ascend the canyon, navigating seemingly never-ending switchbacks up to the saddle. Hike along the rocky ridge and scramble up the rocky path to the summit of Bear Peak. Revel in the panoramic views of the Front Range peaks in the west and sights of Boulder in the east. Rest, rehydrate, and appreciate the scenery before attempting your descent. When you are ready, simply retrace your footing along the path all the way back to the trailhead.

    Getting to the Bear Peak via NCAR Hike Trailhead

    The Bear Peak via NCAR Hike is accessed via the NCAR Trailhead off the NCAR Road.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground:


    • When to do:


    • Pets allowed:

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly:


    • Route Signage:


    • Crowd Levels:


    • Route Type:

      Out and back

    Bear Peak via NCAR Hike Elevation Graph

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