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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.
    815 m
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    8.0 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 Shanahan Ridge Hike


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    Table of contents

    The Bear Peak via Shanahan Ridge Hike is an epic summit adventure conveniently located just outside of Boulder’s city limits. The perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, the trail will guide hikers through lush ponderosa pine forests up to the craggy summit, which exposes 360-panoramic views of the surrounding mountainous landscape. Fill your lungs with the fresh mountain air and get your heart rate up along the Bear Peak via Shanahan Ridge Hike.

    Route Description for Bear Peak via Shanahan Ridge Hike

    Summit one of Boulder’s highest peaks along the Bear Peak via Shanahan Ridge Hike. This stunning woodland adventure is reserved for intrepid adventurers who don’t mind scrambling up to the summit. Short and steep, this leg-burner of a hike is sure to tire you, but in a good way! Let the expansive views of the Front Range and sights of the city below motivate you to continue climbing. If you venture this path in the winter months, we highly suggest microspikes to help you navigate the likely icy terrain. Additionally, as this hike travels to an exposed peak at high elevation, we recommend wearing layers as insurance against windy and cold conditions at the summit. As you travel through the woodlands, keep half an eye out for wildlife and consider wearing a bear bell to deter any unwelcome encounters.

    The Bear Peak via Shanahan Ridge Hike is a beloved trail near Boulder, and there is little doubt as to why. Conveniently located and impressively scenic, this summit hike is sure to please all of its adventurers. Offering more than just a charming hiking path, the craggy mountain also presents the ideal conditions for rock climbing, attracting outdoor enthusiasts of all sorts. Getting your daily exercise will be a breeze along the Bear Peak via Shanahan Ridge Hike; allow the stunning sights of the mountainous landscape distract you as you scramble up the vertiginous terrain to the summit. As you can tell we love this hike, and we think you will too. With mountain views, exciting technical scrambles, lush forests, gurgling streams, and sights of the cityscape, what more could you ask for? You will regret not adding this adventure to your Boulder itinerary—trust us.

    Embark on your adventure along the Bear Peak via Shanahan Ridge Hike from the trailhead at the end of Cragmoor Road. From here, take a sharp left onto an unnamed path to an intersection. At the junction, keep right and you will be diverted onto the Shanahan North Fork Trail. This route will guide you below the coverage of the sweet-smelling ponderosa pines. Hike along the forested path, enjoying the verdant evergreens that tower above. You will soon encounter another fork in the road, keep right here and the Shanahan North Fork Trail will merge into the Shanahan Mesa Trail. If you are hiking in the spring or after rainfall, you will likely be trekking along the curves of a small gurgling creek which provides a relaxing soundtrack to your walk.

    Wander along the Shanahan Mesa Trail, and you will eventually merge onto the Fern Canyon Trail. At this point, the terrain will become increasingly steep and rocky. As you ascend Fern Canyon be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife camouflaging in the evergreens. The route up the canyon will ping pong you off rock outcroppings up to the saddle. Navigate the seemingly never-ending switchbacks up to the next junction. Here the terrain will be almost completely exposed. Notice Nebel Horn in the northeast and keep south, trekking the Fern Canyon Trail along the ridge.

    Hikers will be required to scramble up to the peak, so be mindful of your footing and know your limitations. Once you ascend the peak you will be rewarded with awe-inspiring views of the mountainous wilderness below. Revel in the sights of the snow-capped peaks that flank the verdant foothills in the west and epic sights of the Boulder cityscape in the east. From here, notice South Boulder Peak in the south and consider hiking over the saddle and ascending Boulder’s highest peak if you still have some gas in the tank. Rehydrate and rest before attempting your descent. When you are ready, simply retrace your footing back to the trailhead.

    Trail Highlights

    Bear Peak

    Bear Peak is one of the mountains that make up Boulder’s big three summits. Sitting at an elevation of 2,578 m, Bear Peak sits in the middle of South Boulder Peak and Green Mountain (2,484 m). Bear Peak is a rocky summit that delivers epic views of the Front Range peaks in the west and Boulder’s cityscape in the east. Open year-round, the versatile peak attracts outdoor enthusiasts of all sorts. With 3 rock climbing formations directly adjacent—The Slab, The Goose, and Seal Rock, many adventurers flock to the area for an exciting rock climbing experience. This epic adventure is a must-add to your Boulder itinerary.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is the Bear Peak via Shanahan Ridge hard?

    The answer to this question is subjective, but the Bear Peak via Shanahan Ridge Hike is steep with technical terrain through exposed areas. Seasoned hikers will likely be able to easily manage the trail, but novice hikers and children are discouraged.

    How long is the Bear Peak via Shanahan Ridge Hike?

    The Bear Peak via Shanahan Ridge is an 8.0 km hike near Boulder, CO.

    Insider Hints for Bear Peak via Shanahan Ridge Hike

    • Hike the Bear Peak via Shanahan Ridge in the early morning to avoid getting caught in an afternoon storm
    • In the winter months be sure to strap on some crampons to safely navigate the likely icy and steep terrain to the summit
    • If you are feeling adventurous, walk south across the saddle and summit South Boulder Peak
    • Charge your camera because you will want to take some pictures from the summit

    Getting to the Bear Peak via Shanahan Ridge Hike Trailhead

    The Bear Peak via Shanahan Ridge Hike departs from the trailhead at the end of Cragmoor 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 Shanahan Ridge Hike Elevation Graph

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