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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.
    247 m
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    6.6 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

    Lion’s Lair Spur Trail


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    Table of contents

    The Lion’s Lair Spur Trail is a charming woodland adventure near Boulder, CO. Hike along the forest floor beneath the shade of evergreens and ponderosa pines up to the summit of Mount Sanitas. Enjoy the verdant scenery along your ascent and epic views of the Boulder cityscape from the summit. This wonderful hike promises an unforgettable experience.

    Route Description for Lion’s Lair Spur Trail

    The Lion’s Lair Spur Trail is an awesome adventure near Boulder that is trafficked by tourists and locals alike. As you ascend the woodland path, the terrain will become increasingly exposed, revealing unparalleled sights of Boulder and distant views of the Front Range peaks. Be wary though, the trail’s name is purposeful—this area is highly frequented by mountain lions. These impressive creatures camouflage into the wilderness and tend to stay away from hikers, but it is important to be mindful that they are in the area. Due to the mountain lions, the hike is subject to sporadic closures, so be sure to check the website or bulletin at the trailhead for updates. Additionally, this is a very popular hiking destination, so be sure to arrive early to secure a parking spot in the limited parking lot at the trailhead.

    The crowds that the Lion’s Lair Spur Trail draws are a testament to its stunning scenery. Hike up the northwestern flank of Mount Sanitas to an awesome overlook at the rocky summit. Constructed in 2014, the path is well-signposted, well-maintained, and easy to navigate. Perfect for a conditioning hike prior to attempting a Colorado 13er or 14er, the Lion’s Lair Spur Trail attracts adventurers of all skill levels. Conveniently located just outside Boulder's city center, the trail is an awesome escape away from the hustle and bustle into the wilderness. Reconnect with nature and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as you venture the Lion’s Lair Spur Trail.

    Embark on your journey along the Lion’s Lair Spur Trail from the trailhead and parking lot off Sunshine Canyon Drive. From here, the Lion’s Lair Spur Trail will guide adventurers beneath the shade of the sweet-smelling ponderosa pines. Soon after your departure from the trailhead, you will encounter a junction. Here, keep left, and you will be diverted onto the Lion’s Lair Trail, heading north. As you hike up the woodland path, be sure to keep an eye out for mountain lions and deer. Eventually, the route will lead hikers through a set of switchbacks, nearing the summit. As you navigate the winding path, the terrain will become increasingly uncovered and rocky as you climb towards the peak of Mount Sanitas.

    Hikers will once again confront another switchback before summiting the mountain. Here, the path will be exposed, delivering epic views of the Front Range peaks that line the horizon in the east. Climb up the rocky terrain to the summit of Mount Sanitas. You will likely run into several other adventurers at the peak who trekked one of the other summit routes. From here, revel in the awe-inspiring views of the Boulder cityscape, the plains, and even sights of the Flatirons in the south. Enjoy the stunning panoramic vistas whilst rehydrating prior to your descent. When you are ready to return, simply retrace your footing along the path all the way back to the trailhead marking the end of your adventure.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are dogs allowed on the Lion’s Lair Spur Trail?

    No, dogs are prohibited from the Lion’s Lair Spur Trail due to mountain lion activity.

    Are bikers permitted on the Lion’s Lair Spur Trail?

    No, the Lion’s Lair Spur Trail is a foot-traffic only hike.

    Insider Hints for Lion’s Lair Spur Trail

    • Be aware of mountain lions in the area! Check the website for updates on wildlife closures.
    • If you venture this path in the winter months, be sure to wear crampons to navigate the likely icy terrain.
    • Parking is limited at the trailhead so arrive early to secure a spot.
    • Grab a latte at The Laughing Goat in Boulder after your hike.

    Getting to the Lion’s Lair Spur Trail Trailhead

    The Lion’s Lair Spur Trailhead is located off Sunshine Canyon Drive.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground:


    • When to do:


    • Pets allowed:

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly:

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage:


    • Crowd Levels:


    • Route Type:

      Out and back

    Lion’s Lair Spur Trail Elevation Graph

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