Create an account

Start your adventure today.


    Already a member? Login

    NCAR Ramble Trail

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    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.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    5.5 km
    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.
    220 m
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
    Be the first to add a review!
    Directions to Trailhead

    The NCAR Ramble Trail is a charming nature walk near the National Center for Atmospheric Research and through the quintessential Boulder wilderness. Perfect for families and novice hikers, this path will guide adventurers through charming grassland that reveals dumbfounding views of the famous Flatirons without having to exert much effort. Scenic, informative, and unique, this walk is a must add to your Boulder itinerary.

    Download the 10Adventures App

    View NCAR Ramble Trail on Map

    View Map

    Join our newsletter

    Get a weekly dose of discounts and inspiration for adventure lovers

    Route Description for NCAR Ramble Trail

    The NCAR Ramble Trail is a charming nature walk through the verdant wilderness that sits in the shadows of the Flatirons and Dinosaur Mountain. Exhibiting the diversity of the Colorado ecosystems, the path tours through arid meadowlands and ponderosa pine forests while revealing sights of the sandstone blades that protrude out of the landscape. Undoubtedly interesting, this hike will keep you on your toes. However, be mindful of the odd loose rock on the trail and keep an eye and ear out for rattlesnakes as you walk. If you venture this lovely route in the winter months, be sure to wear snowshoes or crampons to help navigate the snow-packed and likely icy terrain.

    Versatile and open year-round, the NCAR Ramble Hike packs a punch. Perfect for hikers of all skill levels, adults and children alike, this route presents the perfect opportunity to get the whole crew away from their screens and into the wilderness. Let the fresh air fill your lungs and appreciate the grandeur of the flanking cliffs. Also informative, the NCAR has lined the lovely path with interpretive signs explaining the area's vegetation, wildlife, weather, and geology. How cool! Learn more about the environment surrounding you as you get in your daily step count! Don't forget to explore the grounds or take a tour of the National Center for Atmospheric Research before you leave!

    Embark on your adventure along the NCAR Ramble Trail from the parking lot. From here, find the trailhead on the northwestern side of the lot and keep right along the NCAR-Table Mesa Trail. Now atop Table Mountain, you will begin descending northeast down the mesa. As you travel down the grassy mesa, you will be rewarded with sights of Boulder. Eventually, you will have to cross over Table Mesa Drive. Once you cross the intersection, you will be diverted onto the NCAR-Skunk Canyon Trail. Now trekking northwest, the path will merge onto the Skunk Canyon Service Road. The path will become increasingly forested as you near the base of the Flatirons. Enjoy the sights of the sandstone blades that loom above before you are completely engulfed in ponderosa pines.

    Now intersecting with Skunk Creek, the route will divert you onto the Skunk Canyon Trail. Navigate a few sets of switchbacks beneath the timberline. At the next junction, keep left, and you will be diverted onto the Mesa Trail. Trek along the forested ridge beneath the sparse tree coverage, enjoying cityscape sights peeking through the tree breaks. You will once again cross over Skunk Creek, where you will take the Mesa Connector Trail before merging onto the NCAR Trail. This path will guide you out of the forestlands and through lush grasslands before delivering you back to the NCAR buildings and the parking lot, marking the end of your walk. ​

    Trail Highlights

    National Center for Atmospheric Research

    The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is a federally funded research and development center that sits atop Table Mountain near Boulder, CO. The NCAR is a research and scientific facility that investigates atmospheric topics of weather, water, climate, atmospheric chemistry, and more! Be sure to explore the impressive grounds and check if they are offering tours!

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Where can you park at NCAR?

    When NCAR is closed, there is plenty of parking at the trailhead off Deer Valley Road.

    Are dogs permitted on the NCAR Ramble Trail?

    Yes, dogs are permitted on the NCAR Ramble Trail but must remain on-leash.

    Insider Hints for NCAR Ramble Trail

    • If NCAR is closed, you can park at an alternative trailhead off Deer Valley Road
    • Trade your hiking boots for snowshoes in the winter months!
    • Take a camera, trust us
    • Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes as you walk along the arid terrain
    • Why not grab a coffee at The Laughing Goat after your hike?

    Getting to the NCAR Ramble Trail Trailhead

    The NCAR Ramble Hike departs from the trailhead and parking lot off NCAR Road.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground


    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type


    NCAR Ramble Trail Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

    Check Area Weather

    NCAR Ramble Trail Reviews

    Add a comment

    You must be logged in to post a comment.

    Nearby Trails

    Nearby Regions

    Get travel inspiration and discounts

    Join our weekly travel newsletter