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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.
    897 m
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    12.7 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.
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
    Physical DIFF
    Easy (Circle)
    Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
    Technical DIFF
    Directions to Trailhead

    South Boulder Peak

    Panorama on the South Boulder Peak hike in Boulder, Colorado

    Download an interactive map and guide on your phone today!

    Table of contents

    The South Boulder Peak hike takes you to Boulder’s highest peak. This is a somewhat strenuous hike, taking you through a patch of recently burned forest. The views from the summit of South Boulder Peak are well worth the climb!

    Route Description for South Boulder Peak

    Begin the hike from the South Mesa Trailhead via the Mesa Trail. Cross a small bridge over South Boulder Creek and hike past an old ranch house.

    Take hikers left, onto Homestead Trail. After approximately 1 mile, Homestead Trail reconnects with the wide and maintained Mesa Trail. Quickly, you will arrive at a junction in the trail; stay left as you merge onto Shadow Canyon South Trail. This is also a wide and maintained trail which gradually climbs to the beginning of Shadow Canyon and an old cabin.

    Shadow Canyon is a steep and strenuous hike that quickly gains elevation. Large boulders and thick forest make this section of the hike seem secluded and adventurous. Peeking through the trees, you can occasionally spot Devil’s Thumb sticking out over the rocky ridge above. The steep hiking and switchbacks, lead you into a burned section of forest from a recent wildfire.

    Eventually, you reach the saddle between South Boulder Peak (2,606 m) and Bear Peak (2,578 m). A sign post indicates the way, taking you left at the T-junction in the trail. After a little more climbing, the trail becomes rocky as you head to the summit. Unlike its close neighbor, Bear Peak, the summit of South Boulder Peak can be easily reached. From the summit, panoramic views of the area are jaw-dropping!

    To descend, hike back the way you came.

    Find more amazing hikes around Boulder:

    Insider Hints for South Boulder Peak

    • Pay to Park at the trailhead unless your vehicle is registered in Boulder.
    • Shadow Canyon will retain snow and ice for longer periods of time, so plan your hike accordingly, giving sufficient time after a winter storm for it all to melt.
    • Bear Peak and South Boulder Peak can be combined into one hike for a great day out!
    • South Boulder Peak is one of the five tallest peaks along the Boulder Front Range, which can all be linked via the Skyline Traverse.
    • South Boulder Peak, with its considerable elevation gain, is considered excellent training for hikers aspiring to step up to the 14ers (Colorado summits >4,267 m above sea-level).

    Getting to the South Boulder Peak Trailhead

    From Boulder head south on 93 towards Golden. At a traffic light, head west on Eldorado Springs Dr. (170) until the signs for South Mesa Trailhead and the parking lot become visible on the north side of the road.

    Route Information

    • When to do:

      Year round

    • Backcountry Campsites:


    • Toilets:

      Yes, primitive pit toilet

    • Family friendly:


    • Route Signage:


    • Crowd Levels:


    • Route Type:

      Out and back

    South Boulder Peak Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

    Check Area Weather


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