Saturday, June 15, 2013

Boulder Happy Hour Hikes

My wife and I want to hike more. The problem with having friends who live in Boulder on Facebook is that they post a lot of pictures of hiking – and  not just in Boulder. Every week we have some friend post of hiking in Moab, Arches, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Sand Dunes National Park, etc. You start to feel like you’re letting Colorado and the American southwest go to waste. The problem is that we have just not had (okay, made) time to do some of the most fantastic hikes and we certainly cannot do them every weekend. So instead of going far and wide, my wife and I are exploring hikes that short (3 miles or less) and close (within 20-30 min) that we can do in the evening – even after work.

Anne U White Trail

Trailhead: 40° 3.564'N 105° 19.184'W

This trail was a 20-minute drive from our house. We turned off of Broadway just before it got to Rt. 36 to Lyons. The parking area was small (4-6 cars) and we grabbed the last spot. The water was high due to some run-off from snow that we had received earlier in the week.

Apparently the trail closes in the afternoons during the summers due to the danger of flash flooding. The trail is certainly never far from the stream that it follows. In fact, in crosses it 22 times (by our count) on the way up. There is a nice picturesque falls partway up.

The end of the trail was a little anti-climactic. It could potentially connect to some other trails were it not for the pesky private land thing. We did have a fun moment at the end where we set up my camera to take a picture of us and a butterfly started trying to get nectar from my orange Nikon.

Bald Mountain Preserve

Trailhead: 40° 2.862'N 105° 20.478'W
Time from our house: 20 min

This one had great views for a pretty low cost of hiking (not a lot of vertical). There are some nice picnic tables right near the parking area. The route is a lollipop, we got to the divide and went counter-clockwise along the fence. Around the corner are the remnants of a forest fire that went through the area a few years ago. When you come around the corner you find yourself on the top of the mountain. There is a bench there with a great view of Green Mountain. This would be a great picnic area for a Friday.


Sugarloaf Mountain

Trailhead: 40° 1.504'N 105° 25.490'W
Time from our house: 30 min
Distance: 0.7mi one-way, 500m elevation

Our guidebook that recommended this one cited the amazing sunrises and sunsets that can be seen from the summit. This was a bit long on our driving time limit, but it was well worth it. There are actually several ways that you can start this hike – but they all lead to the same place. We started up the trail with the two poles connected by a chain. About 0.4 miles up there was a park bench that would be perfect for watching the sunrise. I was a little surprised when at 0.7 miles we were at the top – just in time to catch the last of the sunset. There were some amazing views. I would love to do this one as a sunrise hike at some point.

Walden Ponds

Trailhead: 40° 2.635'N 105° 11.023'W
Drive Time: 20 min

This was a fun easy walk among some beautiful ponds. It kinda gives you hope about the damage we do to places to think that these used to be gravel pits. This walk also has great views of the flatirons.  The one downside is that there were some decently intense mosquitos. The trail was level gravel – it would be perfectly walkable for my mother who has Parkinson’s.

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