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5 Boulder Winter Hikes

Fewer hikers, bright-blue Boulder skies, and the occasional quiet blanket of snow make hiking in winter a treat. Below you'll find a few favorite Boulder winter hikes to try.

Rest assured, Boulder's weather is mild — the temperatures are moderate and often there isn't a lot of snow on the ground. You’ll rarely need snowshoes, just hiking boots, sometimes with slip-on cleats (like YakTrax). No matter the weather, do as the locals do: just put on a coat and hat and go!

Help protect Boulder's natural beauty by remembering these Leave No Trace principles, and be sure to check the Open Space and Mountain Parks Trail Map for closures before you go.

Woman hiker overlooking the valley covered in snow with sunshine

Canyon Loop at Betasso Preserve

Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult
Distance: 3.3-mile loop
Dogs allowed: Yes, leashed
Trail Map
Where to Park
A diverse, 3.3-mile loop has mountain views, sprawling meadows, tightly forested areas, panoramic overlooks and a fair amount of wildlife spotting. It’s a popular mountain biking destination, so going in winter time means you are less likely to have to step aside for bikers. And if you want to avoid that altogether, plan your hike for a Wednesday or Saturday, when the trail is closed to bikes. The trail is a long, meandering loop that only gets really challenging in the last mile (or first mile, depending on which direction you start).


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Stick To Trails

Get muddy! Remember to stay on trail, even when it’s muddy. Stepping off trail creates erosion and widens the trail into natural habitat.

Red Rocks Trail at The Peoples' Crossing

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1-mile loop
Dogs allowed: Yes, but see regulations
Trail Map
Where to Park
Finding parking at this trailhead be challenging in the summertime, but winter usually means more availability. It’s a great time of year to wander up a short distance to play around these otherworldly, ochre-colored sandstone formations, hidden in plain sight just minutes from downtown. Recline against the sun-warmed slabs, bring a sandwich and a thermos of something warm, and admire the view of downtown below.

Marshall Mesa

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2.9-mile loop
Dogs allowed: Yes, but see regulations
Where to Park
This sun-soaked South Boulder trail can be a bit of a scorcher in summer but is perfect for a winter warm-up. You’ll travel over rolling hills, through golden prairies and enjoy clear-as-can-be views of the foothills and Rocky Mountains. From the trailhead, you can take the Marshall Valley Trail to the east or the Coal Seam Trail south. Marshall Mesa Trail (0.7 mi) connects Marshall Valley and Community Ditch Trail and a loop hike can be taken combining Marshall Valley, Marshall Mesa and Coal Seam trails.


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Trash the Trash

Get rid of litter even when it isn’t yours! Trashy areas make for poor pictures and an unhealthy ecosystem. Remember, food trash is litter too. Pack out your fruit peels and eggshells (and don't give the chipmunks a stomachache).

Teller Lake

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2.1 miles, one way
Dogs allowed: Yes, except at Teller Lake No. 5 (closer to the North trailhead) — see regulations
Trail Map
Where to Park
If the mountains are socked in (pretty rare!) or you want a more expansive view, head for the plains. Start at the South Teller Lake Trailhead and take the East Boulder Trail, which ambles north past Teller Lake No. 1 and past an active farm, with cattle and horses (and bee keeping in warmer months). You’ll finish at Teller Lake No. 5, a peaceful spot for bird watching. If you prefer to start at the north trailhead, just be aware that dogs are not allowed around Teller Lake No. 5.


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First and Second Flatiron

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 1.3 miles, one way
Dogs allowed: Yes, but see regulations
Trail Map
Where to Park (Heads up: Parking fills up fast here.)
Boulder’s most recognizable Flatirons — the large, slanting, rock formations that are visible from much of town — bring a steady stream of visitors in the summer. You’ll see plenty of other hikers in winter, too, especially on warm days, but it’s a good time to get out on these popular trails while there are fewer crowds. Plus there’s nothing prettier than the Flatirons with a dusting of snow on their ridges. The First and Second Flatiron Trail takes you right up to the two most prominent Flatirons. Start out on the Chautauqua Trail and then follow signs for “1st/2nd Flatiron.” You’ll end at the saddle between the First Flatiron and Sunset Rock.


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