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1 miles

Elevation Gain

500 ft

Route Type



Added by Joshua Harrington

One of the best camping areas in Boulder's backyard.

Notice: there are lots of ATVs/dirt bikes here on some weekends. It can also be loud with rowdy locals at times, but I've never had any issue with them personally.

Sugarloaf is close to Boulder and offers quite bit for a 25-minute drive up Canyon Boulevard. The obvious first, you can hike up Sugarloaf (8,917') in about 20-25 minutes and the views are great. You can see James Peak and the alluring (for you mountaineers) Mt. Bancroft to the west, Bear Peak and South Boulder Peak to the east-southeast and many other peaks from the top. Check out Eric's sunrise adventure for more details on the hike.

You can also camp here (for free) in a number of dedicated campsites along the spider web of forest service roads. When you are driving up to Sugarloaf and you reach the big circular dirt parking lot (there are trees in the center), you'll want to take a hard left onto a dirt trail that runs south (then curves west). This is the southern route of the Switzerland Trail and leads to the camping. Take a look at this map. The dirt roads you see in the center are forest service roads with many different campsites. This is primitive camping with no amenities. Some sites have stone fire pits built by previous campers, but that's it. Some sites are large enough for 3-4 tents and a few are suitable for one tent or hammock camping. If you have the time, take an hour or so and drive around the Switzerland Trail and the forest service roads-it's pretty scenic in places and you can quickly get the lay of the land. You can also find great picnic spots and just chill for lunch or a beautiful sunset.

From your campsite you can easily walk back to the base of Sugarloaf and hike it (around 2hrs total), or you can hike west and summit Bald Mountain (9,147'), or just hike around the trails and roads interwoven nearby.

It's an excellent quick getaway from Boulder. Only 25 minutes up Boulder Canyon and you'll swear you're in the backcountry.

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