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Added by Jeff Richards

See one of Boulder's most iconic destinationsGet in a short, but hard workoutTake in some of the best views of the city and the Flatirons3.2 miles out-and-back1400 foot elevation gain

Start out at the very popular Chautauqua Park Trailhead in Boulder, and head up the main trail (the very wide Bluebird Road) toward the Bluebird Shelter. This first section to the shelter is steep, but it will get you prepared for what is to come. Upon reaching the shelter, after about a half a mile, take a left and follow signs to continue on to the Royal Arch Trail. This part of the trail is the easiest part as it meanders through the pine forest for a quarter of a mile or so.

Now the work begins. Before long you will see a rocky gully that was carved out by the flood waters in 2013. After you cross this gully (it is not deep, it is really nothing more than a dry creek bed, so no worries) the trail gets serious. You immediately begin going uphill, and steeply so. There will be some sections that are just trail, but most of the time there will be rock stairs that you will have to climb. The trail stays steep as it follows along the Third Flatiron and the flood gully up to Sentinel Pass. The Pass is a great spot to stop and take a break, as the worst of the trail is over, and the rocks at the Pass give great places to sit and take in the view.

After continuing on past Sentinel, the trail drops in elevation quite steeply, and then flattens out before the final climb to Royal Arch. This climb is, again, no joke, and should be taken slowly if you are still feeling the climb to Sentinel Pass. However, before long (about a quarter of a mile or so) the Arch will come into view and you'll know you've made it.

Once at the Arch, stop, take in the amazing views of Boulder and much of Eastern Colorado, grab a drink or a bite to each, and take some beautiful pictures to make your friends jealous. When you're done with all this, simply head back on the same trail. The way back is very very simple as there is only one short section of uphill to get back to Sentinel Pass, the rest is easy, surefooted downhill.

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Rock Climbing
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby


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