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Catch the Sunrise at Chautauqua

Boulder, Colorado



2 miles

Elevation Gain

900 ft

Route Type



Added by Reghan Gillman

Avoid the usual crowds at Chautauqua by waking up early to witness a beautiful sunrise on the Front Range. There's no better way to start your day!

Hiking the Flatirons at Chautauqua is a very popular hiking spot for Boulder residents and visitors. But the best way to experience this magnificent sight is before the sun comes up...plus breakfast!

Your start time should be somewhere between 4-4:30 AM. The hike should take around 45 minutes to an hour (and you'll want to set up for breakfast), so this should give you plenty of time to watch the 6 AM sunrise. Drive to Chautauqua (or walk if you're close by) and park in the parking lot near the Ranger Station. Before heading out on the trail, make sure you have your headlamp...you will definitely need it!

The trail begins on a wide path through open space and grows more narrow as you gain more elevation. After about a half-mile, the trail splits so make sure to stay right for the 1st Flatiron trail. Switchbacks begin and you will cross a field of large rocks and boulders...this is where your headlamp will really become handy! Look out for loose rocks and make sure to look where you're going while crossing the talus field. After a little while you will reach a large rock face, which is the beginning of the flatiron. There are foot notches to aide you up the 8' foot face, and a little scrambling is required.

Once you have reached the top, you've reached the ultimate sunrise spot! This area has a large rock platform that is perfect for setting up for breakfast and grabbing a great seat. With a portable hiking stove, you can easily cook bacon, eggs and hash browns.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy your breakfast and the beautiful sunrise! If you didn't get enough, you can always keep heading up the trail to reach the top of the first flatiron.

If you do make breakfast, remember to carry out your trash and leave no trace!

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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