Hike to the 1st Flatiron

Colorado Chautauqua Park Trailhead

  • Activities:

    Photography, Running, Hiking, Fitness, Rock Climbing

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    2.4 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1422 Feet

Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Scenic

Leave the crowd behind by pushing yourself just that bit further - passed the beautiful 2nd Flatiron and finishing behind the grand, and iconic, 1st Flatiron.

Starting at the ever-popular and ever-populated Chautauqua Trailhead, take the main trail (a highway version of a dirt trail) straight towards the Flatirons. Continue going straight passed the Ski Jump trail to your right (0.2 mi.), then at a crossroads with the Bluebell-Baird trail (0.3 mi.) turn right onto the 1st/2nd Flatiron trail (0.7 mi.). Follow this trail over a rock slide, twice, and passed the 2nd Flatiron via several switchbacks. Don't be fooled, once you reach the 2nd Flatiron, continue through a saddleback, up a couple more switchbacks, and up to the backside of the 1st Flatiron.

Once there, find yourself a nook in the rock, sit, and listen to swallows and swifts chirping overhead as you look out toward Indian Peaks Wilderness area and Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park.

If you'd like to assist in keeping Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks clean like I do, perhaps carry along a bag to fill with any trash you come across along the way. Because of the high use of this beautiful area, some treat it with less than the respect it deserves - leave no trace!

Pack List

This is a fairly straightforward hike in a high-traffic area, so should you need any assistance, you should find many willing Boulderites around to help out. While it is a simple hike in a busy area, you should still go prepared:

  • Hiking boots or running shoes
  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Smile! (You will stick out like a sore thumb if you don't smile to your fellow hikers!)

Note: This hike is possible in the Winter, but be careful when hiking in snow. I suggest some type of boot crampon to avoid slipping!

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Reviews

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Having only lived in Colorado for a week, I was looking for a hike that would challenge me, but also something that wasn't going to over exert me on my first hike. I'll start by saying the weather the prior two days was not ideal. Being from Wisconsin, I expect the unexpected, but nonetheless I was still disappointed thinking my weekend for hiking was shot. Much like Wisconsin, I am learning the weather here in CO is anything but reliable. Even with less than ideal weather the prior two days, I decided to head up to Boulder from Westminster where I reside and put some distance on my boots. The trail head is not hard to miss... if you do... something is wrong. The start of the trail was extremely muddy, which made the first part of the hike go slower than average, but it was really not much of an issue. The weather was perfect sunny, cloudless, and about 55 degrees. Once you hit the tree line the snow was visible, but did not make for any issues. The trail is well marked and with the heavy traffic it sees it is almost impossible to get off track. I will say once the switch backs start, the snow was packed down and icy due to the amount of hikers making the trek some what difficult; however, nothing that even a beginner couldn't handle. One recommendation would be to invest in some clamp on spikes or any other strap on tread making walking on ice easier. Once I reached the summit of the flatiron, the views were fantastic for how close you are to Boulder. In total it took me about an hour to reach the top, where I had a snack, hydrated, and snapped a few photos. The trek back down was slow going until you finish with the switch backs due to the icy trail, again I recommend spikes/strap on tread. My total time on the trail with the time I spend up top was about 2 1/2 hours. I am a pretty athletic person, but felt that I was moving a good pace with the trail conditions. Once I am more acclimated to the altitude here in CO I'm sure I could do the hike much quicker. Great hike, great views, and a hike for just about anyone. I will definitely be doing this hike again with visitors.

5 months ago
5 months ago

Great day hike with a variety of terrain. Hit the trail early because a lot of people come around later in the afternoon

6 months ago
6 months ago

This trail was a little more difficult than expected. Snow and Ice made passing others a little difficult in places, and convinced us to go buy shoe spikes. We pussed-out going to the top as you do have to navigate a fairly steep incline at the end. I had fun just being outside and enjoying the hike. It's about the trip there not the destination.

10 months ago
10 months ago

I've lived in Colorado for almost 7 months and I've done this trail 5 times. Need I say more? Each hike it gets a little easier but the view at the top never gets old.

10 months ago
10 months ago

For the distance of hike you can't beat the views. Right outside the city, easily accessible and killer views.

11 months ago
11 months ago

Love this short, steep hike. Spent my summer just outside Boulder and was lucky enough to get to the top of the Flatirons twice. The first time I did this hike, and the second time around I free-soloed the second flat iron- another must do for any climbers out there.

11 months ago
11 months ago

My husband and I went on this hike on our honeymoon. It is close to Boulder, making it very accessible. The directions provided were wonderful and we were able to find the trail head with no problem. The switchbacks were a little more steep than anticipated but the view from the top was well worth it!

12 months ago
12 months ago

Pretty easy and quick hike with great views from the top and on the way

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Beautiful views all along the way and there was just enough people not to feel absolutely alone but without it feeling crowded. The top had great views and was really peaceful. If you are lucky you might find a few people climbing the 1st flatiron. If you go on winter be ready for slipping all the way down, snow made it really hard to descend. I didn't even wear running shoes and managed to made it through, though it would have been way easier with crampons, I strongly recommend wearing them if possible.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Annie Rumbles

23. Denverite. Photographer. Hop-head.

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