NCAR Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Jennifer Broome

The Flatirons are the prime spot to hike in Boulder. One of the lesser-known gems in the Flatirons is Woods Quarry. This is a one-of-a-kind pit stop in Colorado is perfect for a picnic and to just kick back and enjoy the view. 3.5 miles round trip (can easily add additional mileage).

You can start from Chautauqua Park, but I prefer to start at NCAR, especially since there is ample parking and you can take a bathroom break inside before hitting the trail. From the intersection of Table Mesa Drive and Broadway in Boulder, drive west on Table Mesa to its end at the NCAR building. Take a few moments to check out their World of Weather Exhibit. It’s really well done and it is free. The trailhead is on the northwest side of the building just off the road.

From the NCAR Trailhead, the hike is about 3.5 miles round trip with a elevation gain of close to 400 feet. You can easily add more mileage starting at a lower access point on NCAR grounds or hiking additional trails. The NCAR trail is easy. It starts on a small mesa, turns into a short rocky slope that opens up to a saddle, then climbs another ridge to a water tank before connecting to the Mesa Trail in a pretty valley.

As you hike on to the Mesa Trail, you will get some a couple of short, steep hills, a small water crossing and a couple of switchbacks before hitting a fairly level trail that offers great views of Boulder. Mesa Trail is very popular with hikers, trail runners, and folks hiking with dogs. Make sure to enjoy the wildflowers along the way.

Look for a little cabin. There’s a bit of mystery with Roosa Cabin. It was part of an old Boulder family homestead. It is not known how old the cabin is, but it was occupied as a residence in the 1970s. Turn left and this starts the steepest part of the hike. Don’t worry, the steep, stair-step climb is short. Just about the time you want to stop, you’ll be there.

The quarry is an open shelf below an avalanche of rocks. I’m not sure who built the stone chaise lounges and sofas but this outdoor living room is perfect for taking in a view of Boulder below.

The stones are all sandstone. Woods Quarry began operations in the 1890s and the sandstone was used for sidewalks and buildings in Boulder. The quarry shut down because of competition from more accessible quarries and in 1920 the City of Boulder purchased the land for public recreation and conservation.

If you want a slightly shorter route, start at Chautauqua Park. From the intersection of Broadway St. and Baseline Rd., drive west up Baseline Rd. for 1.1 miles and turn left into the parking area. The park is very popular so get there early as parking can be an issue. For a 2.8 mile round trip hike with 964 foot elevation gain, take the Bluebell Road leading south from the Chautauqua Trailhead and continue south on the Mesa Trail. Turn right at the stone cabin to get to the abandoned quarry.

Tags

Fitness
Mountain Biking
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers

Stay Nearby

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder A-Lodge Camping

From $40/night

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder A-Lodge Hostel

From $39/night

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder A-Lodge Cabin

From $149/night

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder A-Lodge Hotel

From $99/night

Nearby Adventures

Hike to Mars Blocks

4.6 Miles Round Trip - 1800 ft gain

Scramble Angel's Way

5 Miles Round Trip - 1000 ft gain

Trail Run Near Boulder - NCAR Hill Climb

2 Miles Round Trip - 700 ft gain

More Nearby Adventures

Tours

More Tours

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Good, Easy Hike

This is a great hike for beginners or people visiting from out of town who aren't used to the altitude. The trail is easy to follow without and overly steep sections. Nice views of Boulder from the rock chairs at the end of the trail! A review below mentioned that the trail is under construction, but that is now done.

Rachel Algra

about 2 years ago

Good For A Quick Hike

This was a good hike but nothing spectacular. There were ample inclines, giving you a great cardio challenge, but the views weren't anything to write home about. Also, the trail is under construction right now so there are unfinished trail sections where they've started laying stones down, but a lot of areas with large piles of stone and construction signs.

Views

This peaceful spot has amazing views of Boulder. A great place to relax and enjoy an afternoon.

Summer, a season not to be missed in Aspen!

"I came for the winter, and stayed for the summer," is a phrase you'll often hear around town.  The weather is one of the highlights. During the day the temperature hovers in the 70's and 80's, and by evening the mercury will drop into the 60's. Arts & culture enthusiasts will be just as fulfilled as the adventure junkie during summer in Aspen.  The events calendar abounds with activities for everyone, from cultural events to athletic pursuits.

Experiencing all Aspen has to offer is as easy as opening the front door. Join us for a summer adventure that’s anything but ordinary.

Advertisement