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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Colorado Community Areas > Boulder Open Space

Quick Facts

Mesa Trail

Beginning Elevation: 6,000 Feet (1870.3 Meters) Chautaugua Park Trailhead
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain, One-way: 410 Feet (127.8 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 5,880 Feet (1832.9 Meters) Mesa Trailhead
Handicapped Accessible: No
Length, One-way: 6.9 Miles (11.5 Kilometers)
Other Maps: City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks: Trails in the Boulder Valley
Usage: Heavy Please stay on the trail to avoid further impact.
USGS Map: Eldorado Springs Quadrangle 7.5 Minute Series
Vehicle Accessibility: Passenger Vehicle

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Visitors will find Mesa Trail at the Vogel Canyon Picnic Area
Copyright: Amy Pyle - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Visitors will find Mesa Trail at the Vogel Canyon Picnic Area
The Mesa Trail leads 6.9 miles south from Chautaugua Park Trailhead to Mesa Trailhead. It provides excellent views of the Flatirons as it passes east of them for at least a mile from the Chautaugua Trailhead. The first trail the Mesa intersects is the McClintock Trail. A short distance south the trail intersects the Enchanted Mesa Trail, then the Kohler Mesa Trail. From this point Mesa Trail climbs slightly to 6,300 feet then remains at that elevation as it passes through Skunk Canyon and crosses two drainages. The trail descends slightly as it intersects the trails that extend from the NCAR Trailhead.

After passing over Table Mesa the trail enters Bear Canyon Creek, follows the drainage for a short distance and ascends to 6,400 feet. It then crosses the Fern Canyon drainage remaining fairly level. The trail splits less than a mile south of Fern Canyon. Take the right fork at this junction. Continuing southward the trail splits again immediately east of the rock formation known as Devils Thumb. Again follow the right fork ascending slightly then dropping into Shadow Canyon. The trail descends from 6,600 feet in Shadow Canyon to 5,880 feet at the Mesa Trailhead during the last mile.

Directions from Highway 36: Exit the highway on Table Mesa Drive, south of Boulder. Turn west and follow Table Mesa Drive approximately 3.5 miles to the NCAR facility.

Directions from State Road 93: Traveling south from Boulder on State Highway 93 turn right on to Eldorado Springs Drive. Follow this road for 1.75 miles to the Mesa Trailhead.

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Geology Mesa Trail
ICON Hiking & Walking Mesa Trail
ICON Bird Identification Mesa Trail
ICON Wildflower Identification Mesa Trail

Related Activities
Chautaugua Park Trailhead - The Chautaugua Park Trailhead is the gateway to the Flatirons. It provides access to several climbing and hiking trails within the Boulder Mountain Parks.

NCAR Trailhead - The NCAR Trailhead lies atop Table Mesa southwest of Boulder proper. It provides access to several trails in Boulder Mountain Parks and Open Space.


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