Hike the South Boulder Creek - Mesa Trail - Lower Big Bluestem Loop

South Boulder Creek Trailhead

The views of the Flatirons from South Boulder are amazing from this trail. Very open and gently graded. Perfect for nature lovers, especially in Spring when native birds are active and nesting in the area and the sound of frogs in the peaceful creek are abundant.

This 4 mile loop ascends only a slight amount in elevation, making for a pleasant loop in which opportunities for appreciation of the nature around you and broad vista photography are in plentiful supply. A great hike for those who may still be building their fitness, as so many trails in Boulder are just straight UP. Also great for the fitness buff trail runner who wants something to run in the area that is relatively flat and picturesque. The trail is rocky in many sections and can be narrow, as well as muddy. Excellent trail shoes are a must.

Park at the trailhead just off Hwy 93, signed Thomas Ln., but don't park on this road. You'll see the dirt parking area. Free for Boulder County registered vehicles, otherwise $5. Take the trail that starts directly from the lot, that's South Boulder. It will split very shortly, so bear right. Down the other trail looks just like a maintenance shack for OSMP. From here on you can't really get lost. The first junction will be about 2 miles in, at Mesa trail. Turn right here, and then only stay on Mesa for a few hundred yards, then you'll see the Lower Big Bluestem trail as your first right. Take it back to the parking lot, making sure you don't veer up to the upper trail. You should feel you are headed back down in elevation and toward the east. The trail will dump you on Thomas Ln., northwest of where you parked by a few hundred yards.

No bikes. Restrooms at the trailhead.

Abundant flowers can be seen in Spring. Coyotes and foxes inhabit the area, and mountain lion prints can also sometimes be found. The sound of frogs and birds, as well as the buzz of many grasshoppers is with the hiker almost all of the way (In May, when we hiked).

On a bright and sunny day, the colors will pop and this is truly one of the places that you can feel you are in Colorful Colorado! Morning photography of the mountains can be especially good.

Pack List

  • Water - at least a liter per person
  • Trail shoes
  • Hat - trail is mostly exposed
  • Sunscreen
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RT Distance 4 Miles
Elevation Gain 300 Feet
Activities Photography, Running, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Easy Parking

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Drizzle And Cool!

Felt like a fall day! Beautiful loop with great views of the Flatirons and nice wildlife especially around dusk. Alway see plenty of deer near the Flatirons!


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