Heil Valley Ranch

August 19, 2019 Comments Off on Mesa Trail Boulder Running Routes, Great Places to Run in Boulder County

Mesa Trail

Central Boulder

Difficulty:Moderate/Difficult
Dogs:Yes,
Bathrooms:Yes, at Chautauqua Park and at South Mesa Trailhead
Getting There:Mesa Trail stretches 7 miles between Chautauqua Park near Baseline Road and 9th Street and South Mesa Trailhead on Eldorado Canyon Drive. There are several other trails that intersect Mesa Trail. There is limited parking at Chautauqua and on streets in the adjacent neighborhoods. Parking is free on weekdays, but there is a $2.50/hour parking fee from 8 a.m. to 5p.m. (It's free before 8 a.m. and after 5 p.m. The city is also operating its Park to Park shuttle service from May 25 to Sept. 2 in 2019. The program provides satellite parking and free shuttle service to and from Chautauqua in Boulder, Colorado, to create a better visitor experience while reducing vehicular and parking impacts on neighbors and the area’s natural and cultural resources. The program also includes paid parking at Chautauqua and nearby neighborhood streets during summer weekends and holidays. For more information on parking and the shuttle service: https://bouldercolorado.gov/transportation/parktopark

Mesa Trail is a rolling, 7-mile trail that skirts beneath the iconic mountains that make up Boulder’s western horizon line—most notably, Green Mountain, Bear Peak and the Flatirons. It’s one of the longest continuous trails in Boulder and offers great views, a good amount of shade, a few seasonal waterfalls and the chance to see a variety of flora and fauna—including deer, lots of birds, rattlesnakes and even mountain lions. Mountain bikes are prohibited on Mesa Trail, but it is popular among runners and trail runners though never truly crowded except for the first half mile south of Chautauqua.

Numerous trails intersection Mesa Trail, making it possible to make an unlimited number of unique loops that can offer addition mileage or vertical gain. There are a few steep and challenging sections (especially up dirt road section southwest of NCAR), but it is generally runnable the entire way for a fit runner. (For an alternative starting point with a more moderate incline, consider staring by running south on Enchanted Mesa Trail from the back of the back of the Chautauqua auditorium.)

If you plan to run Mesa Trail, be aware the only drinking water source available on the route is the drinking fountain at the Chautauqua Ranger Station. (In other words, carry a water bottle or hydration pack.)

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