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blue Mesa Trail


6.3 mile 10.1 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 801' 244 m
Descent: -1,190' -363 m
High: 6,428' 1,959 m
Low: 5,623' 1,714 m


Avg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 17% (9°)


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Trail shared by Brian Smith

A backbone of the south Boulder trail system that hugs the foothills.

Brian Smith

Features Birding · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


Mesa Trail runs north to south all the way from the top of Bluebell Road in Chautauqua to the South Mesa Trailhead near Eldorado Springs. As a product of its extended nature, Mesa Trail travels up and down through varied terrain and environments. The general pattern the Mesa Trail follows is into and out of drainages and across flatter sections in between.

Mesa trail connects to pretty much every major east-west trail in south Boulder. Trail junctions include the Kohler and Enchanted Mesa trails, the NCAR trails, Bear Canyon Trail, Fern Canyon trail, North and South Fork Shanahan Trail, Upper Big Bluestem Trail, Shadow Canyon, Homestead Trail and Towhee trails.

Trail users can expect to travel through mixed grassland/prairie and ponderosa pine savannah. Looking westward, great views of the Flatirons and frontrange peaks can be had. Simultaneously, vistas of the plains are on offer to the east. Near the junction with Shadow Canyon South Spur, there are great views of devil's thumb, a large rock tower on South Boulder Peak's southern ridge.

The largest and most sustained elevation change is on Mesa Trail's southern end as it descends into Eldorado Canyon. This portion of trail also happens to be mostly exposed so heading up it during the summer can be a scorcher.

Flora & Fauna

Black bears and mountain lions inhabit this area. The area is rich with wildlife including Peregrine Falcons, Red-tailed Hawks, songbirds, mule deer, and coyotes. This trail passes through a mixture mixed grass prairie ponderosa pine savannah.

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Jul 11, 2019
Máire Ní Oirealla
Jul 6, 2019
Jun 15, 2019
Jason Berling
May 11, 2019
Lopez Karine
May 5, 2019
Brandy Coffey
May 5, 2019
Clancey Potter
Rolling trail, mostly forested but some good views of Boulder and the Flatirons on the way out. Not too hard for our visitors! Combined with the lo… 5mi — 2h 00m
Nov 18, 2018
Joe Martinez
Beautiful 4 inches of snow
Aug 21, 2018
Brooke Kusseling
Combined Mesa Trail with Royal arch. Started at NCAR. Bear Canyon trail and part of Mesa trail closed 6.6mi — 3h 36m

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 27 votes


  4.5 from 27 votes
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in Colorado


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8,515 Since Dec 17, 2014
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