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Shadow Canyon

Difficult
 4.2 (17)

A stiff climb to the sandy saddle between Bear Peak and South Boulder Peak.


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Map Key

1.1

Miles

1.8

KM

Point to Point

8,178' 2,493 m

High

6,570' 2,002 m

Low

1,608' 490 m

Up

0' 0 m

Down

27%

Avg Grade (15°)

59%

Max Grade (30°)

Dogs Leashed

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

Description

Directly after crossing Shadow Creek, this trail heads straight up. Follow the creek as you weave around massive boulders, stair stepping almost the entire way.

Although this trail gives little to no shelter from the immense incline laid before you, it does offer some amazing views of Devil's Thumb's rarely seen backside. Additionally, the trail provides some fleeting views of both Bear Peak and South Boulder Peak.

The bottom portion of this trail is set deeply in a conifer forest and will provide the best opportunity for potential wildlife sightings. At the steepest and most difficult section of trail (where it switchbacks multiple times), you'll be set in a large burn zone.

This burn area is the product of a massive fire, the Flagstaff fire (also called the Bison fire). Started June 26th, 2012, this fire burned approximately 300 acres and closed a large portion of the City of Boulder Mountain Parks for public use. This trail was reopened June 7th, 2013 - almost a year post-fire!

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Tom Robson

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 17 votes

#1

in South Mesa

#2108

Overall
  4.2 from 17 votes
5 Star
53%
4 Star
18%
3 Star
24%
2 Star
6%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#1

in South Mesa

#275

in Colorado

#2,108

Overall
15 Views Last Month
4,406 Since Jan 31, 2015
Difficult

0%
0%
6%
12%
82%
0%

Photos

Shadow Canyon offers an interesting look at a standing dead forest left as the remains of a forest fire.
Apr 3, 2017 near Boulder, CO
Sick view from Peak 1.
May 28, 2022 near Boulder, CO
Getting up near the top, the trail levels out (relatively speaking) into switchbacks as you enter the burned area (Bison Flagstaff Fire, 2012)
Jun 15, 2015 near Boulder, CO
The steep walls of Shadow Canyon provide a cool respite from the heat - and the mosses love it!
Jun 15, 2015 near Boulder, CO
This is what Shadow Canyon Trail looks like, mostly.  Steep and rocky.
Dec 7, 2019 near Boulder, CO
Devil's Thumb's rarely seen backside.
Jan 31, 2015 near Boulder, CO

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Check-Ins

Jul 16, 2022
Liz Ryan
2.5 miles of approach that was challenging, 1.4 of steep incline to peak, took 5 breaks, needed more water than 4L for us & 32 oz for Basti 8.5mi — 4h 40m
Apr 30, 2022
Jody Rae
Jul 10, 2021
Taylor West
Jun 14, 2020
C R
Jun 12, 2020
Amy Navvab
2.2mi
May 29, 2020
Cynthia B.
Feb 16, 2020
Mark Rainford
Dec 7, 2019
Jack Dominey
1600 feet climb in 1.1 mi is an average 27% grade. Hard to imagine if you've never done it. 1.1mi