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Shadow Canyon

Difficult
 4.2 (13)

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 13 votes

#3

in Boulder

#5534

Overall
  4.2 from 13 votes
5 Star
54%
4 Star
23%
3 Star
15%
2 Star
8%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#3

in Boulder

#411

in Colorado

#5,534

Overall
120 Views Last Month
3,065 Since Jan 31, 2015
Difficult

0%
0%
7%
0%
93%
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
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
The 'trail' is not always obvious.  Get your stairmaster on!
Jun 15, 2015 near Boulder, CO

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Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 23 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

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
Jun 16, 2019
Brandy Coffey
May 14, 2019
Connie O'Dell
Oct 21, 2018
Caitlin G
Up to Bear Peak and back. 5mi
Sep 29, 2018
Greg Seiver