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Welcome to Chautauqua

 4.3 (17)
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Map Key

Length


1.3 Miles 2.1 Kilometers


437' 133 m

Ascent

-440' -134 m

Descent

13%

Avg Grade (7°)

27%

Max Grade (15°)

6,144' 1,873 m

High

5,704' 1,739 m

Low

Shared By Tom Robson

Conditions


Bad / Closed 36 days ago
Snowy, Icy - Icy and snowy but open History

Getting forecast...

Perhaps the most popular (crowded!) hike in America. And for good reason.

Tom Robson

Dogs Leashed

Features Views · Wildflowers

Family Friendly Bring the kids, bring grandma, Chautauqua has something for everyone!

Overview

Enjoy flowers and prairie grasses as well as magnificent views on this awesome hike. At Bluebell-Baird Trail, you'll head through ponderosa pine and perhaps enjoy a nice picnic on the way!

This is clearly one of the best "bang for your buck" hikes in Boulder. As such, it's always incredibly crowded.

Need to Know

Recommended extensions: Flatirons Loop Trail to the Royal Arch Trail.

Description

From the Chautauqua Ranger Cottage head west on Chautauqua Trail as it ascends towards the flatirons. Try to peel your eyes away from these awe-inspiring geologic formations enough to watch your step. Stay left on Chautauqua Trail as it continues its wide and mostly smooth journey above Boulder. As you gain elevation, take a look back to the east and admire the city from above.

After a short stint in ponderosa pine forest, turn right onto Bluebell-Baird Trail. This trail drops at a mellow grade through the forest to Ski Jump Trail. Although you're just a stone's throw away from Boulder, Bluebell-Baird Trail gives a nicely forested respite from the hubbub of the city.

To finish the loop, turn right onto Ski Jump Trail. Chautauqua was once home to the bustling Mesa Ski area off and on from 1949 to 1963. It had one tow operated by an engine from a World War II Dodge truck and several ski jumps. The ski area struggled with lack of snow and vandalism, and closed for good in 1963.

From the end of Ski Jump Trail, head back onto Chautauqua Trail and take it back to the Ranger Cottage and your car!

Flora & Fauna

Black bears and mountain lions inhabit this area. Many other wildlife species are common including birds of prey, mule deer and coyotes. You'll also enjoy the abundant wildflowers, prairie grasses, and ponderosa pine along this route.

History & Background

The City of Boulder began preserving wild lands over 100 years ago! In 1898, Boulder citizens approved a bond issue to purchase 80 acres of land to be used as a "Chautauqua." Over the next 22 years, Flagstaff Mountain, Bear Mountain, Royal Arch, and Green Mountain were added to the early protected land system. Chautauqua Dining Hall and Auditorium was built in 1898. Chautauqua Ranger Cottage was built in 1987.

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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Jan 25, 2019
Catie Carnes
Jan 6, 2019
Edgar Villeda
Not difficult, short. Beautiful scenery of Boulder.
Oct 28, 2018
Christopher Wallis
Oct 27, 2018
Joe W
first hike with Sarah. 1.4mi
Sep 17, 2018
Brian Rishel
1.3mi
Sep 13, 2018
Daniel Collier
Great trail! Parking is limited though, was pretty crowded when we got there! Love that its dog friendly and beautiful views
Aug 15, 2018
Matt Warner
Aug 11, 2018
Tiffany Popdan

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 17 votes

#685

Overall
  4.3 from 17 votes
5 Star
41%
4 Star
47%
3 Star
12%
2 Star
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1 Star
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Rankings

#135

in Colorado

#685

Overall
89 Views Last Month
3,219 Since May 5, 2015
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