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South Mesa Loop

 4.0 (9)
Trail Mapped Wrong?

Length

3.0 Miles 4.8 Kilometers


Elevation

512' 156 m

Ascent

-515' -157 m

Descent

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

14%

Max Grade (8°)

6,123' 1,866 m

High

5,621' 1,713 m

Low

Conditions


Bad / Closed 21 hours ago
Muddy History

Getting forecast...

Stunning scenery and a little history...

Tom Robson

Overview [Suggest Changes]

The South Mesa area offers a wide variety of resources that reflect the history of Boulder County. A fun day hike here will take you to see everything from historic ranches to stone walls to summer retreats.

Note that on the return, taking the Towhee trail is roughly the same distance, not very different, and thus a fine alternative.
Features: Views — Wildflowers [Add/Remove]
Family Friendly: The options from the South Mesa TH are almost endless allowing users of any ability to have fun. The wildflowers and views don't hurt, either...
Dogs: Leashed

Need to Know [Suggest Changes]

There's one theme that keeps popping up in all the oral histories for this area - the people who lived here all remember rattlesnakes!

Description [Suggest Changes]

From the South Mesa trailhead, hike northwest on Mesa Trail. This section is wide and very easy. Shortly after crossing South Boulder Creek, bear left onto Towhee.

Towhee trail starts directly adjacent to the historic Dunn House, just to the west of the Mesa Trail. From the get-go you'll have wide-open, sweeping views of the South Mesa area.

If you're hiking this trail during Spring, you'll most likely be treated with wildflower views as well as the usual mountain vistas. At the first intersection you encounter, turn left onto Homestead Trail.

Homestead, named for the historic homesteads surrounding this trail, doesn't actually directly encounter any of the historic sites. Although it does allow you access to other trails that do!

Starting from Towhee, Homestead Trail heads due west and contours the hillside. At ~.25mi, the trail heads due directly north and switchbacks four times to gain the ridge. Once on the ridge, Homestead Trail is very straightforward. The last semi-technical aspect of this trail is a drop into and out of Shadow Canyon proper. From here the trail contours north, eventually connecting with Mesa Trail.

Turn right onto Mesa Trail, which eventually takes you back to the South Mesa trailhead. Mesa descends into Eldorado Canyon and proves to be one of the most heavily crowded sections of trail in Boulder. This portion of trail is also very sun-exposed, so using it during summer can prove a scorcher.

Flora & Fauna [Suggest Changes]

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.

History & Background [Suggest Changes]

Historic Dunn House. McGillvray Cabin on Towhee Trail at Shadow Canyon. Old Schoolmarm Cabin on Mesa Trail. Stockton Cabin on Shadow Canyon Trail at South Boulder Peak.

Be sure to check out the South Mesa Historic Route provided by Boulder County Open Space.

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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Jun 8, 2018
Eric Nysather
3mi
May 27, 2018
Paul Ahnn
Apr 22, 2018
Josh Mango
3mi
Apr 1, 2018
Aislinn Struble
Mar 3, 2018
Kristopher Fairley
Feb 25, 2018
Eyal Kaplan
Sep 4, 2017
Mario Orozco
Aug 5, 2017
Jeffrey Rettig

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 9 votes

#2

in Doudy Draw

#2080

Overall
  4.0 from 9 votes
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22%
4 Star
56%
3 Star
22%
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Rankings

#2

in Doudy Draw

#297

in Colorado

#2,080

Overall
228 Views Last Month
1,626 Since May 5, 2015
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