South Mesa Loop
ElevationAscent: 512' 156 m
Descent: -515' -157 m
High: 6,123' 1,866 m
Low: 5,621' 1,713 m
GradeAvg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 14% (8°)
Current trail conditions
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“Stunning scenery and a little history...”— Tom Robson
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...
Note that on the return, taking the Towhee trail is roughly the same distance, not very different, and thus a fine alternative.
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.
Be sure to check out the South Mesa Historic Route provided by Boulder County Open Space.
Land Manager: Boulder County, CO - Parks and Open Space