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Foothills Bench Trail

Easy/Intermediate

Trail

2.0 mile 3.2 kilometer point to point
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 108' 33 m
Descent: -100' -30 m
High: 5,690' 1,734 m
Low: 5,657' 1,724 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 10% (6°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Map Key

Trail shared by Megan W

This under-appreciated trail rambles along the base of the foothills covering unique terrain.

Megan W

Features River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers

No bikes or dogs.

Description

This trail is typically done as an out-and-back starting at the southern end. From where the Foothills North Trail turns sharply south, look for a faint path heading uphill just east of the rail fence. This initial part of the Foothills Bench Trail climbs a short ridge to overlook the Foothills Trailhead and the brushy creek that parallels the Foothills North Trail.

Continue north on Foothills Bench Trail as it dips into shallow ravines and rises up over narrow spines. The trail is usually very skinny and sometimes becomes flooded by side streams in spring. This mostly level route is not very taxing and affords good views to the east of Boulder Reservoir, Haystack Mountain and the plains. One downside is the constant traffic noise from highway 36. There are a few small ponds formed behind the banks of the trail.

Follow the contours of the hillside and across sunny fields, occasionally reaching a brushy gully with running water. In spring especially, these flooded areas wash out the trail, sometimes necessitating a nervy leap across a deep hole or rock hopping through a cascade. Mostly the route is easy going. Be sure to stop at the rocky outcrops to take in the views.

Depending on the weather, you may see paragliders swooping around in the updrafts near the Wonderland Lake area. Other views to the south include side-on flatirons, Bear Peak and Green Mountain. The trail terminates unceremoniously at a small industrial park area, most commonly known for the McGuckin's storage facility nearby. Turn around here and retrace your steps.

Flora & Fauna

Wildflowers, soaring hawks

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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know

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Check-Ins

Apr 8, 2019
Kat Takahashi
Dry trail, wildflowers are starting to bloom 4.1mi — 1h 30m
Dec 17, 2017
Ryan Collier
Dec 13, 2017
Ron Olsen
Hiked from home to northern end of trail at No Trespassing fence and back. Weather was sunny and 50°. 5.2mi

Trail Ratings

  3.7 from 7 votes

#10

in Boulder

#9978

Overall
  3.7 from 7 votes
5 Star
14%
4 Star
57%
3 Star
14%
2 Star
14%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#10

in Boulder

#962

in Colorado

#9,978

Overall
2 Views Last Month
527 Since May 11, 2015
Easy/Intermediate

14%
86%
0%
0%
0%
0%

Photos

Rolling along in the Boulder foothills
May 12, 2015 near Boulder, CO
Looking south from the Foothills Bench Trail
May 12, 2015 near Boulder, CO
Typical rolling terrain on the Foothills Bench Trail
May 11, 2015 near Boulder, CO
The trail won't stay this green and lush in the summer!
May 12, 2015 near Boulder, CO
Looking south at Bear Peak and Green Mountain
May 11, 2015 near Boulder, CO
Junction of Foothills North Trial with Foothills Bench Trail
May 11, 2015 near Boulder, CO

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