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Hogback Ridge Loop

Intermediate
 3.5 (22) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

This pleasant loop offers views, wildflowers and solitude - all conveniently close to town.


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Map Key

2.1

Miles

3.4

KM

Loop

6,400' 1,951 m

High

5,660' 1,725 m

Low

740' 225 m

Up

739' 225 m

Down

13%

Avg Grade (8°)

41%

Max Grade (22°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

The Hogback Ridge Trail is a satisfying short loop at the northern end of the Foothills North Trail. It does not see as much traffic as you would expect for being so close to the neighborhoods of north Boulder.

Need to Know

There is little shade on the trail, so be prepared. Take care scrambling at the summit, rattlesnakes have been seen here.

Description

There are several ways to access this loop including parking at either the Foothills Trailhead or the Fourmile Creek Trail and utilizing parts of the Foothills North Trail to reach the start of the Hogback Ridge Trail. Instead, what follows is a description of the closest parking that gets you on the Hogback Ridge Trail quickly.

Use the street parking at the northwestern-most corner of the new Dakota Ridge neighborhood (corner of Denver and 2nd St.). Find the gap in the fence and head west along the neighborhood access trail. Soon you reach an eroded area at the intersection with the Foothills North Trail. Ignore the Foothills North Trail and continue straight (west) until you reach a sign for the Hogback Ridge Trail.

From here, the loop can be done in either direction: opt for counter-clockwise if you want a longer gentler climb up and a fast descent, or clockwise if you want to get your heart pounding at first and preserve your knees on the descent. The following is a description of the loop in the counter-clockwise direction- that is, heading north (right) first instead of west (left).

The trail ambles north, gradually gaining elevation as it covers open fields of tall grass and wildflowers. The narrow trail has many large embedded rocks with some sections of loose stones. The trail passes a spring and numerous boulders, providing sweeping views of the eastern plains. Travel along the benches of the foothills, until the northernmost point after which the trail steepens noticeably. Here the ascent begins in earnest, climbing several challenging sections around the northern end of the ridge.

Next, the trail skirts the western side of the hogback and you begin to see down into the next canyon which holds Olde Stage Road. Here you can also see remnants of the Olde Stage Fire (1990 and 2009). If you stay on the official trail you won't reach the "summit" of the hogback, so if you want the best views, scramble up the rocky backside or look for one of the faint spur trails.

Once back on the Hogback Ridge Trail, continue south along the ridge taking advantage of shade provided by the pines. Pop back out into the open and descend into a picturesque meadow surrounded by rocky outcrops. This pretty spot in the saddle between the two hogbacks feels very inviting! Contour around grassy hillsides and then prepare for the final downhill, taking advantage of the rock and log steps. These help you shed elevation in a hurry. Be sure to appreciate the wonderful views to the south of the Flatirons and Bear Peak in the distance. After briefly passing through some more prairie terrain, close the loop and retrace your steps back down the "stem" of the lollipop to the Foothills North Trail junction. Continue east on the neighborhood access trail to the on-street neighborhood parking.

Flora & Fauna

Deer, coyotes, hawks, rattlesnakes (especially on the summit), wildflowers, ponderosa pine.

Contacts

Shared By:

Megan W

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 22 votes

#2

in Boulder

#2402

Overall
  3.5 from 22 votes
5 Star
18%
4 Star
41%
3 Star
23%
2 Star
14%
1 Star
5%
Recommended Route Rankings

#2

in Boulder

#336

in Colorado

#2,402

Overall
169 Views Last Month
6,643 Since May 29, 2015
Intermediate

11%
0%
72%
0%
17%
0%

Photos

View east over the plains of Boulder County
May 27, 2015 near Boulder, CO
View north along the ridge line
May 27, 2015 near Boulder, CO
Atop the rocky hogback looking north
May 27, 2015 near Boulder, CO
Heading south on the Hogback Ridge Trail
May 27, 2015 near Boulder, CO
Peaceful hollow in a saddle just below the hogback
May 27, 2015 near Boulder, CO
Views east from the Hogback Ridge Trail
May 27, 2015 near Boulder, CO

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 66 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Sep 29, 2020
Christy Cork
Jun 21, 2020
K H
May 9, 2020
Jenn Rohl
Minimal mud on the northern section. Iris are starting to bloom. 2mi — 2h 00m
Feb 22, 2020
Cynthia B.
Aug 22, 2019
Heather Vaughan
Jun 8, 2019
Laura Hamman
May 22, 2019
Jordan Jackson
Apr 24, 2019
Kat Takahashi
2.1mi — 1h 07m