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Dakota Ridge to Sanitas Valley Loop

Intermediate
 4.0 (8) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A technical ascent with a great view of Boulder, followed by a nice, open downhill pitch.


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Map Key

2.3

Miles

3.7

KM

Out and Back

5,961' 1,817 m

High

5,503' 1,677 m

Low

458' 139 m

Up

458' 139 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (4°)

21%

Max Grade (12°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly This is a nice, shorter alternative to the full Mount Sanitas Loop with a lot less elevation gain, too.

Overview

Rocky, technical terrain on Dakota Ridge and a few short steep climbs lead to a great view of Boulder. Turning around on Sanitas Valley Trail is a welcome relief. It's a wide gravel/dirt trail with a manageable downhill pitch, allowing you to cruise back down.

Description

Start on Sanitas Valley Trail. Keep an eye out for the Dakota Ridge Trail sign about 0.2 miles in. Dakota Ridge is a rocky and rooty singletrack, which makes for a great challenge. Follow Dakota Ridge north, paralleling the Valley Trail. There are a few forks that lead back to the Valley Trail. Be sure to stay on Dakota Ridge.

Go easy on the stairs, as they're pretty steep, and it doesn't really level out until you reach the turnaround. Be wary of rocks and roots - keep your head down. You'll know you've reached the end of the uphill when you see a bench to the right overlooking a sweeping view of Boulder.

Stop and enjoy it for a minute. Then head to the gravel/dirt path, and head south (left) down the Sanitas Valley Trail back to the trailhead. Be wary on this path as it gets a lot of visitors.

Flora & Fauna

You're unlikely to encounter much other than squirrels and chipmunks along this trail.

Contacts

Shared By:

Dan Gleason

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 8 votes

#2951

Overall
  4.0 from 8 votes
5 Star
13%
4 Star
75%
3 Star
13%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#387

in Colorado

#2,951

Overall
62 Views Last Month
3,084 Since Feb 1, 2016
Intermediate

0%
0%
90%
0%
10%
0%

Photos

Trail runners enjoy their winter workout
Dec 5, 2014 near Boulder, CO
Looking down the Sanitas Valley from the Dakota Ridge Trail
Nov 7, 2014 near Boulder, CO
Starting up the Mount Sanitas Trail
Nov 7, 2014 near Boulder, CO
Late season flowers on the Sanitas Valley Trail
Nov 7, 2014 near Boulder, CO
View from the top of Dakota Ridge
Aug 2, 2015 near Boulder, CO
Beautiful broad valley views to the south
Nov 7, 2014 near Boulder, CO

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Check-Ins

Aug 5, 2020
Katelyn Gilgan
Jan 1, 2020
Laura M
Walked to and from trailhead for a total of 4 mi in 1:22. 4mi — 1h 22m
Sep 5, 2019
Brian Foley
The goat track down is pretty steep, but otherwise an enjoyable route. 3.5mi — 1h 00m
Apr 18, 2019
Peter Jacobson
Jan 2, 2019
Alyssa Johanson
Quick out and back 2.3mi
Jul 22, 2018
J Adams
Hiked with luca and laz. Their first time up. We hiked up the valley and down the ridge.
Jul 13, 2018
James Greenan
Sep 10, 2017
Nash Foderberg
Easy, half shaded morning hike. Very crowded but lots of great doggos! ;) 2.3mi — 0h 50m