Hiking Project Logo

Marshall Mesa to Spring Brook Loop

 11 votes

11.1 Miles 17.9 Kilometers


90%

Singletrack

893' 272 m

Ascent

-893' -272 m

Descent

6,236' 1,901 m

High

5,567' 1,697 m

Low

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

14%

Max Grade (8°)

Bad / Closed

39 days agoUpdate

Some of the best trails that Boulder has to offer with a variety of options that never get old.

Kristen Arendt

Overview

Some of the best trails in south Boulder with easy access and incredible views!
Features: Fall Colors — River/Creek — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: Leashed

Need to Know

The trails and trailheads may be closed when wet.

Description

Starting from the Marshall Mesa trailhead, you'll head through the main gate on Coal Seam. This short connector trail climbs gradually up to the ridge, paralleling CO-93, until coming to the Community Ditch Trail which runs along the canal (which may or may not have water flowing in it).

From Coal Seam, take a left on the Community Ditch for a short but rocky jaunt along the canal. Keep your eye open for the first bridge on your right where you'll connect with the Greenbelt Plateau Trail. Head across the small bridge and up a short steep section with large rock steps followed by several steps. Once at the top of this steeper section, the trail continues to climb gradually through a more open meadow and thinning pine trees.

Crest the hill on Greenbelt Plateau and descend the doubletrack. Watch out for the friendly cows who may not be inclined to move from your path. Once at the bottom, you'll intersect with High Plains branching left, and Greenbelt Connector heading right. Take Greenbelt Connector across 93 where you'll stay right onto Flatirons Vista North.

Flatirons Vista North starts out with a gradual uphill through an open meadow. This is followed by a steeper hill on a wide dirt road that can be a bit rocky. This little bit of a leg burner will get you to the top of the mesa where the views of the Flatirons back toward Boulder are quite impressive. This trail section is a flat, gentle trail with some loose rocks through a fairly open forest. You'll catch some nice views through the trees in places as you make your west, to a connection with Doudy Draw. Head through the gate and continue onto Doudy Draw which is one of the highlights of the hike.

Doudy Draw winds its way south through a nice forest with fleeting views of the Front Range and the Spring Brook Loop area. In the early spring, you can hear the sound of the creek below, and any time of year, you'll enjoy the solitude of running on this singletrack on the backside of the mesa. The trail switchbacks a few times to ease the descent to a stream crossing. When the water is low, you can easily rock hop across and as of spring of 2016, there is a bridge in process of being built to save you from getting wet feet.

Once past the stream, climb up the hillside to the next intersection where you'll turn left onto Spring Brook Loop South. This rocky singletrack is not too steep, but may challenge less advanced hikers due to its steady incline. The trail works its way into the trees and will become winding and more deeply wooded as you continue on. In the spring, you may find that the trail is aptly named for the water that flows down it at regular intervals. At the halfway point, you'll arrive at a marked intersection. Stay straight to complete the loop (Spring Brook Loop North).

Continuing north, Spring Brook Loop North winds way back and forth until you eventually emerge from the forest. From this vantage point, there are expansive views across the plains to the Flatirons and you'll pass through a meadow that is full of wildflowers in the early spring. To your left (west), you'll have a great perspective of the foothills, and may even see a train climb up towards the Continental Divide.

The trail winds around back to the east and then south to meet up with Spring Brook Loop South and the start of the loop. At the bottom, turn left onto Doudy Draw. The trail descends quickly on loose, winding singletrack with multiple rocky sections. Keep an eye open for deer on the opposing hillside, and the hawks and eagles that tend to circle the area.

After crossing a larger bridge, turn right onto Community Ditch. This mostly flat doubletrack takes you back east and proves a nice respite from the more technical hiking and hills of the Spring Brook Loop. You may again encounter cows grazing along the trail. Head into the newly constructed underpass and turn left onto Coal Seam to return to the trailhead.

Flora & Fauna

Ponderosa and lodgepole pine along the mesa, large cottonwoods by the creek. Wildflowers in the early spring including pasque flowers, candytuft, bluebells, sweet peas, goldenrod, indian paintbrush, and fireweed among others. Deer, coyotes, hawks, eagles, meadowlarks, and many other birds.

Contacts

Rate Featured Hike


   Clear Rating

4.6 from 11 votes


Get On-Trail Navigation

Send to Phone
Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Sep 2, 2017
Allison Klein
Aug 23, 2017
Allison Klein
Aug 5, 2017
Scotty Wad
Jul 13, 2017
Matt Miller
Jul 8, 2017
Troy Nelson
7mi
Jun 24, 2017
Nicole Manfredonia
11mi
May 6, 2017
Andreea Danielescu
11.4mi
Feb 10, 2017
Linda Cockrell
10mi

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 11 votes

#268

Overall
  4.6 from 11 votes
5 Star
73%
4 Star
18%
3 Star
9%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#66

in Colorado

#268

Overall
97 Views Last Month
2,445 Since Apr 27, 2016
Intermediate Intermediate

10%
40%
40%
10%
0%
0%

Conditions


Bad / Closed 39 days ago

Getting forecast...

0 Comments

Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking