Boulder seems like the place to be for hiking. Not far from my previous hike to the flatirons is another popular hike up Mt. Sanitas with phenomenal views of the Rocky Mountains throughout. The 3.1-mile trail climbs up the ridge of the mountain until you reach the summit at over 6800 ft in elevation, where you can see Boulder stretch into the Plains.
The Mt. Sanitas trailhead starts just outside of downtown Boulder off Mapleton Avenue. There is a small parking lot there, but when I arrived at 9:00 AM on a weekend it was already full, so I parked in the residential streets near Mapleton & 4th which only added a few extra minutes.
There are several options to hike up Mt. Sanitas and I chose the classic loop up Mt. Sanitas Trail, across East Ridge Trail, and down on the Sanitas Valley Trail. This moderately-challenging route totals to 3.1 miles roundtrip with 1300 ft in elevation gain.
The hike starts on Mt. Sanitas Trail and immediately climbs up a dirt path scattered with rocks and logs. This was the steepest part as we meandered around giant boulders and stopped at lookout points to see the snowy mountains in the distance.
The trail flattens out near the summit as the landscaped became a bit greener with patches of snow that haven’t melted yet.
After one final uphill climb, we reached the summit of Mt. Sanitas at just over 6800 ft in elevation. The view looked towards the east side with Boulder right below us and the Plains stretching into the horizon. We took an extended break here to rehydrate, munch on some snacks, enjoy the view, and also appreciate the cool breeze.
Since we did the loop, we continued on the East Ridge Trail where we descended down uneven and rocky terrains. This section was pretty steep and there were also times where we hiked around enormous rocks or squeezed between two large boulders.
The trail then merges with the Sanitas Valley Trail, which was a was very gentle-sloping dirt path with many people walking their dogs.
Overall, the Mt. Sanitas loop was a fun and steep hike that crossed different terrains and had great views of both the Rockies and the Plains. I personally enjoy hiking over rocks because it makes the hike more interesting, and I prefer loops over out-and-back trails so I’m always seeing new sceneries. Mt. Sanitas would be a good hike to do if you’re ever in the Denver or Boulder areas.