Sights and Scenery of Open Space & Mountain Parks
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It pays to shop in Boulder. Your sales tax pays for this land and the upkeep of trails.
Before You Go....
The Circle Hikes Guide (792 Kb) brochure provides up- to-date trail maps for much of the mountain backdrop, from Mount Sanitas south to the South Mesa and Doudy Draw trailheads.
Mount Sanitas (pronounced San-itas) is located 0.5 miles west of 4th Street on Mapleton Avenue. From the trailhead, there is access to several moderate to difficult trails: Mount Sanitas trail, Sanitas Valley Trail, Dakota Ridge, Hawthorne Trail, and East Ridge Trail. Mount Sanitas was named for the old sanitarium (health spa) that is now the Mapleton Medical Center.
Mount Sanitas is a very popular trail for dog owners. Please remember to remove your dog's excrement, and pack extra pet pick-up bags. All Open Space and Mountain Parks rules and regulations are strictly enforced.
Sawhill Ponds Wildlife reserve is owned by Colorado Parks & Wildlife and managed by the Open Space and Mountain Parks Department. It is located east of the Boulder city limits on the west side of 75th Street, 0.6 mile north of Valmont Road. There are opportunities for hiking, wildlife observation and nature study, picnicking, photography, and fishing. Several picnic tables are available adjacent to the main parking lot, along with benches and a boardwalk. There is no drinking water available. A pit latrine is located at the main parking lot. All Open Space and Mountain Parks rules and regulations are strictly enforced. Swimming and boats are prohibited.
Chautauqua Meadow ( see map), located on the south side of Baseline Road just west of Ninth Street, is a major portal to Open Space and Mountain Parks. Chautauqua Meadow is easily accessible by car, although visitors are encouraged to walk, bicycle, bus, or car pool whenever possible.
Chautauqua Ranger Cottage, located at the south end of the parking lot just inside the park's entrance, is a good place to get oriented. The Ranger Cottage is staffed according to this schedule:
May - September:
November - April:
Here you will find park maps, brochures and information. Here you will find park maps, brochures and information. Numerous trails originate from the Chautauqua area, and this is the best location for getting a good photograph of the famous Boulder "Flatirons."
Visit the Photo Gallery for images of the meadow and other sites on OSMP.
At 6,850 feet, you will have a fabulous view of the plains and Boulder Valley to the east. Stop in at the Flagstaff Nature Center for excellent exhibits and a chance to speak with volunteer park interpreters (open weekends, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend). Flagstaff Summit is rich in history. Most of the area, including some picnic sites, is accessible to wheelchair users. If you are hiking, take Flagstaff Trail to the summit. Driving slowly may save an animal's life!
This pulloff is located approximately 0.5 miles up Flagstaff Road, and gives you a magnificent panoramic view of the Boulder Valley. Hikers may access Panorama Point from spur trails of the Flagstaff Trail. Bring your camera! The area is accessible to wheelchair users. Panorama Point is a parking fee area.
Boulder Falls Trail remains closed. The trail was scheduled to open on May 1, 2013, but will remain closed for some time. While OSMP hoped to be able to open the trail on May 1 as usual, due to the unusual number of snow storms and amount of snow received in April this year, the scaling that needs to be done before opening the trail was not possible. This work will be completed as soon as it can be arranged so the trail can be opened.
Boulder Falls is located 11 miles west of Boulder, on the north side of Boulder Canyon Drive (SR 119) between Boulder and Nederland. It consists of five acres of mining claims that were given to the City of Boulder by Charles G. Buckingham, president and co-founder of Buckingham Brothers Bank (now Norwest Bank). Buckingham had held a U.S. Patent since 1881 on the American Mill site that included the Falls. He donated it to the City of Boulder for recreational purposes in 1914, hence "saving this beautiful spot from the encroachment of the great tungsten boom."
South Mesa is located 1.7 miles west of Highway 93 on Eldorado Springs Drive (Highway 170). From the trailhead, there is access to several moderate to difficult trails: Mesa Trail, Shadow Canyon, Towhee, Homestead, South Boulder Creek Trail and Big Bluestem Trail.
In the late 1800s, this area contained numerous cabins and homesites. The stone building located on the north side of South Boulder Creek is all that remains of the historic homesite known as the Doudy-Debaker-Dunn House (featured in above photo). Andrew Doudy was the first settler in this area and built the original wooden portion of the house sometime around 1858. In 1869, John Debaker purchased the house and surrounding land for $500. John Debaker retired in 1901 and turned the property over to his daughter Emma and her husband John Dunn. The Dunn family raised dairy cattle and remained in the house until John's death in 1953. All park rules and regulationsare strictly enforced.
Doudy Draw is located 1.8 miles west of Highway 93 on Eldorado Springs Drive (Highway 170).
From the trailhead, there is access to several moderate trails: Doudy Draw, Community Ditch, Flatirons Vista Loop, Spring Brook Loop and Goshawk Ridge.This area was rich with mining and agriculture. In this dry landscape, irrigation is a necessity for providing water to hay fields and pasture land. The flow of South Boulder Creek was diverted by the construction of a series of ditches. Community Ditch, constructed in the early 1900s, was one of the last water diversions projects along the creek. All rules and regulations are strictly enforced.
The hike is steep--a real workout!--but the views are incredible. The trail starts near the Bluebell Shelter, and then goes up. . . and up, passing near the base of the Third Flatiron. Bears and mountain lions live in the area, so know what to do if you encounter one. Follow this link for a trail map.
The plain slopes of bare, salt-crusted dirt clods belie the site's potential. Yet Sombrero Marsh (see map), an ancient and much abused natural wetland, is being reborn. Soon native bulrushes and tall prairie grasses will hide the naked contours, waterfowl will feed and nest in the vegetation, and children's laughter will grace the air. Sombrero Marsh is dry during most of the year. Spring rains, snow melt and rising ground water cause the marsh to fill gradually during the spring. By late summer, it is usually dry again.The Sombrero Marsh environmental education center is the result of a partnership between the Boulder Valley School District, Thorne Ecological Institute and OSMP. It contains classrooms, viewing and assembly areas and a laboratory for studying water and wetland soils. Thorne Ecological Institute has developed science curricula to serve the district's schools. Students learn about the marsh outside as well as inside: a network of trails and boardwalks allows classes to visit the wildlife viewing blind and the restored portion of the marsh. The western portion of the wetland is a wildlife sanctuary off limits to the public.
Flatirons Vista Trail is located 0.3 miles south of Highway 128 on Highway 93.
From the trailhead, there is access to several moderate trails: Flatirons Vista Loop, Prairie Vista, Doudy Draw, Spring Brook Loop and Goshawk Ridge. All rules and regulationsare strictly enforced.
Fourth of July Trailhead and a small associated campground are located approximately 30 miles west of Boulder at an elevation of approximately 10,100 feet. There is no fee for camping, and sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Camping is limited to four consecutive days. Water is available from the creek; however, all water should be treated due to the possibility of the Giardia parasite. The only available facilities are nearby pit latrines. Ground fires and grills are prohibited. There are five picnic tables. All Open Space and Mountain Parks rules and regulations are strictly enforced within the campground, and state law prohibits the possession of alcohol greater than 3.2 percent. Glass is prohibited. Please note: Buckingham Campground is located adjacent to the popular Indian Peaks Wilderness Area and Arapaho Pass Trailhead that is administered by the U.S. Forest Service. Forest Service regulations for the wilderness area differ from those of the City of Boulder. Dogs must be on a hand-held leash at all times in the wilderness. Please visit the Indian Peaks Wilderness website or contact the Forest Service at (303) 541-2500 for additional information on Forest Service lands and campgrounds in the Boulder area, as well as rules and regulations.
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 May 2013 12:24