Our Trail of the Week feature is made possible through a partnership with Trail Run Project.
This is a quintessential trail run in the running mecca of Boulder, Colo., sending runners up the 8,150-foot peak that shares the local skyline with 8,459-foot Bear Peak to the south. It is a physically demanding route with considerable uphills and downhills, but it pays off with stunning vistas and a backcountry feel without much risk.
This route highlights some of Boulder’s most well-traveled trails. During the summer months especially, expect heavy use by hikers, trail runners and dog walkers alike. (Mountain bikes aren’t allowed on the trails near Green Mountain.) Some flood damage from the September 2013 floods is still evident, especially along the Saddle Rock Trail, but the trail has been repaired without changing the route or the ambiance of the run.
Starting from the main trailhead at Chautauqua, start running the Baseline Trail. Though near the road, this relatively flat trail offers stupendous views of the majestic flatirons through the meadows. Try to peel your eyes away from these awe-inspiring geologic formations enough to watch your step. Follow this to the Gregory Canyon parking lot and find the Amphitheater Trail or Gregory Canyon Trail. (Once the parking lot at Gregory Canyon is repaired, you could park here and shorten your run a bit.) Each route ascends dramatically over a mix of dirt trails and rocky terrain, with Amphitheater Trail connecting with Saddle Rock Trail and E.M. Greeman Trail and Gregory Canyon connecting with Ranger Trail. (Although there are two separate trails to the summit, the routes connect midway up the mountain to offer variety for the ascent and descent.)
From the top, runners can see Denver and Denver International Airport on the plains to the east and numerous peaks along the Continental Divide to the west. (A brass plate on very top of the peak highlights 24 peaks and their respective elevations.)
Runnable: 59 percent
Singletrack: 100 percent
Average Grade: 17 percent
Total Ascent: 2,298 feet
Total Descent: -2,301 feet
Highest Elevation: 8,144 feet
For a closer look, check out the interactive map, data, photos and virtual run simulator courtesy of Trail Run Project: