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Green Mountain Loop Trail, Chautauqua Park, Boulder, Colorado

High Point

High Point:
8,097 feet

Total Ascent

Total Ascent:
2,398 feet

Difficulty

Difficulty:
Hard

Distance

Distance:
7.2 miles

Waypoints

Waypoints:
39.999724, -105.283026

Route Type

Route Type:
Loop

Overview:

The Green Mountain Loop is a Boulder classic for trail runners and mountain hikers. This trail has nearly 2,400 feet of elevation gain without actually leaving town. You will probably see a high flying professional ultra runner or two while enjoying this trail. Green Mountain can be done on any day of the year, with the right clothing and gear.

There are a variety of trails up Green Mountain that range from fast and flowing trails to steep and rooted trails with challenging inclines.  I typically take the Meadow Trail from Chautauqua to the bridge at the Gregory Canyon Trailhead. It’s a little steeper to go the clockwise and is a little steeper, but the uphill part is more in the shade and the views are refreshing on the way up. Go up Amphitheater, then Upper Saddlerock, then EM Greenman to the peak. Enjoy the views on a clear day and head down the West Ridge Trail, to Ranger, to Gregory Canyon Trail, back to the bridge, then back Baseline Trail to Chautauqua. For an extra workout, go back on Bluebell-Baird, otherwise, head down the Baseline Trail to the trailhead.

Directions:

From the crossroads of Highway 93 (Broadway) and Baseline turn west on Baseline and go about one miles until you reach Chautauqua Park. This is a very popular trail, especially on the weekends so the parking lot fills up pretty fast. There is ample Parking along most of the road (Parking fees apply on weekends and holidays in the summer). There are sections of the road that are not open to parking however these sections are clearly marked with signs.

Field Notes:

The trail begins in the Chautauqua Park, which is often crowded as a lot of trails find their beginning within the park.

Portions of the trail were heavily damaged or destroyed by flooding in September 2013. Some sections of the Ranger Trail are newly constructed, and there is a ladder on the Saddle Rock Trail.

Weather in the Rocky Mountains can be unpredictable; make sure to check conditions and forecasts before heading out. Some of the more relevant area forecasts include Boulder and Twin Sister’s Peak.

Keep in mind there are multiple components to the weather; it’s not just about precipitation. The temperature will dictate what layers to bring, and local weather patterns will help you figure out what’s important. For example, in the larger Front Range in general, make sure to check the wind forecast. The Front Range is notorious for strong, blustery winds, and fighting your way up a trail in 50mph gusts is not fun.

The upper sections of the mountain on the ascent and descent hold ice from November to early May. I highly advise wearing Microspikes on these icy trail segments. There are several small creek crossings on the loop but they’re never too deep or fast, and finding water can be unreliable most of the time during the summer. The trail near creek crossings generally gets icy before other parts of the trail.

There are no dogs allowed on upper E.M. Greenman Trail.

 

Final Thoughts:

This is one of my all time favorite hiking or trail run trails near Boulder, Colorado.  This trail is a classic for Boulder area mountain hikers and runners, Green Mountain delivers a lot of vertical without truly leaving town.

Additional Resources:

Colorado Tourism. (2021).

National Weather Service

City of Boulder, Colorado

Rocky Mountain Runners

Trail Run Project

Hiking Project

AllTrails

Leave No Trace Center For Outdoor Ethics Seven Principles


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