South Boulder Creek - Big Bluestem Loop, South Boulder Creek Trailhead, Boulder - Denver - Golden - Fort Collins - Lyons, Colorado

South Boulder Creek - Big Bluestem Loop - 4.35 miles

South Boulder Creek Trailhead

Sweeping views of the Front Range on the South Boulder Creek Trail

Sweeping views of the Front Range on the South Boulder Creek Trail

Round-Trip Length: 4.35 miles
Start-End Elevation: 5,485' - 5,485' (5,912' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +427' net elevation gain (+455' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Easy-Moderate
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

South Boulder Creek - Big Bluestem Loop - 4.35 Miles Round-Trip

The South Boulder Creek, Mesa and Big Bluestem trails form a mild loop through open space between the eastern plains and Boulder foothills. Visitors will enjoy rangy views across the Flatirons, Green Mountain, Bear Peak, South Boulder Peak and Eldorado Mountain complex. Multiple trail connections offer additional routes of varying length and difficulty along or up into the foothills.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The South Boulder Creek Trail heads SW on a wide groomed path until bending west, narrowing and rising on rocky single track (.85 miles : 5,540'). Clusters of pinyon join cattail, cacti, yucca and bluestem grasses as you near the foothills and Mesa Trail connection (1.85 miles : 5,803').

Bear right on the Mesa and quickly off onto the Big Bluestem Trail (2.1 miles : 5,912'), which undulates north to the base of a steep mesa and splits into upper and lower segments. Bear right on the Lower Big Bluestem Trail (2.25 miles : 5,915').

The Lower Big Bluestem skirts the mesa base, curls northeast and glides gently back down through vast open space. Continue past an unmarked spur - the Shanahan Ridge Connector (2.9 miles : 5,685') - and pass through a final gate (4.0 miles : 5,520'), where the trail becomes a residential street leading to the north side of the South Boulder Creek Trailhead parking lot (4.35 miles).

Facebook Comments

Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N39 57.597 W105 14.234 — 0.0 miles : South Boulder Creek Trailhead
  • N39 57.009 W105 14.907 — 1.0 miles : Southwest travel through open space
  • N39 56.721 W105 15.798 — 1.85 miles : South Boulder Creek - Mesa Trail junction
  • N39 56.840 W105 15.963 — 2.1 miles : Mesa Trail - Big Bluestem Trail junction
  • N39 56.913 W105 16.029 — 2.25 miles : Upper - Lower Big Bluestem Trail junction
  • N39 57.303 W105 15.614 — 2.9 miles : Shanahan Ridge connector trail junction
  • N39 57.597 W105 14.230 — 4.35 miles : South Boulder Creek Trailhead

Worth Noting

  • The loop passes through private ranchlands and numerous cattle gates. Respect property and remember to close and lock gates behind you.

  • Rattlesnakes inhabit this area. Mind your footing and stay on designated trails at all times.

  • The loop's mild grades and good trail conditions are well-suited for trail runners and families.

Fishing Information

  • Fishing is permitted along South Boulder Creek near the South Mesa Trailhead. A valid Colorado state fishing license is required.

Rules and Regulations

  • Bikes are not permitted on the South Boulder Creek, Mesa or Big Bluestem trails.

  • Dogs must be on a hand held leash unless they meet Voice and Sight Control Standards and display a City of Boulder Voice and Sight Tag.

  • Dogs must be leashed at all times May 15 - July 15 to protect nesting ground birds and free range cattle.

  • Horses are permitted but must remain on trails.

Directions to Trailhead

The South Boulder Creek Trailhead is located on Highway 93 in south Boulder. The trailhead is located 2.0 miles south of the Highway 93 - Table Mesa Drive intersection on the west side of the road.

Contact Information

City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks
Phone: 303.441.3440

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


No one has written any comments


Add Comment

Only used to identify you to ProTrails. Will not show on comments list.
Tell us when your experience with this trail happened.