Flatiron #1, Chautauqua Park Trailhead, Boulder - Denver - Golden - Fort Collins - Lyons, Colorado
Flatiron #1 - 2.9 Miles
Chautauqua Park Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||2.9 Miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||5,710' - 7,132' (7,132' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+1,422' net elevation gain (+1,440' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
The Flatirons are remnants of the Fountain Formation, a feldspar-rich sand eroded from the ancestral Rocky Mountain uplift 300 million years ago. Sediments deposited by inland oceans compressed this layer into sandstone, thrust upward 45 million years ago by the same forces that created our modern Rocky Mountains.
Water, wind, and mechanical erosion have since shaped these exposed rocks into the angular formations we see today.
The Chautauqua Trail leads up and to the backside of Flatiron #1 with terrific views across the Boulder Valley, Indian Peaks and Rocky Mountain National Park:
The trail begins on a wide, graded path through open space past connections for the Ski Jump (.2 miles) and Bluebell Mesa (.3 miles) trails to the Bluebell-Baird Trail junction (.6 miles : 6,160'). Bear left, then immediately right at this 3-way fork toward Flatiron #1.
The trail splits quickly again for Flatiron #1 (.7 miles : 6,253') - follow signs right and continue on steep switchbacks across an uneven talus field. Lingering snow and ice may conceal the exact path, and certainly warrant a cautious approach. Views of Boulder improve as you climb higher, particularly the downtown area and signature red rooftops of the CU campus.
The trail passes consecutive climbing access spurs for Flatironette (.85 miles) and Flatiron #1 (.88 miles) to the base of an 8' rock face. Foot notches aid the pitched scramble, and the flat area just above is a fine place to enjoy views back east.
The climb resumes on tightly wound switchbacks to a rocky notch with cross-section views of the Flatiron rock layers. It continues through the notch and moderates high above the steep canyon between Flatiron #1 and #3, the latter brilliantly lit on early summer mornings.
The trail curls up a final set of switchbacks to the back of Flatiron #1 and its official end at the Saddle Rock Trail split (1.4 miles : 7,142'). From here a short scramble leads up to an alcove behind Flatiron #1 with panoramas across Boulder's back range and Continental Divide (1.45 miles : 7,185').
GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84View these GPS points on a Google Map
- N39 59.930 W105 16.970 — Chautauqua Park Trailhead
- N39 59.826 W105 17.134 — .2 miles : Ski Jump Trail split
- N39 59.737 W105 17.177 — .3 miles : Bluebell Mesa Trail split
- N39 59.572 W105 17.355 — .6 miles : Bluebell Baird Trail - Flatiron access split
- N39 59.507 W105 17.360 — .7 miles : Flatiron #1 and #3 split
- N39 59.491 W105 17.511 — .85 miles : Flatironette climbing access spur
- N39 59.489 W105 17.531 — .88 miles : Flatiron #1 climbing access spur
- N39 59.382 W105 17.634 — 1.25 miles : Trail crests, passes through rocky notch
- N39 59.401 W105 17.703 — 1.4 miles : Trail ends at Saddle Rock Trail split
- N39 59.414 W105 17.687 — 1.45 miles : Alcove behind Flatiron #1
- The trail's steep grades and rugged terrain can be challenging with lingering ice and snow. Sturdy footwear and poles are recommended when such conditions exist.
- The Flatirons are named so for their resemblance to the triangular, flat-faced metal irons used by early settlers to iron clothing.
Rules and Regulations
- All 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.
- Hiking off trail requires a permit. Hiking off trail can damage flora, create unnatural paths that widen over time and disrupt natural ecosystems.
- It's illegal to enter a designated wildlife area closure. These include nesting sites for prairie falcons, peregrine falcons, golden eagles and osprey. Areas may also be closed due to mountain lion or bear activity.
- Open fires are illegal. Fires are permitted only in designated picnic areas and shelters.
From Boulder Take Baseline Road west past 9th street and Chautauqua Park is on the left hand side. Turn left into Chautauqua Park. Overflow parking is also available along Baseline Road, south of the park entrance.
From Denver: Take I-25 North to Highway 36 towards Boulder. From Highway 36, take the Baseline Road exit and turn left. Take Baseline Road west past 9th street and Chautauqua Park is on the left hand side. Turn left into Chautauqua Park. Overflow parking is also available along Baseline Road, south of the park entrance.
City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks