Boulder, CO: Big Bluestem Trail to South Boulder Creek Trail

This easy, 4.4-mile loop outside Boulder links Big Bluestem Trail to South Boulder Creek Trail and features vibrant wildflowers and 5-star views of the Flatirons.
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This easy, 4.4-mile loop outside Boulder links Big Bluestem Trail to South Boulder Creek Trail and features vibrant wildflowers and 5-star views of the Flatirons.

Located at the foot of Boulder's Flatirons, this easy, 4.4-mile loop is perfect for a quick dayhike or a scenic trail run. From the South Boulder Creek Trailhead, hike west on Thomas Lane, a dirt road that leads to the Big Bluestem Trail. After 0.3 mile, pass through a metal gate and continue west on Big Bluestem Trail. The dirt path runs across mixed grass prairie with postcard-worthy views of the Flatirons. Less than a mile and a half later, the trail begins a gentle climb up grassy slopes dotted with wildflowers.
The route tops out at a T-junction at mile 2.2. Turn left on the wide and well-maintained Mesa Trail and begin the return descent. Less than half a mile later, make another left turn onto South Boulder Creek Trail, a narrow, rock-strewn path that travels past grazing cattle and more picturesque views of the Flatirons. After 4.3 miles, turn left at the final trail junction for the 200-yard stretch back to the parking area.

MORE INFO: Open Space and Mountain Parks
-Mapped by Kim Phillips

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 7.1

Waypoints

SBC001

Location: 39.9601961, -105.236991

South Boulder Creek Trailhead: From the parking area, walk north to Thomas Lane, a dirt road flanked by a handful of houses.

SBC002

Location: 39.9605805, -105.2368408

Turn left onto the dirt road and head west toward the Flatirons.

SBC003

Location: 39.9605949, -105.2425781

Pass through a metal gate, then continue heading west on the Big Bluestem Trail.

SBC004

Location: 39.96056, -105.2460006

Pass through a second gate. Continue following the Big Bluestem Trail. A prairie dog colony borders the trail; listen for their high-pitched calls. Next, the trail curves to the south and parallels the Flatirons.

SBC005

Location: 39.957108, -105.250724

Hike past an old fence and continue heading southwest through the grassy expanse. Seasonal wildflowers add splashes of color to the landscape.

SBC006

Location: 39.9540014, -105.264591

The trail starts to climb gently up the grassy hillside.

SBC007

Location: 39.9498872, -105.2671719

Pass through the third gate.

SBC008

Location: 39.9485382, -105.2672088

Keep straight @ 3-way, heading south.

SBC009

Location: 39.9473168, -105.2660447

The route tops out at mile 2.2. Turn left @ T-junction onto the Mesa Trail and begin the return descent. The trail widens for the next 0.2 mile.

SBC010

Location: 39.9453119, -105.2633464

Turn left @ 3-way onto the South Boulder Creek Trail. Head northeast.

SBC011

Location: 39.9461591, -105.2600822

Pass through the fourth gate and walk through grassy fields. Cows graze on the both sides of the trail.

SBC012

Location: 39.949436, -105.2522918

Walk through a 5th gate.

SBC013

Location: 39.9526917, -105.2432728

Walk through the sixth gate.

SBC014

Location: 39.9569251, -105.2397001

Pass through the seventh (and final) gate. Ahead, the trail rounds to the northeast through a small grove of trees.

SBC015

Location: 39.9585123, -105.2375865

Turn left (north) @ T-junction and return to the parking area.

Big Bluestem Trail

Location: 39.9473394, -105.2658918

South Boulder Creek Trailhead

Location: 39.9601961, -105.2369615

Big Bluestem Trail

Location: 39.9605949, -105.2425486

Big Bluestem Trail

Location: 39.9605846, -105.2427015

Views of the Flatirons

Location: 39.9605723, -105.2445549

Views of the Flatirons

Location: 39.9605807, -105.245245

Gate

Location: 39.9605661, -105.2458933

Big Bluestem Trail

Location: 39.9605661, -105.245955

Prairie Dog

Location: 39.9604777, -105.2460891

The Flatirons

Location: 39.9586027, -105.247854

Old Fence

Location: 39.9571039, -105.2506837

Big Bluestem Trail

Location: 39.9567174, -105.2526122

Wildflowers

Location: 39.9556594, -105.2577346

Flatiron Views

Location: 39.954612, -105.2635342

Wildflowers

Location: 39.9521468, -105.2657336

Gate

Location: 39.9498891, -105.2671283

Wildflowers

Location: 39.949702, -105.267359

Views to the East

Location: 39.9488343, -105.2670935

Trail Junction

Location: 39.9486348, -105.2671552

Big Bluestem Trail

Location: 39.947327, -105.2659857

South Boulder Creek Trail

Location: 39.9453201, -105.2632284

South Boulder Creek Trail

Location: 39.9459329, -105.2609003

South Boulder Creek Trail

Location: 39.9465333, -105.2593741

Grazing Cattle

Location: 39.9473588, -105.2569102

Views from South Boulder Creek Trail

Location: 39.9530762, -105.2430797