Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In


Boulder Trails

Boulder, CO: Niwot Alternative Loop

Sample suburban recreational trails on this easy 3.8-mile Niwot route that showcases views of the Front Range along it's eastern fringe.

Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.

This easy, 3.8-mile lollipop loop samples Niwot’s growing recreational trail system and makes an easy, afternoon outing on Boulder’s suburban trails. The route begins at the Niwot Loop Trailhead and crosses two small bridges before turning east on the hard-packed gravel trail. The outbound leg winds gradually uphill, rising 200 feet from the trailhead in 1.6 miles as it squeezes between large family homes and prairie-like open space. A 1.5-mile loop around Legend Ridge begins at Somerset Drive and briefly turns downhill before gently climbing west for great Front Range views that are especially vibrant a few minutes post sunset. After closing the loop, head west to start your cool-down and return to the trailhead.

A growing web of residential trails weaves through Niwot, and in addition to this mapped route, the Niwot Loop Trailhead offers easy access for Boulderites in search of alternative workout locales.

-Mapped by Kristy Holland and Kayce Wohlman


Trail Facts

  • Distance: 6.1



Location: 40.088977, -105.168348

Niwot Loop Trailhead has plenty of parking and serves as a local recycling drop-off point. The train begins by crossing a bridge on the lot’s north side.


Location: 40.0905957, -105.1671571

This alternative loop route doesn’t follow the Niwot Loop Trail. Instead, you’ll turn right here after the second bridge.


Location: 40.088595, -105.1504576

An uphill stretch past enormous houses and three small ponds levels out at this Somerset Drive junction. Cross the road and join the trail in the Legend Ridge Open Space.


Location: 40.0886114, -105.1413059

The trail turns north just after this road crossing. Traffic is light, but watch for nearly-there commuters on their way home.


Location: 40.091517, -105.1479149

A 150-yard spur trail leads right toward the top of a small hill and more Niwot views. Continue south to close the loop and turn back toward the trailhead.


Location: 40.087905, -105.17618

This trail-access point on Monarch Park Place is 0.5 mile west of the Niwot Loop Trailhead. As an out-and-back, it’s an easy mile to add to your run.


Location: 40.0889726, -105.1682353

The Niwot Loop Trailhead sign as seen from N. 79th Street. © Kristy Holland


Location: 40.0893255, -105.1683533

The bridge is the first of two that you’ll cross just north of the trailhead. © Kristy Holland

White Rock Ditch

Location: 40.0905978, -105.1670766

You’ll pass this sign, on the north end of the second bridge, on your left and follow the trail east. © Kristy Holland

Niwot Loop

Location: 40.090606, -105.1669586

This trail bypasses the signed Niwot Loop and follows an alternative trail to the right. © Kristy Holland

Neighborhood Access

Location: 40.0909753, -105.160253

One of several neighborhood access trails leading away from this open-space path. © Kristy Holland


Location: 40.0906634, -105.1543951

Near mile 1.4, this trail squeezes between a rock wall and a slickrock-like section of field.

Legend Ridge

Location: 40.0885868, -105.1501143

The trail continues around a housing development called Legend Ridge. © Kristy Holland


Location: 40.093175, -105.1454258

From the loop’s north side, you overlook Niwot’s growing neighborhoods and 50-mile views of the Front Range, including Longs Peak, Sawtooth Mountain and the Indian Peaks. © Kristy Holland

How to Pack for Backcountry Skiing

Get to know the winter safety gear you need in your pack.