Share:

Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail

Denver Metro Area, Colorado

Start Exploring
Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail

Share:

Advertisement
  • Red Rocks at sunrise.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • Group of deer along the Anemone Trail.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • Sanitas from Anemone Ridge.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • Indian Peaks from Anemone Ridge.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • Green Mountain and Flagstaff from rocky outcropping at Anemone Summit.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • Looking back on Anemone Ridge.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • Winter ice can linger for weeks even in warm weather due to shade on the north slopes.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • Lions Lair Trail.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • Further up on Lions Lair.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • Near Sanitas Summit on Lions Lair.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • Fantastic views of Indian Peaks from Lions Lair.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • Open views from Lions Lair.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • Close-up of South and North Arapahoe Peaks.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • Main visible Indian Peaks group.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • Mount Albion, Kiowa Peak, and Apache Peak.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • Mount Audubon.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • Plaque at Sanitas Summit.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • Mount Sanitas summit marker.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • Looking south at the Flatirons from Mount Sanitas summit.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • Looking north from Mount Sanitas.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • The rocky ridge trail descent.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
  • The alternate way down the Sanitas Valley Trail.- Anemone + Mount Sanitas Loop Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Relatively low crowds. Great views. Accessible.
Cons: 
Limited parking.
Advertisement
Region:
Denver Metro Area, CO
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
No
Highest point: 
6,787.00 ft (2,068.68 m)
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,330.00 ft (405.38 m)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
General Day Use Fee
Permit required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
6.50 mi (10.46 km)
Total elevation gain: 
1,991.00 ft (606.86 m)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,500.00 ft (1,676.40 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
Advertisement
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Solitude is often a treasured component of hiking; finding a trail where you aren't constantly passing or being passed by other hikers can be difficult. This is especially true when time doesn’t allow you to drive for an hour or more to get away from the city. The Anemone Trail looped with Lions Lair and Mount Sanitas Trail can make that goal much more of a reality than many Boulder locals realize. Anemone Hill was closed for several years due to a wildfire in 2010, and it has been quietly reopened relatively recently. Anemone and Lions Lair both end up getting neglected due to the nearby Flagstaff Mountain and Mount Sanitas trail systems. This loop allows you to summit Sanitas with far fewer people than you may otherwise see.

Starting at the Centennial Trailhead, which does fill up on parking relatively early, begin your hike by climbing the Red Rocks Trail or Red Rocks Spur Trail toward the interesting formations on the hill between Flagstaff and Sanitas. The Anemone Trail begins at the saddle between Sunshine and Boulder Canyons and continues uphill with Red Rocks at your back. Much of the Anemone Trail is devoid of any markers or signage, so it would be a good idea to bring your phone to use GPS in case you miss a turn or get lost.

After about a 650-foot climb, the Anemone Hill ridge offers a flatter scenic meander westward into the mountains. Views extend north to Sanitas, south to Green Mountain and Flagstaff, and as far west as parts of the Continental Divide. There is no formal summit, but after about half a mile of walking the ridge some rocky outcroppings and a wire fence mark the end of the Open Space. From the wire fence, turn right to start downhill toward the Sunshine Canyon Trail. It can be quite steep, and ice or snow can linger for longer than you’d expect since this is on the north face of the ridge. At any intersection on the way down, keep to the left; once you cross under the power lines, you know you’re on the Sunshine Canyon Trail.

Stay on this trail until the end where it terminates into a private driveway. Turn right and then left on Sunshine Canyon Drive, and after about 100 feet you'll find the Lions Lair Trailhead on the right. The Lions Lair Trail is relatively new and is off limits to dogs and bikes, which turns this trail into a paradise for runners and hikers because of the decreased foot traffic. Some open areas near the top of Lion’s Lair rival the views of Sanitas, and they give you a more open view of the snow-capped Indian Peaks to the west. After summiting Sanitas from the north, two options can get you back to your vehicle quickly. The main Mount Sanitas Trail and the Santias Valley trails are both viable and scenic ways to get back down quickly. Be courteous to the many people likely hiking up at this time, and don’t let the secret of the Anemone Trail get too far.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(16 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(105 within a 30 mile radius)

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
5 Members
Who's Done It
3 Members
Submission by
Pro Contributor
124 Adventures Explored
104 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info