Mount Sanitas is a prominent summit just west of Boulder, Colorado, that is easily accessed from downtown after a relatively short and moderately challenging hike. Much of the trail is steep rock stairs, but views are great all along the trail, and the summit is especially rewarding. In addition to the expansive panorama over all of Boulder and nearby cities, getting to the top provides a vantage over the Front Range high country and Rocky Mountain peaks to the west. The rocky summit is a great place to enjoy a picnic, and ponderosa pines provide welcome shade here and there.
The trailhead is located at the end of Mapleton Avenue, where there is a small parking lot, picnic area, and toilets. If parking is full you can find a spot in the nearby neighborhood or take the city bus from elsewhere in town. From this same trailhead area you can access the Red Rocks Trail, Sunshine Canyon Trail, and Boulder Creek at Eben G. Fine Park.
The trail starts out by crossing the road before winding in an out of vegetation in a shady stream bed. Follow signs to stay on track. Soon you will emerge into more open country and begin the ascent of Mount Sanitas. It is a little more than a mile from the bottom of the ridge to the scenic summit. After pausing to rest and enjoy the views on top you can either backtrack to your car or make a loop by descending the East Ridge and returning along Sanitas Valley or Dakota Ridge.
These trails are popular with hikers and runners, and they are open to horses as well. Rock climbing on the boulders is an option in designated areas. Bikes are not allowed. In winter, Boulder locals like to snowshoe and cross-country ski on the mountain.
Note: This is a Voice and Sight Trail, which means that dogs are permitted off leash with the following conditions: (1) Guardians must be registered in the Voice and Sight Tag Program, (2) Voice and Sight Tags must be displayed on the dogs, (3) Guardian has a leash for each dog, with no more than two dogs.
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