There are a plethora of trails along the front range — many of them are easily accessible and close to Denver and Boulder. Here are a few of my favorite trail runs.
Marshall Mesa is my proverbial baby blanket. I can’t even count the number of times my feet have pounded the dirt of this trail and I can always count on it’s comforting, rolling trails. It’s a great trail for beginners and offers spectacular views of the Flatirons, grasslands and small wildlife. Located directly off highway 93 right outside of Boulder, Marshall Mesa is a ~3 mile loop that I’ll never grow tired of. It’s like home for me!
3.3 miles: At the trail head, take a right up Coal Seam to Community Ditch . Follow Marshal Mesa Trail around until back at the parking lot.
Note: There is a $5 parking fee for this area if not registered in Boulder County.
North Table Mountain
Located on the north side of Golden, North Table Mountain was formed by lava flows over 60 million years ago (as did it’s sister, South Table!) and is home to 15+ miles of trails. It’s not uncommon to see dozens of mule deer grazing or hawks looking for their next meal in the morning hours.
I typically run the east side of the mountain (there is no trailhead on this side but a few parking spots off of Easley Rd.) and make it a 6 mile loop. There’s definitely parts that need to be power-hiked (at least in my opinion), but I you can count on a plethora of wildflowers, peaceful stillness and a sweat-inducing hike. Yowza! North Table is one that I visit often as it’s fairly close to my home and great for a post-work run.
Located just outside of Boulder, this lollypop loop is offers both challenging inclines and rolling hills. You definitely get a mixture of terrain on this trail, which is good if you are looking to mix it up. I always see TONS of hawks circling above and have come to find out there have been a plethora of bear sighting (eek!). Don’t fear, however, bears don’t want to be bothered by you just as much as you don’t want to be bothered by them. Read: Don’t be stupid.
Bonus! South Mesa trailhead is right across the street. So, if you’re bored/ambitious, head over there after!
5.3 miles: from the trailhead: Take a right at Doudy Draw Trail (1.5) > Spring Break Look North (1.2) > Spring Break Loop South (1.1) > Doudy Draw (1.5)
This trail tends to be a bit crowded on the weekend, but if you start early enough you can beat some of the crowd. Not to mention, there is a “hiker-only” trail that I take up on the ascent to avoid the plethora of mountain bikers that visit the trail. At my typical turnaround point, you can see the ruins of the Walker Castle which was said to be a would-have-been summer house for the U.S Presidents. Unfortunately, the home was destroyed in a fire caused by a lightening strike.
6.8 miles: From the east trailhead (3852 Vine St.), take Turkey Trot Trail (1.7) . Castle Trail (1.7). The turnaround point for this run is the Walker Home Ruins, which offer views of the front range and Morrison. Follow the trail back down to complete the 6.8 out-and-back.
This one’s a doozy! I used this trail specifically for training for my mountain ultra and it did not disappoint. It’s a bit more off the beaten path than the other trails, but offers stunning views through pine, pastures and rocky overlooks. If you’re looking for a way to spend a few hours out in the sunshine on a Saturday morning, this is the place!
12 miles: Start at the Centennial Cone Rd. Parking Lot. Follow Mayhem Gluch (.03) counter-clockwise to Travois Trail (8.5) > Elk Range Trail (3.2).