Saturday, January 7, 2012

South Boulder Creek West

Distance: 4.0 miles round trip
Elevation: 5,485 ft - 5,803 ft
Elevation Gain: 318 ft
Date Hiked:  11 December 2011
Dogs: Off leash in designated areas with Boulder green tag
Bathroom at trailhead: Yes
Tags: #Boulder, #osmp, #openspace, #hiking

Big sky and open space greet the hiker on the South Boulder Creek West Trail
South Boulder Creek West Trail is an east/west trail that connects Highway 93 to the Mesa Trail south of Boulder.  It can be walked or ran in its own right or used as a means of connecting into the many trails of the South Mesa Trail system. 

Looking back at the trailhead after crossing through a grove of Cottonwood trees
Flatirons in the distance.  The trail will curve off to the left.

While I have seen this trail listed on a map of the area, I have never been sufficiently motivated to check it out, preferring to start out on the Mesa Trail itself from the South Mesa Trailhead.   A friend convinced me to go, however and I was pleasantly surprised by the experience.   The views of the flatirons are quite expansive from this trail and the broad open fields, lightly covered in snow, were welcoming as only wide open spaces can be. 

Trees dot the landscape
Twisted Cottonwood

We did this hike late on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of December.  At that time of year, the sun sets behind the flatirons around 3:30pm, so we did not have much light to play with. The trail is easy going, particularly when covered with snow, however so we were able to make good time.  It is almost a mile before the trail starts of narrow and become more rocky. 

A more narrow, rocky trail segment
Clouds in the sky, snow on the ground.  Can you tell the difference?
There is not much to tell about this trail other than it winds over hill and dale, passes through occasional groves of Cottonwoods or Ponderosa Pine, but is otherwise in the open.  This exposure felt great on a cold, but sunny day in winter but would feel like Hell's Half Acre in August.  The scaly ones would be out then too,  looking to snag an ankle snack. 

We got back to the trailhead just in time.  The sun had set and the temperatures dropped 20 degrees.
For other posts of trails in this area, check out my description of the Homestead/Mesa Loop.  The pictures for this post were taken with a cell phone camera.  Amazing eh?

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