Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hiking: Royal Arch Trail in Boulder, CO

We spent some of our weekend time with our University of Colorado student hiking to one of his recommended places: The Royal Arch

But, let me back up to the beginning. 

The weekend started for mrC on Friday when he went to the Fraternity House Father & Son Poker Game Night (they did not win all the chips but they had fun). Then on Saturday, we were given a personal tour of the CU campus (amazing place), walked around Pearl Street and met the girlfriend and her mom for a lovely dinner at the Walnut Brewery.

On Sunday, after picking up the Frat boy, we had brunch at Snooze (an iconic eatery on Pearl Street). The menu was filled up with so many choices I wanted to try everything, but I finally chose banana pancakes with a side of eggs. 

We took a post-brunch stroll around Pearl Street and then because it was still pretty chilly, we drove up Flagstaff Mountain. We went all the way up to the scenic lookout at Lost Gulch and enjoyed the views of the Continental Divide.

On the way down, we stopped at another viewing area (no name) and did some bouldering because it's fun and we could.

Our younger tour guide did some solo rock climbing. He climbed right up, but then walked down on a path. 

Our hike began at Chautauqua Park. We parked the car on Baseline Road and then cut across the field using the 6th Street Connector.  Our route to the Royal Arch ---> Chatauqua Trail - Flatirons Loop trail - Royal Arch Trail. The first part of the hike was easy walking uphill on a mostly gravel path. It was very much like the start of our first Flatirons hike.

Great hiking capris from Athleta

After following the Chatauqua Trail into the woods, we switched to the Flatirons Loop trail. This part of the hike was bit more challenging. The terrain changed over to rocky and the incline increased slowly. There were plenty of places to stop and take breaks. At one stop we had rock climbers on one side of us and a perfect view of the CU campus on the other.

Finally we made it to the final section of our hike, the Royal Arch Trail. This section was by far the hardest (and rated as difficult) with the steep and steady climb through the pine forest and undulating hills that seemed to go on and on.

Sentinel Pass was a great place for a break and had the option of doing a little bouldering to a viewpoint (which we did) for a quick photo. Then we began a quick and dirty down-climb and resumed pushing upward to the arch.

The Royal Arch was much much bigger than I expected. Sitting at an elevation of 6,915 ft, it was worth the final steep climb to get to it. We walked under the arch to the outcrops and sweeping views on the other side. Looking back through the arch, the blue skies seemed to glow above the Flatirons.

We spent some time enjoying the view and watching the braver hikers climb up, on, and around the arch. To get back to the car ---> Royal Arch Trail - Bluebell Road Trail - Baseline - 6th Street Connector. We hiked 4.5 miles in a little more than 2.5 hours and we felt awesome!

It was a great day with the boys!

Other hiking posts you might like:

First Flatirons Hike in Boulder, Colorado


  1. I love it! Gorgeous views!! I could be wrong, but I feel like you and the Mr. are like me and my Mr., we married at 20 and now as our oldest is in high school, I feel like we are so much younger than most of his friend's parents, but I love the fact that when all of our kids are out of high school, we will still be relatively young and able!


    1. Well, we feel young. I'll say that!! It helps that we have active family and friends too. Hopefully feeling young and able lasts a really long time for all of us!


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