Royal Arch Trail Boulder Colorado


Living in Costa Rica, we’ve noticed that the country attracts a lot of native Coloradans—both tourists and expats. It seems the love of the outdoors and adventure activities aligns well with residents of both areas. So it’s hardly any surprise that Colorado immediately caught our attention as a place where we might want to spend extended time in the future.

In particular, we love Boulder for its excellent restaurants and bars along with easy access to outstanding hiking and climbing. During our last visit to Boulder, we trekked up to South Boulder Peak, which was absolutely stunning. This time around, we thought we would tackle the Flatirons Trail. While we admittedly didn’t make it to the peak we had originally set out for, we did make it to the top of the Royal Arch Trail, which was pretty epic in its own right.


Hiking the Royal Arch Trail In Boulder Colorado


We started out from our Airbnb, just steps away from the start of Bear Canyon trail. This leads to the Mesa trail which runs parallel to the Flatirons and overlooks the town of Boulder below. If you aren’t keen on a super steep hike, this is a relatively flat alternative to hiking up to the summit.

After about 2 miles, the Mesa Trail eventually runs into signs for the Royal Arch trail. This is where the going gets steep and rocky. After about a mile of uphill climbing on rock stairs, you’ll reach the Royal Arch. Pass under the arch and you’ll arrive at the end of the trail, with a rewarding view looking back over Boulder and the surrounding area.


Royal Arch Trail Hike Boulder

Royal Arch Boulder

View from Royal Arch Summit

We recommend parking at Chautauqua Park and starting your trek from there to shorten the trip. (Unless you happen to have immediate access to the trails on the opposite side of the park, like we did.)


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Tips For Hiking The Royal Arch Trail:

Boulder Hiking Trail Map

Great hiking or trail shoes are a must. My Soloman Speed Cross 3 Trail Running Shoes which I bought for our upcoming trail marathon fit perfectly and felt like a dream.

Bring more water than you think you’ll need. We brought our Ultimate Direction hydration pack with two water bottles and a 2-liter reservoir and drank the last sip as we were walking up the house. Granted, our hike was much longer than the average person starting from Chautauqua Park.

Start Early. Depending on the time of year, nightfall can sneak up quickly. Give yourself plenty of time for breaks along the way and at least a good 20 minutes at the top to soak in the view.

Have you ever hiked the Royal Arch Trail? What’s your favorite hike in Boulder?