Bluebell Road > Mesa Trail
Starting Elevation: 5700Ft
Highest Elevation: 6482 Ft ( but the trail goes up and down the whole way like we covered 8 ascents and 9 descents, giving an overall elevation gain of 2600- ish for what we completed) It is a great leg workout!
Trail Length: Officially the Mesa trail is 6.7 miles from Chautauqua Park all the way south to the Southern trailhead just outside Eldorado Canyon State Park for 13.4 round trip and our goal was to do the whole trail round trip. What we managed to hit was 5.7 one way, 11.4 miles round trip according to the map, but my fit bit said 6.5 miles. So I am taking the middle of the road and saying we finished 12 miles today. It took us 5.50 hours 8AM-1:30PM to finish.
Trail Uses: Hiker, Running and I think horses….NO BIKES
Degree of Difficulty: For the first time, Aaron and I cannot agree – my assessment moderate to difficult, Aaron’s = Moderate the book says easy
Bathrooms: At each end North and South. Otherwise this thing is insanely busy all year round so use good judgement…..unlike me
Pets: Yes, but dogs must be either on leash or have the green tag indicating they passed the voice control test for Boulder.
We were feeling pretty awesome after last weeks hike and decided ambitious was the best way to jump into this weekend’s hike. I picked this hike because it was long and while it is considered an easy trail, I think that rating is only given because if you do any one section it is easy compared to where you are going. The Mesa Trail is the main artery along the Flat Irons of Boulder, it leads to the some of the best and hardest hikes on the front range. It goes to Shadow Canyon, Fern Canyon, Bear Peak ( Closed due to fire damage until 7/31/13), Bear Canyon among others. The total up and down elevation gain is around 3200 feet, which is a pretty tough butt burner, calf builder or cardio challenge. At the end I think I counted roughly 8 ascents with 9 descents, I am wiped out!
You can pick up any portion of this trail at 3 parking lots, today we chose to go from North to South so the only choice was to start at Chautauqua Park in Boulder or the beginning ( You can also start at NCAR and the South trailhead by Eldorado Canyon). Take Bluebell Road, directly west of the Rangers station up( South) to the Mesa Trailhead.
It isn’t a killer climb until you realize it goes on for roughly 2 miles and 700 feet in elevation. It did warm us up super quick! In the distance of the picture above, there is another outhouse which I thought was poorly placed since it was just over half a mile from the parking lot…. but at the end of the hike I actually ran to it. The trail was so busy and after mooning 6 fellow hikers I was a little outdoor solution shy….. Anyway we took the left smaller trail, the right is supposed to be a butt buster up to Royal Arch but we haven’t tried it yet. From the left, this is really the most narrow the trail will ever be. It was often wide enough for 2 groups to pass each other easily. As we got to the ice/mud stairs, I was feeling great thinking how awesome I was, hehe if only had a crystal ball.