Hike We Like: Green Mountain's West Ridge

This mellow hike is the easiest route up Green Mountain, the northernmost of Boulder’s three signature summits.

October 11 2016, 1:55 PM

The view of Longs Peak from Green Mountain's West Ridge Trail. Photo courtesy of Terri Cook and Lon Abbott

Length: 2.8 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Moderate
Why we love it: A peaceful walk through the woods that ends on a summit with views of the Continental Divide
When to go: Spring through late fall or year-round with Yaktrax
Pre-hike buzz: Just after you exit US-36, stop by the family-operated Brewing Market in the Basemar Plaza for coffee, fresh-baked pastries, or a steaming mug of their spicy house-made chai
Restrooms: None
Dogs: Allowed off leash per City of Boulder voice and sight control regulations


From the west, all three of the peaks that comprise Boulder’s stunning backdrop look impressively steep, high, and difficult to climb. Fortunately, Green Mountain, the northernmost peak, has a “sneak” route that accesses the 8,144-foot summit with a modest elevation gain of 600 vertical feet.

This route ascends the mountain’s west ridge from a trailhead high on Flagstaff Road, the winding street that climbs into the foothills just north of Chautauqua Park. The easy-to-follow trail is ideal for running, snowshoeing, and fun family excursions.

From the trailhead, the route heads east through beautiful evergreen forest for nearly a mile to the junction with the Green Bear Trail. From here, the trail climbs more steeply to a second junction, this time with the Ranger Trail. Continue straight to climb the short, steep series of switchbacks to the summit, passing wild raspberry bushes along the way.

Your reward for the climb are sweeping, 360-degree views, including several snow-capped peaks along the Continental Divide. At the top, there are a series of boulders that make great picnic spots on sunny afternoons, as well as a summit register to sign before you retrace your steps back to your car.


Getting there: From Denver, take I-25 north to US-36 west and follow this for 20 miles to Baseline Road. Exit here and follow Baseline west. After 1.8 miles, Baseline becomes Flagstaff Road and begins the steep, winding ascent up Flagstaff Mountain. Follow the road another 4.6 miles to a parking area. The trailhead is on the left just behind a sign that says “Leaving City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks.”