Head to this lollipop loop when you have out-of-town visitors, or need an invigorating early-morning run.
Photo by Emma Murray
Length: 5.3 miles
Why we love it: Quick access from Boulder, but tucked away from more trafficked trails
When to go: All year, but you might need Yaktrax (or similar) if there's been recent snow
Restrooms: Available at the picnic area, .3 miles south on the trail
Dog: Not allowed on Spring Brook Loop South trail, otherwise must be leashed
This lollipop-style hike, which links the Doudy Draw Trail to the Spring Brook Loop, lets you enjoy epic views of Eldorado Mountain without needing to do too much work. The beautiful, varied trail is a great casual hike, perfect for visitors who can’t handle much elevation gain, but still want a taste of Colorado’s mountainscape. Or, for the early birds, it makes for a straightforward, but gorgeous morning run. The open space to the east allows the sun to warm the dirt bright and early.
From the parking area, the Doudy Draw trail slowly winds through a golden prairie. Follow the large path, and stay right at the junction after a half-mile. Periodically peek back to watch Boulder recede into the horizon, then look right to ogle at Eldorado Mountain’s stunning swaths of sandstone. Continue along Doudy Draw for another half of a mile or so, until you reach the Spring Brook Loop.
Head right for about a quarter mile, and then opt right again for the Spring Brook Loop North trail. This will take you counter-clockwise, bringing you to the apex of your journey sooner so you can enjoy the rest of the hike as a smooth descent.
The trail skirts along the side of a grassy rolling hill, with epic views of Eldorado Canyon’s signature and popular rock climbing faces. From here, you’ll enter a stretch of wooded space, winding between large evergreens. You might encounter deer or families of woodpeckers in this area. In about a mile, you’ll hit a junction. Stay straight to merge with the Spring Brook Loop South trail. Turning right here will connect you to a larger network of trails, with many great options for extending hikes and runs into Eldorado Canyon State Park.
Follow Spring Brook Loop South for a little more than a mile, softly descending through the woods and returning back to open space. This brings you back to the Doudy Draw junction, and eventually to your car, where you can leave feeling reinvigorated and ready for your day.
Getting there: From Denver, hop on I-25 north to US-36 and exit on McCaslin Boulevard toward CO-170. Stay on CO-170 for about four miles before veering left onto Eldorado Springs Drive. In less than two miles, the Doudy Draw Trailhead will be on your left, across from the more frequented South Mesa Trailhead.