PLACES TO GO ON LAND DESTRESS OUTDOORS HOME PLACES TO GO ON WATER
Royal Arch Trail
come to visit a friend and spend my first quality time in the state of
started at the Ranger Cottage (which has some nice displays and some equally
nice people) and took the paved path immediately to the west of it. Alternatively referred to as
As we walked other trails
became visible to us, but with all the paths out here it can be very confusing even with
a map. The
The Bluebell Shelter comes up at the .6 mile mark. Here you can stop and gaze upon the city of Boulder as you decide what to do: you can follow the path we did, loop right and head back to the Ranger Cottage via the paved Chautauqua Trail, or take a right onto one of the meadow paths. As for us, we shortly arrived at the Royal Arch trailhead and began heading uphill on this mile long (2 miles out and back) dirt path.
For roughly the first 2/3 of this you’ll be making a very, very gradual right arc as you hike on a steady and somewhat strenuous climb (especially for those not accustomed to the altitude) up the mountain. There are some very pleasant spots to stop and rest though, and at one point you’ll pass another intersection for a trail which will branch right and take you up to the second and third Flat\ Irons.
We continued straight, and for most of the following ascent we were on one or another side of a ravine. Please be careful here. According to a new friend I traveled with today, these slopes can be a little difficult to negotiate without slipping off the trail – especially when there’s snow on the ground! I was kinda partial to the rockslide views in here…
As you near the top of this first climb you’ll begin to notice some great vistas through the rocks just before you take a left and begin a brief but steep descent which will provide a nice respite from your uphill labors. The vistas here were so sweet that at first I thought it was our final destination, forgetting that the name of the trail was Royal ARCH. We’d not reached an arch yet… Note the spot below as well. This was one of those situations where I couldn't decide between 2 pictures so I'm putting them both up!
As we began our final ascent toward the arch what amazed me were all the children that I was seeing. This is not exactly an easy trail, yet there were a lot of families out here spending some quality time together this Saturday. In fact, there was a constant stream of people coming up and down the mountain, so I was starting to get pretty excited about the sights which awaited me up ahead.
once at Royal Arch I was very thankful that my friends had chosen this
path. Spectacular views stretched as far
as you could see. These included an
overview of the park, a birds-eye view of the city of
stayed for quite a while (and a little longer because it started to rain!), but
given this bonus time I was also able to notice some things about the people I
was with - and take some more pictures of the flat irons on the way back. The citizens of
Pondering all this on our descent, I couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like to live here year-round. Boulder is not the cheapest place to live, but with its’ multitude of hiking options and other outdoor opportunities I would be quite pleased to get back out here and do more exploring! …and I certainly think that anyone would be pleased to check out this fantastic trail! It’s MORE than worth the time – absolutely exceptional!
you take Route 36 into the heart of