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Shanahan Ridge

Intermediate
 3.3 (21) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A straightforward hike on some of the best trail Boulder has to offer.


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Map Key

3.9

Miles

6.3

KM

Loop

6,504' 1,982 m

High

5,672' 1,729 m

Low

831' 253 m

Up

831' 253 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (5°)

22%

Max Grade (13°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · River/Creek · Views · Wildlife

Please check bouldercolorado.gov/osmp/cl… for closure data.

Overview

This route is classic front range "up, then down" hiking. The highlight of the "up" part being the segment atop Shanahan Ridge (Mesa Trail - Shanahan Ridge), from which the views are incredible.

Description

Start at the small parking area on Bear Mountain Drive. In order to get the road section out of the way ASAP, start heading uphill on Bear Mountain Drive (southeast). Next, take a left on View Point Road and then a right on Cragmoor Road to reach the Cragmoor Connector as it heads to North Fork Shanahan Trail (stay straight here). Runners will get great views of the City of Boulder and the Flatirons.

North Fork Shanahan Trail ascends steeply, not contouring at all. Pass Shanahan Connector on your left and continue straight. Eventually, after the steepest portion, this trail terminates at the Mesa Trail.

Turn right onto the Mesa Trail, which is nestled between Bear Mountain and Shanahan Ridge. After ~.4mi, turn right to head up the Mesa Trail - Shanahan Ridge to get some sweet views, or turn left to stay on the Mesa Trail. Shortly after staying on the Mesa Trail, you'll pass Fern Canyon on your left. Continue down Mesa as it switchbacks steeply past the Bear Canyon Trail.

Finally, you'll come to a fork. Take a right here to take the NCAR - Bear Canyon Trail. Follow this wide singletrack as it winds past the NCAR - Bear Connector trail on your left and follows Bear Canyon Creek on your right. Once you're past the connector, you're almost to the trailhead!

After some quick downhill hiking, you'll approach an obvious intersection with Bear Canyon Trailhead, a small connector trail joining the canyon to Bear Mountain Drive. This short trail crosses a stream and may include some mud, so stay on your toes!

Contacts

Shared By:

Tom Robson

Trail Ratings

  3.3 from 21 votes

#2

in NCAR

#3202

Overall
  3.3 from 21 votes
5 Star
5%
4 Star
43%
3 Star
33%
2 Star
19%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#2

in NCAR

#416

in Colorado

#3,202

Overall
141 Views Last Month
10,453 Since Dec 17, 2014
Intermediate

0%
5%
85%
5%
5%
0%

Photos

Bear Peak, the Goose and the Seal with permission from BoulderTraveler
Jan 8, 2015 near Boulder, CO
South Boulder Peak with permission from BoulderTraveler
Jan 8, 2015 near Boulder, CO
The Mesa Trail overlooking NCAR and the valley below. Dogs are allowed off leash if they have their Blue tags
Apr 13, 2015 near Boulder, CO
A nice trail into the Boulder foothills.
Apr 8, 2017 near Boulder, CO
A boulder in a green meadow below Dinosaur Mtn with permission from BoulderTraveler
Jan 8, 2015 near Boulder, CO
Looking toward flatirons from Mesa Trail.
Jul 20, 2020 near Boulder, CO

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Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jul 11, 2022
Michael X
Apr 3, 2022
Philip Roddenberry
3.9mi
Oct 18, 2021
Allison Klein
Feb 15, 2021
Arianna Porter
They changed a portion of the Mesa trail, hike up to the sign and follow the Mesa trail (on the right). It'll eventually link back up with the map. — 1h 43m
Oct 22, 2020
jon J
Jul 26, 2020
Ciara Mulvaney
Mar 15, 2020
MCDeaver
Sep 17, 2019
Danielle McGill