Trails traveled: 1st and 2nd Flatirons Trail, Bluebell Mesa Trail, Chautauqua Trail, Difficulty: Moderate/Hard (Blue/Black)
Loop, 2.8 miles round-trip, 1,485 feet elevation gain
Time: 2 hours
Weather: Overcast, Partly Cloudy
- Winter Hike
- Traction Device
- Scenic Overlook
This was a “hard” winter hike. It was not that it was particularly long (less than 3 miles round-trip), but there is over 1,400 feet elevation gain in that short distance and you are constantly going up.
There was one tricky spot that the ice and snow made even more difficult. There is an almost vertical spot that was “frozen over” with ice that made it more of a climb than a hike. However, there wasn’t any exposure in this spot so the danger was minimal.
There were some epic views of Boulder, and the University of Colorado from the top of the first Flatiron. Since it was a pretty clear day, you could actually see all the way to downtown Denver from this vantage point. Then, at the second Flatiron, you have access to the West side of the slope and can see some of the back range. There were some thirteeners and maybe a fourteener (Longs Peak?) in view from the top of the hike.
I used a traction device on my waterproof boots and stayed warm and dry the entire hike. I didn’t even need poles. At the lower elevations I had a coat on and was hot, but once I got to higher elevations, I needed to put my coat back on as the wind started picking up the later in the afternoon it became.
The coolest part of the hike was watching the moonrise. It was a full moon last night and the views from the East were very clear and the moon was beautiful!
I am glad I’ve gotten into winter hiking. The crowds are much smaller than a Spring or Summer day on the mountain and the weather is bearable with layers. I also love getting the exercise when in years past I have stayed inside and watched a movie. It feels good.