Davidson Mesa sits opposite Boulder Valley to the east, giving it spectacular views of the Flatirons, the city of Boulder and as far north as Rocky Mountain National Park. Because it sits on the border of Boulder and Louisville, the trailhead is technically in the city of Louisville but it’s only 15 minutes from downtown Boulder and even closer from south Boulder. No matter where you are coming from, it’s worth the visit. There’s an excellent dog park here as well -- which may top the list of “best views from a dog park” anywhere in America!As of March 2016, the southern end of the Davidson Mesa trails connect (through a gate) to the entire 18-mile US 36 Bikeway for some real long distance running options.
What Makes It Great
Davidson Mesa’s modest 3.3 miles of trails are the perfect place for casual hikers or trail runners. The western views off the mesa are gorgeous and whether you are running, hiking or simply enjoying a picnic, it’s easy to be hypnotized by the mountain vistas. Besides the trails on the mesa itself, there is also an underpass beneath McCaslin Boulevard that takes you to Harper Lake, where another flat trail goes a mile around the perimeter of the lake.
Take your pooch when you visit Davidson Mesa. Dogs are allowed on all the trails as long as they are on leash but there’s also a large, fenced in dog park where they can romp and play off-leash. One strategy is to let your dog get nice and tired in the park then take him for an on-leash tour of the mesa.
The trails are all very casual but be aware there is no shade on mesa. Trail running is wonderful in cooler weather but can get toasty on a sunny, summer day. Time your visit to watch the sunset over the Rocky Mountains to avoid the heat. Hiking has its advantages too: bring a camera not only for the mountain scenery, you may also spot a roaming coyote or a sharp-shinned hawk.
Who is Going to Love It
Those looking to get a little perspective will no doubt enjoy the views of Boulder from above. Runners, photographers and hikers all agree that Davidson Mesa is one of the best places to get out of the Boulder bubble. Much like how Boulder sits on the divide of prairie and mountain, Davidson Mesa sits on the division of city and suburb.
The off-leash dog park is a blast and shouldn’t be missed. Many locals use it as a quick jaunt to work off puppy energy while soaking in the sights.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From the intersection of South Boulder Road and Cherryvale Road in south Boulder, go east on South Boulder Road 2.6 miles (up the steep hill) and turn right onto McCaslin Boulevard. Continue 0.6 miles to the Davidson Mesa Trailhead on the right side of the road. If the parking lot is full, you can also turn left onto Washington Street and park at Harper Lake. An underpass will take you (and your pup) safely under McCaslin Boulevard over to the mesa.