The Flatirons Vista Trailhead is located on the far south end of Boulder. As a continuation of the high Marshall Mesa Plateau, the views of Boulder’s iconic Flatirons are unmatched, especially if you have the opportunity to watch storms rolling in from the west. There is a wealth of hiking, trail running and mountain biking available from the Flatirons Vista Trailhead. A new connector tunnel (completed in summer of 2014) will link to the Marshall Mesa network of trails that extend all the way east to the town of Superior, while the trails that head west drop down to Doudy Draw and continue to the entrance of Eldorado Springs State Park.
What Makes It Great
Whether you only have time for a 20 minute outing or want to be out until the cows come home, Flatirons Vista is a great place to start. The views are instantly gorgeous and the density of wildflowers and shady forests on the west end of the plateau is a nice contrast to the raw, prairie tundra to the east. Because the bulk of the terrain is flat or only moderately hilly, there won’t be the killer elevation gain of the foothills trails.
There are two options for hiking, trail running and mountain biking the Flatiron Vista Loop. The longer loop is a distance of 3.3 miles while the shorter loop is 1.9 miles.To enjoy the longer loop, start on the South Flatiron Vista Trail (you can hit this trail about .2 miles from the connector trail trailhead). At almost 2.5 miles, you will head right onto the North Flatiron Vista Trail. You will rejoin the connector trail and take that back to where you started. If you’re looking for a longer ride, drop down to the Doudy Draw Trail network.
The shorter loop starts at the South Flatiron Vista Trail (you can hit this trail about .2 miles from the connector trail trailhead). Take a right at the one mile mark onto the Prairie Vista Trail. After another mile, you will hit the connector trail. Take the trail back to where you started.Expect to see leashed dogs and horseback riders too. This is a great family friendly trail with views of the Flatirons. Eagles are a likely sight as you wind your way through the pine trees. There are restrooms at the parking lot.
It is a trick of perspective that city of Boulder seems to disappear from the vantages of the Flatirons Vista trails. The feeling of true wilderness is bolstered by the wildlife that calls this area home (don’t be surprised to find bones along the trails). South Boulder's fringe is a real escape that is only about 10 minutes from downtown yet will feel worlds away.
Who is Going to Love It
Trail runners and hikers looking for mellow terrain with great views and lots of loop options will appreciate the immediate trails out of Flatirons Vista. Those looking for a longer run/bike/hike have the option to do just that; by linking to the Mesa Trail, ambitious explorers can do all the way to the summit of South Boulder Peak or trail run all the way to Chautauqua Park in central Boulder!
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Flatirons Vista trailhead is south of Boulder on Hwy 93, just a few hundred yards south of the junction with Hwy 128. This is about 10 minutes from downtown Boulder. There is a fee to park if you are not a Boulder County resident.