The Greenbelt Plateau sits on the southern side of Marshall Mesa. It is a popular trailhead for mountain bikers, hikers and trail runners thanks to the options that exist right out of the parking lot. Do you want to head west and explore Flatirons Vista? Or head east along the High Plains Trail and stand near the foot of Boulder’s enormous windmills? Maybe going north and connecting with the Marshall Mesa Trail network to get stellar views of the city of Boulder is in order. No matter where you explore, the seemingly remote feel of the area will be a nice diversion from the busy city nearby.
What Makes It Great
The Greenbelt Plateau Trailhead is one of the gateway trails the connects the excellent trail system in south Boulder. That includes Flatirons Vista, Doudy Draw, Community Ditch, Marshall Mesa and the Springbrook Loop. Because the area is popular with mountain bikers and runners, people tend to disperse quickly once out of the parking lot, so don’t let a bunch of cars discourage you from exploring. The High Plains Trail is less traveled, especially on foot, and is a great way to see the farthest west sections of the Great Plains just before they merge into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
Dogs are welcome on nearly all trails in the system and certain sections allow off-leash romping with a city of Boulder off-leash tag. The Highway 93 underpass at Marshall Mesa is one of two ways to cross the busy road to the western trail network; the other is a crosswalk a hundred feet west of the Greenbelt Plateau parking area. The area is especially enchanting in winter, when snow caps the nearby Flatirons and the open alpine meadows turn immaculately white.
Who is Going to Love It
Hikers who are ready to explore south Boulder are in for treat. The open prairie affords expansive views, especially from the top of the Greenbelt Plateau Trail. The ability to connect so many other trails is a great way to get in a short stroll or cover a lot of ground. Wildlife lovers and photographers cherish this area for the peaceful vibe and variety of critters who call the area home: coyotes, mountain lions, black bear, deer, elk, fox and a host of birds all roam the trails around Greenbelt Plateau. Trail runners use this trailhead to get in longer runs and can parse together trails as short as a mile or over 20 miles!
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From the intersection of Table Mesa and Broadway (Highway 93), head south out of town along Highway 93 4.4 miles. At a light, turn left onto Highway 128 and the parking area will be two hundred feet farther on the left side of the road. You will need to drive past it a short distance and u-turn to get to the parking lot.
Boulder county residents can park for free but out-of-towners will have to pay a $5 fee to park (or buy a year long pass for $25).
Dogs are allowed on most of the trails, though they must be on leash if they do not have the city of Boulder off-leash tags. All dogs must be leashed on the High Plains Trail.