Marshall Mesa's hiking trails are great for all levels of hikers.The high vantage point of the mesa offers great views of the Flatirons as well as far off destinations including Longs Peak to the north and Denver to the east.
You can link a lot of trails together, but an average loop is around 3 - 4 miles.
Destination Distance From Downtown
2 of 5 diamonds
Time To Complete
25 minutes +/-, depending on what trail you decide to get on
Yes; off leash allowed with City of Boulder off leash tag.
Parking is free to Boulder county residents. All others have a $5.00 day use fee (or a yearly pass for $25.00). Note there is a free, rough gravel parking lot used by commuters directly across the street from Marshall Mesa's parking area. You can choose to park here and cross the road to save the parking fee.
Marshall Mesa is a multi-use area that is popular with runners and mountain bikers, but to really soak in the beauty of the area, hiking may be the way to go. Views of Boulder’s iconic Flatirons are a photographer’s dream from the top of the mesa, where the panorama extends from Longs Peak to the north, the city skyline of Denver to the east and the city of Golden to the south. Along with the undisputed scenic appeal, the trails on Marshall Mesa explore the area’s mining history and there are several informational plaques along the way that tell the story.
What Makes It Great
Marshall Mesa’s views are divine. It’s one of the best vantage points for looking at the city of Boulder and the aspects of the Flatirons make for gorgeous dawn and dusk photos. The hiking is mellow, with only a few short hills to gain the mesa.
Hikers have many options when visiting. A quick hike -- 15 minutes or so -- can lead directly to the mesa proper. Looping out east and heading up to the mesa makes for a long day. For those looking for an all-day experience, the new Highway 93 Underpass connects with the Flatirons Vista Trails and those connect further to Dowdy Draw, Springbrook and South Mesa Trails. If you are training for a big adventure, it’s possible to connect over 20 miles of trails -- not to mention the three peaks above the Flatirons -- all starting from Marshall Mesa. More likely, hikers are looking for a day out with great views just outside of town. Because the majority of trails are dog friendly, it’s a good place to take Fido as well.
Who is Going to Love It
Hikers who want a lot of visual reward for little effort. Trails are casual and relaxed, though you can make the day as long or short as you like. Hiking to the top of the Greenbelt Plateau has the best views, but hiking to Dowdy Draw via the underpass is pretty spectacular as well.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The trailhead is on the southeast side of the road at the intersection of Highway 93 and Marshall Road, off of Marshall road (turn east off Highway 93 at the light and then a quick right).
Boulder residents can park for free but non-residents must pay $5. Note that there is free parking just across Marshall Road from the entrance to Marshall Mesa. This informal gravel parking area will save you a few bucks and it’s 30 second walk to the trailhead.