Flatirons Vista is a short open space trail on the border of Boulder and Jefferson Counties. The City of Boulder has improved this area significantly in recent years. There is a newly expanded parking lot, bathroom, additional trail, and most recently a new parking fee if you are not a Boulder resident. However, these improvements have led to an increase in traffic, particularly mountain bikers who can connect to this trail system with Marshall Mesa via the Greenbelt Plateau.
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 was completed in the summer of 2014 and 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.
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. 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.
Expect to see leashed dogs and horseback riders too. With its views of the Flatirons, this is a great family-friendly trail. Eagles are a likely sight as you wind your way through the pine trees. There are restrooms in 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. South Boulder’s fringe is a real escape that is only about 10 minutes from downtown yet will feel worlds away.
For trail runners and hikers who prefer mellow terrain with great views and a variety of loop options, Flatirons Vista’s trails are perfect. A link to the Mesa Trail enables ambitious explorers to go to the summit of South Boulder Peak or trail run to Chautauqua Park in Boulder if they prefer to go for longer runs, rides, and hikes. Flatirons Vista is just 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.
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