Boulder 5 Peak Traverse

The Boulder 5 Peak Traverse, also known as the Boulder Skyline Traverse, is a classic trail run in the Boulder area. At 16.3 miles and 6300 ft of elev gain, it’s not exceedingly long but it’s got a fair amount of climbing, and ranges in altitude from 5400 to 8500 ft. Coming from sea level, I could feel it.

A couple days before doing the Traverse I’d done a loop up Mt Audobon, which unexpectedly offered great views of the 5 Peak Traverse and got me even more excited about the route.

untitled-8091

Five peaks of Boulder on the far horizon, as seen from the flanks of Audobon. From left to right, Sanitas, Flagstaff, Green, Bear, and South Boulder.

I’m not super familiar with the trails around Boulder and therefore was happy to find this Hiking Project write-up of the Traverse. In my opinion, it was worth downloading the app (especially since the app is free)! I carried a paper map as well.

Although the route traditionally starts from the South Mesa trailhead, I started from my parent’s house, which is directly adjacent to the Lehigh Connector. This added approx 1 mile to the route, for a total of 17.1 miles and 6300 ft. Close enough.

2151

Boulder 5 Peak Traverse

The weather in Boulder had been hot and sunny all week, so I started in the dark, about an hour before sunrise, to avoid the heat and to make sure I was down low before any afternoon thunderstorms rolled through. I was happily surprised when the morning turned out to be cool and overcast. It rained a bit but there was never any thunder or lightning. Just like home.

By mid-morning the sun was out and it had started to warm up. I collected water at Boulder Creek (treated with MSR Aquatabs) and also filled my bottles at the drinking fountain in Eben G. Fine park. I had a 1 liter carrying capacity, and if the day had been any warmer I would’ve wished for more water…

I was blissfully alone on South Boulder and Bear Peak, and only saw one person on my way up Green Mountain. By the time I reached Flagstaff the trail was getting busy, and Sanitas was downright crowded, which I suppose is to be expected on a sunny Friday in Boulder.

All in all, this is a great route and an excellent way to get a taste of Boulder trails!

img_20160902_062224731

Sunrise as I made my way up Fern Canyon

img_20160902_065835406

Summit of Bear Peak: one down, four to go!

untitled-8211

Denver skyline in the distance

untitled-8199

Red sky in morning…

untitled-8200

Sunrise lighting up a rock on the trail (no post-processing)

img_20160902_073709541

South Boulder Peak: two down, three to go!

untitled-8216

View to the south from South Boulder Peak

img_20160902_081857176_hdr

Fall colors already starting to show on Bear Peak West Ridge trail

img_20160902_093353836

Green Mountain: three down, two to go!

img_20160902_104023379

Flagstaff – barely a summit. Four down, one to go!

untitled-8220

Mount Sanitas. Looks so harmless.

img_20160902_131837140

Sanitas. Steep little trail that packs a punch, especially at the end of this traverse.  Five down, zero to go!

 

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Boulder 5 Peak Traverse

  1. Snuffy says:

    I am going to have to remember this the next time I am in Colorado. I love the sunrise rock picture. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Friday Favorites 9/16/16 – Must Hike Must Eat

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s