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.
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.
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!