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Hangliding and Paragliding
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Bolting / Rock Climbing
Permits for Organized Events
The following regulations are in effect on the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks for the enjoyment and protection of this unique resource. Please take the time to read posted regulations at each trailhead as they vary by area. You are responsible for knowing and obeying all OSMP regulations. Violations may result in summons and/or fines. Rangers patroll OSMP land. For further information please contact the City of Boulder OSMP Department, at 303-441-3440. In case of an emergency, call 911.
Dog regulations vary on OSMP lands. In some areas, dogs must be leashed. In other areas, dogs may be allowed off leash if they meet voice and sight control standards at all times.
Dogs must be managed when visiting in order to limit negative impacts on the environment and other visitors. Dogs can frighten or chase wildlife. Dog management is necessary to provide a good experience for all visitors. Some visitors are afraid of dogs for many different reasons - all of which must be respected. Managing dogs also helps protect dogs and guardians. Dogs sniffing in prairie dog holes can pick up fleas carrying bubonic plague. Dogs can be stung by insects, sprayed by skunks, eaten by mountain lions, infected with rabies or distemper, injured or lost.
Visitors are legally responsible for picking up and disposing of their pet's excrement. Dog waste is very damaging to the environment. Please see our special page for dog owners.
Biking is allowed on designated trails, which are identified on the OSMP Trail Map. Bikes must remain on-trail. This limits erosion, costly trail maintenance and reduces conflicts between users. When people or animals walk, they leave disjointed tracks whereas a bike leaves a continuous rut which water will follow when draining.
Bikes must also yield the trail according to the following regulation:
Competitive events are prohibited on Open Space & Mountain Parks, BRC Chapter 8-8-10.
OSMP allows off-trail "virtual" geocaching (with no cache or treasure) in all areas where off-trail travel is allowed. See OSMP's Geocaching Policy .
Hang gliding and paragliding are allowed at a launch site near Wonderland Lake. Other potential launch sites are currently being explored.
Horses are permitted on all trails unless specifically prohibited.
Broken glass is difficult to clean up. People, pets and wildlife can be injured by broken glass, so glass containers are prohibited.
A hiker's foot can crush delicate wild flowers, create erosion-prone "social trails" and cause designated trails to widen over time. When hiking, please stay on the trail tread even when it is muddy or icy to protect surrounding vegetation. You can wash your boots, but a plant may be permanently damaged by a careless footprint.
You must apply for and obtain an off-trail permit if you plan to travel off of a designated trail in a Habitat Conservation Area (HCA) prior to your trip. Follow this link to learn about the rare species protected in our HCAs.
Several trails not in Habitat Conservation Areas may also require visitors to stay on trail or require specific activities to stay on trail. Spring Brook Loop is an example of a trail where equestrians and dogs must remain on the trail. A visitor is considered "off-trail" if he or she (or dog or horse) travels off of an OSMP designated trail. Traveling “off-trail” means stepping away from the constructed, non-vegetated and actively used part of a trail.
Unavoidable and incidental activities that may occur next to the trail (e.g., yielding to other visitors, avoiding a hazard on a trail, resting or taking a water break "beside" the trail) are generally not considered "off-trail." Going off trail to take a picture, to find a quiet spot to rest, to eat, or to reach an overlook is considered off-trail. Rangers will enforce violations based on the specific intent and circumstance of a visitor being off-trail.
Nighttime use (one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise) of HCAs is discouraged.
In many areas of OSMP hiking off-trail is not actually prohibited by law, but results in damage and deterioration to the land. Please stick to designated hiking trails and avoid cross-country travel and the use and proliferation of "social trails."
Many Open Space and Mountain Parks buildings and structures have historical value and need to be preserved for future enjoyment. Erosion will occur from driving or biking in sensitive areas. Breaking branches or carving on trees will expose the tree to infection or insects and weakens the tree. Removing signs results in confusion or potential risk to visitors and can lead to resource damage.
Any damage to or removal of OSMP property or natural features including but not limited to wildflowers, artifacts, rocks, wildlife, trees, signs, trail markers, etc. is prohibited.
Wildlife is protected on Open Space and Mountain Parks land. Harassing wildlife can cause stress or injury and may discourage it from returning to the area. Animals may abandon a nest or young.
Many of the animals that make their homes on Open Space and Mountain Parks are rare or vanishing across their range. This protected land offers a refuge for these species and for other animals upon which they depend for survival.
It is against the law to disturb any wildlife or wildlife habitat on Open Space and Mountain Parks land. Hunting, trapping, chasing or removing wildlife is specifically prohibited. Any research or academic project must be authorized by the Open Space and Mountain Parks Department. Research Guidelines and Application .
Area closures are sometimes used to protect nesting raptors (prairie falcons, peregrine falcons, golden eagles, ospreys), some breeding species of bats and when bears or mountain lions are temporally present in an area. Human disturbance may cause these animals to abandon their eggs or young. Under some circumstances large animals may present an inadvertent threat to humans.
Some parts of Open Space and Mountain Parks are seasonally closed to all users to protect wildlife. View an updated listing of all seasonal wildlife closures. Follow this link to meet some of the incredible animals protected by these closures.
Camping is not allowed on Open Space and Mountain Parks. This includes using a vehicle as a residence. No tents or nets can be erected, with the ONE exception of a small campground at Fourth of July Trailhead, located in the mountains about one hour west of Boulder.
Camping can have negative impacts to vegetation, wildlife and other park visitors. Campfires increase the danger of wildfire and campgrounds require increased maintenance and patrol. Human waste may jeopardize the environment.
Fires are only allowed in designated fire pits/grills because of the danger of fire spreading to other areas and causing wildland fires. Fire pits and grills are located only in the immediate area around Flagstaff Mountain. Fires are permitted only in designated fire pits/grills. Fires are prohibited between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Fires must be extinguished completely prior to leaving the area. During times of extreme fire danger fire bans may be instituted.
Fires/Fireworks/Hot air balloons/Gas-powered devices are all prohibited due to the danger of causing wildland fires. Noise concerns and safety of other visitors are also a consideration.
Possession or discharge of fireworks is prohibited. Fireworks include firecrackers, roman candles, model rockets, hot air balloons and numerous other items.
Please dispose of litter in trash cans, or remove it from the area if trash containers are full. Dumping of residential or other trash generated elsewhere is prohibited.
Photo - Hiker trash found in a bear's scat at Bear Peak. Contents include plastic bags, aluminum foil, cigarette butts.
Curfew is set to control overnight use of parking lots for camping or parties. OSMP parking lots are closed to vehicles between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Service road gates must remain unblocked in order to provide emergency access at any time. Motorized vehicles must remain in parking lots to concentrate use and protect natural areas from resource damage done by off-road vehicles.
Motor vehicles are prohibited except in parking lots. Some lots along Flagstaff Road require a parking fee.
Possession or discharge of a firearm or weapon, including paint ball guns, is prohibited on OSMP.
In order to allow an extra measure of protection for special or sensitive areas and protect buildings and structures from vandalism, entering closed areas or climbing on buildings is prohibited. Entering a closed area is Trespass on Public Property.
OSMP leases areas that are suitable for grazing to lessees through a formal agreement. Grazing is one strategy used to promote the department's environmental objectives, such as the control of weeds without the use of chemicals, or to restore native grasslands.
Grazing of domestic animals, commercial livestock operations and livery operations are prohibited without a permit.
Any recreational, athletic, or social event intended for an attendance of 25 or more persons will need a special use permit . You may apply for a facility permit for events on the Flagstaff Summit. For all other events, please call OSMP for application information or visit the permit page for more information.
Placement of Fixed Hardware (bolts, pitons, pins) is prohibited unless done in accordance with Notification of Bolt Replacement guidelines or as part of the Flatiron Climbing Council's Fixed Hardware Project. If you come across what you determine to be an unsafe bolt and wish to replace it, download and use this Notification for Bolt Replacement form . Replacement notifications are reviewed by OSMP staff and the FCC's Fixed Hardware Review Committee before final approval. In addition, certain specific areas of the Flatirons are eligible for new route development as part of the Fixed Hardware Project. Applicants can submit new route proposals and each proposal is reviewed by OSMP and the FCC before final approval. Information on which specific areas are eligible for new route development, as well as detailed information on the application process, can be found at on the Flatiron's Climbing Council Web site.
Golfing, polluting the water, wading or boating on lakes or ponds, sliding (sledding) except in designated areas, amplified sound systems, and disturbing the peace of other users by noise.
Please be aware that state law prohibits the consumption of alcohol greater than 3.2 percent in any public place. Glass containers are prohibited on Open Space and Mountain Parks.
All park visitors whose motor vehicles are not registered in Boulder County must possess either a daily or annual permit to park on Flagstaff Mountain or in Gregory Canyon (see map, 50KB). As of 6/27/11, parking fees for vehicles not registered in Boulder County also apply to Doudy Draw, Flatirons Vista and South Mesa Trailheads.
Annual permits may be purchased by mail or in person at the OSMP Administration Office, 66 S. Cherryvale Road, Boulder, CO 80303. Annual permits are good for the calendar year and expire at the end of the year in which they are purchased. One permit is required for each vehicle.
Annual permits, good for all fee locations are $25.
Call 303-441-3440 for more information.
Daily permits may be purchased for $5 at the OSMP Administration Office, 66 S. Cherryvale Road, Boulder, CO 80303 or at the parking areas below.
Any one of six self-service stations located on Flagstaff Mountain (see map, 50KB):
Any of the southern trailheads included in the parking fee system:
For those with Flagstaff Facility Reservations:
Applicants of reservations for the Flagstaff Summit Shelters or the Halfway House may either have attendees purchase daily permits at self-service stations provided or may pre-purchase daily permits at the Open Space & Mountain Parks administrative office. (Note: pre-purchased daily permits are non refundable.)
Trail users are required to yield the trail according to the following regulation:
Last Updated on Friday, 17 May 2013 10:12