Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) will institute trail closures to help complete trail and trailhead improvements this year. OSMP reminds community member to visit to see current closures across the city’s trail system.

The City of Boulder's Open Space and Mountain Parks Department plans to conduct numerous trail and trailhead projects in 2024, including the construction of two new trails.

OSMP is nearing completion of the new 3.5-mile North Sky Trail – which will connect the city’s Foothills Trail to the Joder Ranch Trail north of Boulder – and is planning to open it in mid-July. The department is planning to host an opening celebration event later in July. OSMP also anticipates completing the new 1.5-mile Vesper Trail on Gunbarrel Hill near the intersection of 75th Street and Lookout Road in late June. Planned trail opening dates depend on weather and other circumstances that may affect project schedules.

The department also plans to conduct many other trail construction, repair and maintenance projects in 2024 to help fulfill past trail planning processes and the department’s long-term strategic plan, which has identified trail maintenance as a key departmental priority. Those projects have had extensive design work and environmental permitting, requiring OSMP trail and trailhead specialists, ecologists and landscape architects to coordinate project plans to protect wildlife, plants and water resources.

Upcoming trail and trailhead improvement projects include:

  • Sawhill Ponds Trailhead: OSMP will implement several trailhead improvements, including constructing a new fishing pier, enhancing bus parking and upgrading a “bird blind” to help visitors observe wildlife. The department will also improve parking and the Sawhill Ponds Trail for community members experiencing disabilities, helping them to experience the fishing pier and picnic areas better. OSMP plans to complete this work in the fall.
  • Shale and western Eagle Trails: OSMP will construct the new Shale Trail, which will connect Boulder Valley Ranch Trailhead to city-managed open space on a mesa north of Boulder. The trail will be open to horses and hikers. Additionally, OSMP will reroute a steep, erosive section of the western part of Eagle Trail to improve the trail experience for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians. As part of this work, OSMP will close and restore trails to help protect important plant habitats. OSMP anticipates beginning this work late this year and lasting into 2025.
  • Cobalt Trail: OSMP will reroute the trail to improve drainage, avoid rare and sensitive plants, and create a better visitor experience. Work is expected to start in the fall.
  • Mount Sanitas Trail: OSMP will continue repair and maintenance efforts on the Mount Sanitas Trail this summer . This work will include replacing old trail infrastructure, installing new steps and conducting repairs to reduce soil erosion. OSMP reminds visitors to help us protect vegetation in the area by staying on trail and walking through mud to help us minimize “trail braiding” caused by visitors walking off trail, which widens the trail and damages drainage and infrastructure.
  • Royal Arch Trail: OSMP will continue ongoing work to improve the trail by installing additional timber stairs near the end of the trail. The department anticipates implementing closures from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday, to help complete this work. Trail work is expected to occur this summer.
  • Chapman Drive Trailhead: Trailhead improvements will include a new pedestrian bridge connecting Boulder Canyon Trail to the Chapman Drive Trailhead across Boulder Creek. OSMP also will improve parking at the trailhead. Additional visitor amenities will include more bike racks and a new picnic table. This work is expected to occur in the fall.
  • New bridge over South Boulder Creek: OSMP plans to install a new bridge over South Boulder Creek and will build a new, small trail to connect community members living near South Boulder Road and Cherryvale Road to the new bridge. The department also will remove invasive species as part of ongoing work to help protect rare and federally threatened wildlife and plant species in the area. The department plans to begin work this fall.
  • Cragmoor-Shanahan Connector: OSMP will design and designate the trail connection between Cragmoor Connector and North Fork Shanahan Trail on Shanahan Ridge in south Boulder. OSMP plans to conduct trail construction work this summer. The current undesignated trail alignment will be restored after the new alignment is completed.
  • Eagle and Sage trails: OSMP recently completed extensive maintenance work on the eastern sections of Eagle and Sage Trails north of the city. These trails provide important connections into Boulder from neighboring communities and areas north of the city.

The department will conduct trail several other repair projects and trail reroute efforts in the following areas:

  • Buckingham Park
  • Baseline Meadow
  • East Boulder – Gunbarrel Trail
  • Greenbelt Plateau
  • LeHigh Connector North
  • The Peoples’ Crossing
  • Saddle Rock Trail

OSMP also will conduct ecological restoration efforts for many upcoming trail projects. That work includes closing and restoring undesignated trails that can harm sensitive wildlife habitats and seed grassland areas with native vegetation to support ground-nesting birds. As part of trailhead projects, OSMP is focusing on using native vegetation to support wildlife and pollinator habitats.

As part of several trail projects, OSMP will institute trail closures to help complete trail and trailhead improvements this year and reminds community member to visit to see current closures across the city’s trail system. Visitors can view alternate trail and trailhead destinations at through our trail and trailhead website search feature.