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Enchanted Mesa / McClintock Trailhead

Enchanted Mesa / McClintock Trailhead

LOCATION

McClintock and Enchanted Mesa trails start immediately on the south side of the Chautauqua Auditorium, near Chautauqua Park (Grant and Baseline Streets, Boulder).

Please check for Trail & Area Closures.

Or view the interactive trail map (includes trail closures) and the interactive wildlife closures map

You are responsible for knowing and complying with all closures and OSMP rules & regulations.

Chautauqua Ranger Cottage Photo of Ranger Cottage

At the Ranger Cottage, you will find park maps, brochures and information. Learn more about the Ranger Cottage.

PARKING

Parking lot at the trailhead and street parking around Chautauqua Park and the Chautauqua Auditorium.

TRAILS

View Enchanted Mesa/McClintock Area Trail Map pdf

McClintock Trail starts at the picnic area just south of the Chautauqua Auditorium. It descends into a lush streamside forest, then climbs gently and crosses the fire road (Enchanted Mesa trail) at the stone bridge. The trail continues to climb along the edge of a shrub-filled gulley until it intersects with the Mesa Trail.

Enchanted Mesa Trail also starts just south of the Auditorium. Follow the gravel fire road through the metal gate and continue on, across the stone bridge. The trail climbs gently to an overlook point with spectacular views of Boulder, then winds into a Ponderosa pine forest until it connects to the Mesa trail.

Chautauqua Trail (0.6 mi; 440 ft) goes up a drainage to end at a junction with Bluebell-Baird Trail.

Mesa Trail (6.9 mi; 410 ft.) starts at the first turn at the top of Bluebell road (the emergency access road) that goes south from the trail head. Long, sinuous, hilly and varied, it meanders south through forests and meadows beneath the Flatirons with connections to nearly all canyon trails along Boulder's Front Range. Near its southern end the Mesa Trail branches off twice to the Shadow Canyon Trail, but the main Mesa Trail goes eastward to end at Mesa South Trail Head.

Baseline Trail (0.4 mi; 60ft) follows Baseline Road west to end at its first turn on the way up Flagstaff Mountain. Bluebell-Baird (0.7 mi; 340 ft.) branches southeast off the Amphitheater Trail and climbs a ridge, then follows the ridge south past the Chautauqua and Bluebell Mesa Trails to end at the Bluebell Road just behind the Bluebell Shelter.

Royal Arch (0.8 mi; 880 ft.) starts near the Bluebell Shelter at the end of Bluebell Road leading south from the Trail Head. It goes into Bluebell Canyon, then climbs some switchbacks to gain a ridge. The trail drops into the drainage on the outer side of the ridge, climbs past the lovely Tangen Spring, then more steeply to end at Royal Arch.

Woods Quarry (0.3 mi; 230 ft.) starts about 0.4 miles up the Mesa Trail and ends in an abandoned quarry. First-Second Flatiron Trail (1.1 mi; 960 ft. ) starts from the Bluebell-Baird Trail, goes south to two trail signs, then west to begin switching back and forth between the First and Second Flatirons. It ends at the saddle between the First Flatiron and Sunset Rock.

Second-Third Flatiron Trail (0.3 mi; 300 ft.) starts from the Bluebell-Baird Trail, goes south to two trail signs, then southwest to the base of the Second Flatiron, then east to end at the junction of the Flatiron Trail.

Third Flatiron Trail Climbing Access (0.5 mi; 650 ft.) starts on Bluebell Road near the Bluebell Shelter. Goes northwest, then southwest and climbs to the junction of the Second-Third Flatiron Trail. Continues up to a talus field and the junction of the Third Flatiron Descent Trail. Ends at the start of the Third Flatiron Standard East Face climbing route.

Third Flatiron Descent Trail (0.2 mi; 480 ft.) starts in the saddle to the west of the summit of the Third Flatiron. Begins to descend north, then east, down through a talus field to end a the Third Flatiron Trail.

ACCESSIBILITY

This area is identified as being popular with people using wheelchairs. See the Accessible Trails Page for details.

RESTROOMS

Located at Chautauqua Ranger Cottage, on the east side of front porch and at the top of Bluebell Road.

PICNIC FACILITIES

Two picnic tables and one grill located at the McClintock trailhead. More picnic facilities located at Bluebell Shelter. The large covered picnic facility near the trailhead belongs to the Chautauqua Association and may be reserved by calling 303-442-3282.

BIKE REGULATIONS

Bicycles are not allowed on the trails in the Chautauqua area.

DOG REGULATIONS

Enchanted Mesa/McClintock Area Dog Regulations Map

All dogs must be leashed in the Trailhead Leash Area. Dogs are prohibited on Lower & Upper McClintock Trail.

Learn about bringing your dog to OSMP. Dog control requirements vary from trail to trail, so carefully watch for dog regulation signs at trailheads and trail intersections. Dogs are prohibited on Lower & Upper McClintock Trail. On most other OSMP trails in this area, dogs must be on a hand-held leash at all times unless they meet the voice and sight control standard and display a City of Boulder Voice and Sight tag. Dog excrement removal is required by law. A dog station is available to aid in the collection of dog excrement.

HORSE REGULATIONS

Horses are allowed on most trails. On-trail riding is encouraged to protect rare plants and wildlife habitat. Learn more about riding your horse on OSMP.

WILDLIFE

Black bears and mountain lions inhabit this area. Enchanted Mesa is an excellent place to see forest and meadow birds together, including Black-capped and Mountain Chickadees, three kinds of nuthatch, House Finches, Steller's Jays and Black-billed Magpies. The dense shrubs of the McClintock gully are great nesting habitat for Yellow-breasted Chats, Lazuli Buntings, and Spotted Towhees.

HISTORIC INFO

  • The City of Boulder began preserving wild lands over 100 years ago! In 1898, Boulder citizens approved a bond issue to purchase 80 acres of land to be used as a "Chautauqua." Over the next 22 years, Flagstaff Mountain, Bear Mountain, Royal Arch, and Green Mountain were added to the early protected land system.
  • In 1964, the developer who owned Enchanted Mesa planned the construction of a luxury hotel overlooking the city. Citizens opposed to the idea rallied community support. Boulder's City Council condemmend the property, forcing its sale and scuttling the development plans. A judge ordered the city to pay $10,000 more for the land than was budgeted, leading to another citizen campaign to raise the extra money from individual donors. When you hike on Enchated Mesa, give thanks to those past community members whose efforts preserved the mesa.
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