Enchanted Mesa / McClintock Trailhead
Always bring a face covering when you leave home and maintain 6 feet of distance
- You will need a face covering to visit Boulder’s open space trails and parks. Always bring one with you when you leave home.
- Place it over your nose and mouth when you can’t maintain 6 feet of distance from others.
- Wear it around your neck or wrist when no one else is around.
- Parents should help children older than 2 years old properly wear a face covering.
- Help protect vulnerable community members and each other.
Don’t forget: Keep the space in open space! Always stay at least 6 feet from others you don’t live with or haven’t agreed to have close contact with.
Please follow these other responsible recreation reminders:
- Visit OSMPTrails.org to see current trail closures, historical data that shows areas of high and low open space use and trails that are wider than 6 feet. See when trails are busiest through our Visitation Data Explorer.
- Protect first responders. Know your limits and don’t take unnecessary risks.
- Plan ahead and consider recreating closer to home as parking is extremely limited - especially on Flagstaff Mountain.
- Remember: Leave No Trace! Pick up trash and dog waste. Stay on trail and walk through mud. Step off if you need to maintain distance but quickly step back on trail.
- For more responsible recreation reminders, please visit the Covid-19 Recovery page.
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.
You are responsible for knowing and complying with all closures and OSMP rules & regulations.
At the Ranger Cottage, you will find park maps, brochures and information. Learn more about the Ranger Cottage.
Parking lot at the trailhead and street parking around Chautauqua Park and the Chautauqua Auditorium.
Please keep your car doors locked and your car windows rolled up at all times while leaving your vehicle parked at OSMP trailheads. Also consider leaving important valuables at home or take them with you while visiting open space. To report suspicious activity please call City of Boulder Dispatch 303-441-3333 or Boulder County Dispatch 303-441-4444. For crimes in progress, call 911 immediately.
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.
This area is identified as being popular with people using wheelchairs. See the Accessible Trails Page for details.
Located at Chautauqua Ranger Cottage, on the east side of front porch and at the top of Bluebell Road.
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.
Bicycles are not allowed on the trails in the Chautauqua area.
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.
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.
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.
- The City of Boulder began preserving wild lands over 100 years ago! In 1898, Boulder residents approved a bond issue to purchase 80 acres of land to be used as a "Chautauqua," which included this present-day trailhead. Over the next 22 years, Flagstaff Mountain, the Flatirons, 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. Residents opposed to the idea rallied community support. Boulder's City Council condemned 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 resident campaign to raise the extra money from individual donors. When you hike on Enchanted Mesa, give thanks to those past community members whose efforts preserved the mesa.