Important Updates:

Get the latest coronavirus updates, including information on closures and work the city is doing to limit the spread of the virus. | More Info


The City of Boulder welcomes your feedback. Use our Inquire Boulder customer service tool to tell us what’s on your mind.

  • OSMP Trails & Recreation
  • OSMP Visitor Info
  • OSMP Get Involved
  • OSMP Nature & Restoration
  • OSMP - About
  • OSMP Kids & Families
  • OSMP Plans & Reports
  • OSMP en Español

South Boulder Creek - West Trailhead

South Boulder Creek - West Trailhead

COVID-19 Alerts

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 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.


1401 South Foothills Highway. West of Highway 93 at Thomas Lane, approximately 0.5 miles north of the intersection of Highway 93 and Eldorado Springs Drive.

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.


Parking lot just south of Thomas Lane at the trailhead, with a parking fee. Information on parking permits & fees.


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.


An RTD bus passes very close to this trailhead. Learn about Taking the Bus to OSMP.


View South Boulder Creek West Trail Map pdf

South Boulder Creek Trail is accessed from the south side of the parking lot. This trail passes by tall and mixed grass prairie as it meanders west along South Boulder Creek. Its terminus is at the southeast end of the Mesa Trail which provides extensive trail access along the foothills, including routes to the top of South Boulder and Bear Peaks.

Big Bluestem Trail is accessed by hiking westward on Thomas Lane approximately 0.3 miles (**Please note that parking is not allowed on Thomas Lane). This trail intersects the Mesa trail at two locations: 1) along the lower southern portion of the Mesa Trail, 2) terminus at the upper Mesa Trail before it passes the western most point of the South Fork of the Shanahan Trail.

An easy four mile loop is to hike the South Boulder Creek Trail to the Mesa Trail north to the Big Bluestem Trail and east to the trailhead.


Located at the trailhead.


There are two picnic tables available at the trailhead. Both are partly shaded and near a pond. Grills and stoves are prohibited.


Bicycles are not allowed on the trails accessed from this trailhead.


South Boulder Creek West Area Dog Regulations Map

Learn about bringing your dog to OSMP. All dogs must be leashed in the Trailhead Leash Area. Dogs are prohibited on the Greenbriar Connector Trail. Dogs must be on a hand-held leash on Lower Big Bluestem 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.


These are excellent trails to explore the grassland ecosystem and the lower range of the ponderosa pine forest. Mule deer commonly graze this area in the early morning. Coyote and fox can also be observed. The area also provides hunting grounds for many of our local raptors. In early May, wild irises bloom in great numbers along the upper Big Bluestem trail.


  • An area of ranching and cattle grazing.