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South Mesa Trailhead

South Mesa Trailhead

Tell us what you think! Help us create more open space connections and preserve local agriculture

Please take a little time to share your ideas to help Boulder ensure an inclusive open space future, with welcoming outreach and volunteer programming, and to help the community preserve and enjoy Boulder’s agricultural lands. Please provide your thoughts by midnight, Dec. 18. Your input will help identify strategies for the Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) Master Plan, which will guide the management of Boulder's open space over the next decade and beyond. 


Please leave your valuables at home: We’ve recently seen an uptick of car break-ins at our trailheads. If you’re visiting open space, please leave your valuables at home. Do not leave anything of value in plain sight in your vehicles and please remember to always lock your car doors. Please call the non-emergency police line to report any suspicious activity, 303-441-4444.


1.7 miles west of Highway 93 on Eldorado Springs Drive (Highway 170).

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 with parking fee on the north side of Eldorado Springs Drive. Information on parking permits & fees. Parking is not allowed on Highway 170.


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.


View South Mesa Trail Map pdf

Mesa Trail can be taken to Shadow Canyon Trail and to South Boulder and Bear Peaks, or north to NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) and six miles to Chautauqua Park. The Mesa Trail also connects to the Towhee Trail, Homestead Trail, South Boulder Creek Trail and Big Bluestem Trail. The South Boulder Creek and Big Bluestem Trails meander through tall and mixed grass prairie. The other trails lead through ponderosa pine savannah. As you hike upward and westward the montane zone becomes evident in the area of South Boulder and Bear Peaks.


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


Located at the trailhead.


Seven picnic tables at parking lot. Grills and stoves are prohibited.


No bicycles are allowed in this area.


South Mesa Area Dog Regulations Map

Learn about bringing your dog to OSMP. All dogs must be leashed in the Trailhead Leash Area. Beyond the trailhead, dog control requirements vary from trail to trail, so carefully watch for dog regulation signs at trailheads and trail intersections. On most 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.


Allowed on most trails. Off-trail riding is discouraged to protect rare plants and wildlife habitat. Learn more about riding your horse on OSMP.


Black bears and mountain lions inhabit this area. The area is rich with wildlife including Peregrine Falcons, Red-tailed Hawks, songbirds, mule deer, and coyotes.


Historic Dunn House. McGillvray Cabin on Towhee Trail at Shadow Canyon. Old Schoolmarm Cabin on Mesa Trail. Stockton Cabin on Shadow Canyon Trail at S. Boulder Peak Trail.

Check out the self-guided Cultural Resource History Hike - South Mesa Cultural Landscape.

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