South Mesa Trailhead
People enjoy open space for physical, emotional and mental health. Remember to always be courteous. Don't forget to:
- Plan visits ahead of time and don’t park illegally at full trailhead areas.
- Remember to “keep the space in open space.” Maintain 6 feet of distance from people not in your household.
- Leave No Trace. Stay on trail and walk through mud. If you step off trail to let others pass, immediately step back on trail.
- Protect first responders. Know your limits and don’t take unnecessary risks.
- 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.
1.7 miles west of Highway 93 on Eldorado Springs Drive (Highway 170).
Please check for Trail & Area Closures.
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.
Parking - Know the Facts
It is unsafe and illegal to park in a way that:
- Blocks emergency access gate or fire lane
- Blocks pedestrian gate or driveway
- Prevents horse trailer parking
- Along any highway or a roadway where prohibited by sign
All vehicles parked in a manner described above are subject to being ticketed/towed.
Never park in the roadway.
The roadway is defined as the space between the white (fog) line and the yellow (center) line. If ANY part of your vehicle (tire, mirror) is between the white and yellow lines, your vehicle is a hazard and can be ticketed/towed immediately.
Because parking is very limited and our trailheads are quite popular, please show up early to get a parking spot.
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.
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.