Flagstaff Mountain & Summit Nature Center

#8 in Best Things To Do in Boulder
 picture
James Hayes/Getty Images

Key Info

Flagstaff Summit Road

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

Free, Hiking, Recreation Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

If you're looking for a hike the whole family can enjoy, aim for the top of Flagstaff Mountain. Rising out of Boulder Mountain Park, Flagstaff Mountain sits about 5 miles southwest of the city. If you're a novice trailblazer, you may find this mountain challenging due its altitude of nearly 7,000 feet. But there are numerous paths to choose from that span a variety of difficulty levels, and kids will enjoy what awaits them at the top of the mountain. Sitting on Flagstaff's summit, the nature center offers interactive exhibits, games and activities that teach children about the area's geography and wildlife. Flagstaff's peak also boasts numerous picnic areas and viewpoints. As for the romantics, the family-owned Flagstaff House Restaurant serves locally praised cuisine with beautiful vistas.

Recent visitors raved about the stunning views, adding that this is a must-do when in Boulder. If you aren't up for a several-mile uphill hike, you can drive to the summit by following Flagstaff Road (accessible May through October), but previous road-trippers warn that tight turns and steep passes can turn a car ride into an adrenaline rush. 

You can hike Flagstaff Mountain at any time of year, though spring, summer and fall offer the best conditions and fewer trail closures. Meanwhile, the nature center welcomes visitors from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays between May and September. You do not have to pay to access the trails, the picnic facilities or the nature center, but you do need to pay $5 to park. For more information about Flagstaff Mountain, visit the City of Boulder's official website.

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These jaw-dropping rock walls flanking Green Mountain have become the symbol of the city, with many Boulder businesses sporting their image as a logo. Flatirons One through Five are the most prominent, but there are also several smaller formations  with more creative names  to explore. Altogether, these picturesque slopes are the most popular rock climbing areas around (you can even see markings left by some of the first climbers, dating back to the 1940s, on Number Three). But for those of you who aren't quite comfortable entrusting your life to a harness, you can still take in the Flatirons from one of the area's hiking trails – recent visitors said there's a trail for every age and skill level. For information about Flatiron trails, visit the City of Boulder website.

Previous visitors say that no trip to Boulder would be complete without spending time admiring the rocks. But if you plan on hiking, travelers recommend coming prepared: The trails can be steep in places, not to mention slippery. And don't forget your camera – reviewers said you'll want to capture the stunning views.

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