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Canyon Loop At Betasso Preserve (G.1 to G.2)

Description: Betasso Preserve is a gem in the line-up of trails from the Boulder County Park System, located up Boulder Canyon and Sugarloaf Roads.  There are actually three primary trails at Betasso, making up a sort of dumbbell configuration with two loops and a connector trail between them.  This hike is focused on only the Canyon Loop trail, a 3.5 mile loop interspersed with nice benches for resting and great views of the Four Mile Canyon area.  It is considered one of the prettiest and well maintained trails in Boulder County.

Special Note For Betasso Hikers:  Betasso is also a favorite trail for mountain bikers.  While I am an avid mountain biker I understand the concern some hikers may have about possibly encountering a fast moving bike on the trail.  Betasso shares hikers' concerns and prohibits biking at Betasso on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  I highly recommend planning your hike at Betasso for one of these days.  Betasso also designates the direction bikes must travel.  If you hike on any of the days the trail is shared with bikes I would strongly suggest hiking in the opposite direction as bikers.

Difficulty: Easy (G.1-G.2), 3.5 Miles, 480' Elevation, 1.5-2 Hours.  G.1 when hiked clockwise, as described here, G.2 if hiked counter-clockwise due to the steeper and longer ascent in this direction.  Very nice trail surfaces with just a few short rocky spots.

Driving Directions: 375 Betasso Rd Boulder, CO 80302.  15 minutes from downtown Boulder.  Head west on Canyon Rd from Broadway approximately 5 miles.  Turn right on Surgarloaf Rd and climb for 0.9 miles.  Turn right on Betasso Rd.  The park entrance will be about 1/4 mile up on the left.  Google Map directions here...

Parking and Trailhead: There are two parking areas in Betasso with overflow parking further down Betasso Rd.  The first parking area leads to the main trailhead listed in this hike.  If you have to park in the second, upper parking area, you can walk back to the main parking area and trailhead or there is a short connector trail to Canyon loop.  The trailhead is located at the large map and information board, next to the picnic shelter and restrooms.  

Click image for Goole Map detail

Click image for Goole Map detail

Trail Guide: This is a very straightforward and easy trail to navigate, just follow the well-marked posts for Canyon Loop at any intersection.  Hike Canyon Loop clockwise heading straight, up the slight hill and veering left.  This will make the return climb less rigorous.  There are only two trail intersection on Canyon Loop.  The first is at 1.3 miles, which is the connector trail to Bejamin Loop.  If you wish to hike both loops the connector trail and Benjamin Loop will add another hilly 3.1 miles to this hike.  But, if you are concerned about that descent you just made, continue on Canyon Loop.  What goes down, must go up!  The second intersection is near the end of hike at the 3.3 mile marker, next to a picnic and grill area.  This is the connector to the secondary parking area.  Stay right here, again following the postings for Canyon Loop.  At 3.5 miles you will return to the trailhead.

Map Resources: EveryTrail Map, Boulder County (Betasso Preserve) Map

Après Hike:  In honor of all the wildflowers that grow in the meadows of Betasso I would have to recommend a cold pint of Wild Woods Brewery's Wildflower Pale Ale.  Wild Woods is one of the newer micros in Boulder and they are certainly making a splash with their beers.  I highly advise you to try one of their samplers as I generally can't decide which of their craft beers I favor the most!  They are located at 5460 Conestoga Ct., Boulder, CO  80301.

Picknicking:  At the main trailhead there is a very large and nice picnic shelter with restrooms close by.  There is another picnic table in the secondary parking area and just down its connector trail to Canyon Loop.

Restrooms: Yes.

Dog Friendly: Yes.

Cell Sevice: Spotty.