page contents

Boy Scout, Range view and Ute Trails at Flagstaff Summit (G.2)

Description: Hiking on Flagstaff Summit is a treat because you not only get great views of Boulder and the plains, you also get a good look at the Front Range along the way.  The surfaces of the three trails in this loop are fairly smooth, although there are some steep-ish rock and wooden steps thrown in at times.  Lots of shade of pine with needles covering the trails.  Overall, these trails give you the feeling you are on a well-constructed, old trail system a long way from civilization, even though you are never more than a 1/2 mile from the Flagstaff picnic and parking area.  This hike is technically a double-loop as the trails intersect at one point, and so can be hiked many different ways. We feel the easiest 'loop' is Boy Scout, down Range View, then back up Ute.  This is a great hike to couple with a picnic up on the summit.  There a plenty of great spots to stake out your claim and relax after your hike.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy (G.2), 2.3 Miles, 400' Elevation, 1.5 Hours.  I was expecting this hike to be a very easy G.1, but was surprised a bit by how up and down Boy Scout is, and the steepness of some sections of Range View.  It's a short 2.3 miles but we decided on a G.2 just to be on the conservative side.  We met a couple from PA along the trail and they felt it was a little tough considering the 6850' starting altitude.  There's only a delta of 100' of elevation (6750'-6850') but the up and down makes it right at 400' of total climbing.  Between that, the steps and the couple of step descents it really does earn the G.2 challenge rating.

Driving Directions: Flagstaff Summit Picnic Area.  About 15 minutes from downtown Boulder.  Head south to Baseline Rd.  Turn west.  Baseline turns into Flagstaff after Chautauqua Park and the road starts a steep climb.  About 3 miles from Chautauqua you will come to Realization Point.  Turn right onto Flagstaff Summit Rd and drive until you see the picnic areas.  There are lots of cyclists who climb Flagstaff Rd so please be careful and obey the 20 mph speed limit.  Google Map directions here...

Parking: When you reach the picnic area you can turn left to Artist Point or stay to the right toward the amphitheater.  If you brought a picnic you might want to go left and find a good spot, but the Boy Scout trailhead is at the first row of parking toward the amphitheater across from the nature center.  $5 fee for non-Boulder registered vehicles.

Trailhead (Option 1): You will see the trail marker board for Boy Scout just as you enter the one-way loop toward the amphitheater.  This is the option this guide describes.

Trailhead (Option 2):  Boy Scout meets up with Range View at the restrooms on Artist Point Rd.  You can eliminate Boy Scout and 0.7 miles of this hike by starting and returning here at the end of Ute Trail.

Click image for Google Maps detail

Click image for Google Maps detail

Trail Guide: To the right of the trails marker board you will see a short connector trail that meets up with the Habitat Conservation post telling you dogs are not permitted on Boy Scout.  Turn left here heading downhill.  After 0.5 miles you will intercept a point trail that has some nice views.  Take it out and back if you like, but then proceed left staying on Boy Scout.  At 0.7 miles you will make a climb and end up at the restrooms on Artist Point Rd.  Turn right at the restrooms and head back down on the connector trail that will take you at 0.9 miles to the Ute, Flagstaff and Range View trails crossroad.  Note the sign post that indicates you stay right here for Range View.  Basically, you will enter from the right and will stay to the right of the two posts.  Easy enough!  Range View is primarily downhill through a set of switchbacks and offering some nice views of the Front Range.  At 1.5 miles you will come to a picnic table, trail board and parking area.  If you have hiked either the Tenderfoot or Ranger Greenman routes in this guide you will recognize this as the Realization Point parking area.  Just to the right of the trail board you will see the post for Ute trail and your route back up to the summit.  As you head up, before you get back to the crossroads you entered before there will be a couple of spur trails.  Just stay right on the main path.  When you've covered 2.0 miles you will find yourself back at the crossroads of Ute, Range View, and Flagstaff.  Here stay to the right of the two sign posts, veering slightly right and uphill.  Do not take the hard right hand trail as this will put you on Flagstaff Trail and take you down the mountain!  You will know you are on the right trail as soon you will come to the Sensory Trail, a small nature loop with a story to tell.  Worth the time but then continue up to the large wooden picnic shelter on Ute when done.  From the shelter to return to the Boy Scout trailhead and your car, stay on the road down to the intersection where you will see your parking area just past the Flagstaff Summit sign.  (Note: If you chose Trailhead Option 2 above, at the wooden picnic shelter you turn left on Artist Point Rd and will be back at the restrooms and trailhead in short order.)

Map Resources: EveryTrail MapBoulder Open Space Map

Après Hike: Because this hike is made up of three trails, and because I really couldn't come up with anything more clever, I recommend the wonderful and not too hoppy Third Kingdom IPA at West Flanders Brewery.  West Flanders is located on the Pearl Street Mall between 11th and Broadway.  They compliment their wonderful, primarily Belgian craft beer selection with a great food menu and fantastic people watching from the patio on Pearl.  And, even better, they offer a $4 beer flight that is hard to beat on value and taste.

Picknicking:  Probably the best place for a picnic in Boulder.  Shelters are available if the weather changes.

Restrooms: Yes.

Dog Friendly: Dogs are prohibited on Boy Scout, but permitted on Rangeview and Ute.  If you brought your furry friend, use Trailhead Option 2.

Cell Sevice: Lots.