Description: During the months of May and June, Homestead can be one of the best hikes in the Boulder area.  Wildflowers abound along the last mile of Homestead before it meets up with Mesa Trail and begins the journey back down to the trailhead.  Bluebells are in abundance along with many other colorful flowers that blanket the meadows.  With great views of Devil's Thumb and the Flatirons, Homestead Trail is a comfortable hike even novice hikers should be able to enjoy.  It is always one of my go to hikes for visitors who have experienced the easier hikes around Chautauqua and Flagstaff Mountain, as it offers a change of scenery with more open meadows under the watchful gaze of Bear Mountain.  For those who would like to enjoy Homestead for a longer, more challenging hike, check out the Shadow Canyon hike on this website.

Challenge Level: Moderately Easy, 3.2 Miles, 520' Elevation Gain, 1.5 Hours.  This hike falls into the middle of the easy hikes due to the elevation gain being over 500'.  The trails are open and steps gentle, so there is really nothing that the new visitor to Boulder should not be able to accomplish.  In the summer, the exposure to sun can make this trail hot, so be sure to take plenty of water and apply ample sunscreen.  The 2013 flooding left Mesa Trail with a significant washout down the middle, but as of 2018 it has been repaired and is a beautiful, wide, well-constructed trail.  In fact all the trails on this hike have been greatly improved to remove significant damage from the 2013 floods.

Homestead to Towhee elevation profile

Driving Directions: 4111 Eldorado Springs Dr, Boulder, CO 80303.  Fifteen minutes from downtown Boulder.  Take Broadway (CO 93) south from Canyon Rd toward Golden. At 5.2 miles turn right at the traffic light onto Edorado Springs Dr. heading west toward Eldorado Springs and Eldorado Canyon State Park.  After 1.7 miles you will find the South Mesa parking area on the right.  Google Map directions here...

Parking and Trailhead: South Mesa Parking Area. There are plenty of spaces here and across the street at the Dowdy Draw trailhead, but it can still get crowded in the summer and on weekends.  $5 fee for non-Boulder registered vehicles.  The trailhead starts at the parking lot on the wide avenue of Mesa Trail.

Trail Guide:  From the trailhead head across the two bridges on Mesa Trail that span South Boulder Creek. As of late 2017 the entrance to Homestead Trail has been moved from next to the old stone Dunn House and relocated farther up the new and improved Mesa Trail.  Look for the trailhead on the left about .2 miles past the Dunn House.  Follow the Homestead trail to where it intersects with Mesa Trail at 1.7 miles.  At the junction of Mesa Trail turn right and follow Mesa downhill.  Look for the entrance to Towhee on the right not long after you start down Mesa.  (Note: if you have a dog along, you will not be able to use Towhee.  Just continue on down Mesa to return to the parking lot, staying on the wide trail.)  Towhee is a somewhat rugged single track cutoff which, after winding down through Shadow Canyon, interconnects again with Mesa.  A right turn on Mesa will take you downhill, past the entrance to Homestead and back to the parking lot. 

Map Resources: EveryTrail MapBoulder Open Space Map

Après Hike: Since you are in south Boulder, Southern Sun is a must.  Part of Mountain Sun brewery, they offer some of the best craft brew in the Front Range and have a great menu of burgers and such to compliment.  Their Colorado Kind Ale, a Rocky Mountain hoppy amber along with the S.O.B Burger are well-deserved after a workout on this trail.

Picnicking: At trailhead.

Restrooms:  Also at trailhead.

Dog Friendly: Yes, except on Towhee.

Cell Service: Good coverage in most places.