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Homestead (G.2)

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 and 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.

Difficulty: Easy (G.2), 3.1 Miles, 520' Elevation Gain, 1.5 Hours.  This hike falls into the middle of the easy classification 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 easily 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 can still be easily navigated.  It also did much damage to Towhee Trail and left it with a long section of rocky, steps near the end that some may find hard on the ankles.  However, you can just stay on Mesa's broad path heading downhill toward the horse farm and Dunn House for a smoother return to the trailhead.

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.

Click image for Google Maps detail

Click image for Google Maps detail

Trail Guide:  From the trailhead head across the two bridges that span South Boulder Creek.  Look for the connector link to the Homestead trail near the old stone Dunn House after 0.2 miles.  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.  At the 1.9 mile point connect to Towhee on the right, a rugged single track cutoff which will interconnect again with Mesa closer to the trailhead.  Towhee is the trail mapped in this loop, but it is rocky single track that was affected somewhat by the 2013 flooding.  If you would prefer, you can stay on the smoother, wider, albeit slightly longer Mesa to the trailhead, just stay to the right on Mesa if you come to any intersections, heading downhill toward the horse farm and the trailhead.  If you take Towhee, it will eventually merge again with Mesa.  Turn right to get back to the trailhead at 3.1 miles.

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.