Green Mountain, Bear Peak, South Boulder Peak Loop from NCAR, 11/16/2008

Green Mtn from Bear Peak summit, 11/16/08

Green Mtn from Bear Peak summit, 11/16/08

Elevation versus distance, 11/16/08

Elevation versus distance, 11/16/08

This is a large loop hike of 15 miles, climbing Boulder's three largest peaks, with a total elevation gain of approximately 3717 feet.

You can see the GPS tracks for this entire hike. There are some gaps, due to the GPS not tracking.

Parking at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), we started hiking at 9:48, heading west on the NCAR Trail, then north on the Mesa Trail to Chautauqua.

From Chautauqua we took the trail up to the 1st Flatiron, then west and southwest along an unofficial trail to Green Mountain's north ridge, then the Green Mtn Trail to the summit.

We reached the Green Mtn summit at 11:54, with the odometer at 5.07 miles. From the summit, we headed west on the West Ridge Trail, then south on the Green Bear Trail.

From Bear Canyon Creek, we turned right onto the Bear Peak West Ridge Trail. At that intersection the odometer showed 6.28 miles. Reaching the Bear Peak summit at 13:35, the odometer gave 8.55 miles.

From the Bear Peak summit we headed south on the Bear Peak Trail, and reached South Boulder Peak at 14:05, with the odometer at 9.37 miles.

From the South Boulder Peak summit, we returned to its saddle with Bear Peak, then headed down the Shadow Canyon Trail to the Mesa Trail.

We returned to NCAR along the Mesa Trail, getting back to our parking place at 16:48, with the odometer at 15.0 miles.

One variation that significantly shortens this three peak hike is to return along Fern Canyon instead of Shadow Canyon.

This is a great "stay in shape hike" and was particularly enjoyable with the warm sunny weather. The drawback was that the Green and Bear Peak summits were chock full of people. The South Boulder summit was empty though.

A trail map at the Boulder website shows most of this hike's route.

- Richard Hollos and Stefan Hollos

GPS data
Place nameElev [ft]Accuracy [ft]Lat/Lon
Parking at NCAR60881339.97948,-105.27455
Green Mountain summit8170739.98215,-105.30154
Green-Bear saddle72121339.97421,-105.30790
Bear Peak summit84621739.96023,-105.29517
S Boulder Pk - Bear Peak saddle81741939.95661,-105.29739
South Boulder Peak summit8559739.95357,-105.29947