South Boulder Peak (8,549 ft) from South Mesa Trailhead, 12/16/2007

Having been snowed in last week, we were rarin' to get out this weekend. We figured South Boulder Peak would be great exercise since it's nearly 3,000 feet from trailhead to summit, and that would burn off some Christmas cookies.

At the South Mesa Trailhead it was snowy and sunny, and at nearly 40 degrees, balmy compared to the last week. The trailhead sign says it's 3.4 miles to the summit of South Boulder Peak.

Mt Meeker and Longs Peak from South
Boulder Peak summit, 12/16/07

Mt Meeker and Longs Peak from South Boulder Peak summit, 12/16/07

We started hiking at 10:56, turning left onto the Homestead Trail after crossing the bridge, and then up Shadow Canyon.

Before getting to the Shadow Canyon Trail, on the wide gravel path, we came upon a man looking into a large ponderosa pine just off the trail. We discovered he was looking at a tiny bird who was darting around on the branches apparently looking for insects. The man said it was a red-breasted nuthatch. He certainly was a cute little bird.

Getting to the summit was uneventful but slower and more time consuming than normal because of the snow on the trail. Just below the Bear Peak/South Boulder Peak Saddle the snow got significantly deeper, reaching a foot deep in places, and on average, about six inches deep.

We reached the summit at 13:07. Since it was cold and windy, we didn't stay long before heading back down. At the summit, the GPS odometer showed 2.89 miles. I expected the odometer to show less than 3.4 miles since it wasn't tracking in some parts of Shadow Canyon.

We stopped for lunch at a sunny spot off the Homestead Trail, before returning to the parking area at 15:17.

This hike is great exercise. With an elevation gain of 2,943 feet, it took us 2 hours and 11 minutes up a snowy trail to the top. The cute little tweetybird was a nice bonus.

Trail map of South Mesa Trailhead area.

GPS data
Place nameElev [ft]Accuracy [ft]Lat/Lon
South Mesa Trailhead56111739.93861/105.25779
South Boulder Peak summit85541539.95354/105.29944