Flagstaff Mountain (6,983′) via Chapman Drive | Boulder OSMP
Boulder, CO | 05/16/20 | 7.69 miles | 1,441′ gain
Back in Boulder with Tori again! (There are SO many trails in Boulder!) A few days before this hike, Tori had texted me and asked if I’d made it to the true summit of Flagstaff Mountain when I climbed it with a group a few years back. She’d read an article that said the summit parking area isn’t actually the summit, and the true summit isn’t even marked!
I checked a map and lo and behold, I didn’t actually reach the summit! (And Tori hadn’t either!) There I was (years ago), blindly following this group of people, not having any idea where I was or if I’d even summited. (I’m so glad I’ve learned some things since then!) But anyways, we really needed to remedy this situation so I found a different route to the top that would put us on some new trails (and obviously get us to the actual summit this time)!
We started from the Chapman Drive Trailhead on the west side of Flagstaff Mountain. This starts a little higher than the eastern trailheads, saving us some elevation gain. (It’s also free to park!) Chapman Drive is an easy road walk (no cars allowed) up to Realization Point. There were a lot of flowers along Chapman Drive, many of which I’d never seen before.
I don’t know much about the history of Chapman Drive, but it’s a well-built road and someone put some work into building gorgeous stone walls along certain sections. This was a surprisingly beautiful trek through shaded forest.
The views opened up as we climbed higher, following the road’s gradual switchbacks.
Soon we reached Realization Point, one of many pay-to-park areas on Flagstaff Mountain. A number of trails branch out from the trailhead and we devised a route that would traverse most of them.
We started out on the Ute Trail, following it north until we found an unofficial spur trail that led to the summit. There aren’t any signs or markers, so we kept our map handy to find the trail we needed.
The summit was pretty underwhelming but we took a snack break anyways, just happy to finally be able to say we summited!
Since our hike so far had been pretty simple, we wandered around the few summit trails and roads to add some mileage to our hike. From the Ute Trail, we moseyed through the Sensory Trail, an interpretive trail that you’re supposed to do blindfolded. (We didn’t, but this would be fun for families!) The Boy Scout Trail was closed to dogs (and I had Otis) so we followed the summit road to various overlooks. For some reason the summit road was closed to vehicles, so no one was around.
The summit road as well as a few stone buildings and the amphitheater were built by the CCC in the 1930s.
After our wanderings around the summit, we followed the Range View and then Tenderfoot Trails back to Chapman Drive and descended back to the car.