On the trail: The not-so Flatirons | AspenTimes.com

On the trail: The not-so Flatirons

Ryan Slabaugh
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

BOULDER, Colo. – When I booked a quick getaway last weekend, I was expecting our usual snowstorm-filled March along with its companion, the late-winter duldrums that arrive every year and turn me into a man who curses at snow shovels. But not this year, of course, the one year I actually do something about it. Nope. Instead, it was in the 60s as I drove down the hill to meet friends and get in a quick dose of summer.

In Boulder, we woke up Saturday to 60 degrees – at 8 a.m. – and quickly made our way down to the Fallen Arch trailhead near the Flatirons. There are two ways to access the trail – one for locals, one for visitors – and so if you come across a very crowded parking lot like we did, I have some advice.

Using a bit of mountain intuition, we headed past the lot and into the nearby neighborhood, where we climbed a hill and found a smaller, less-decorated trail access point. There, we parked and got to the trail ahead of a dozen or so others, where we made our way in an hour or so up to the Fallen Arch, a pile of big rocks that can be climbed and used for a nice midmorning break.

From the Fallen Arch, as the crowds continued to fill the trail, we decided to hike it back. We met a slew of friendly local trail users, who ranged from a group of ladies in the 60s to a long parade of college kids who, apparently, had not been partying the night before. Of all the things we discovered on the trail, perhaps this was the most surprising.

Once we got back to our car, we realized the hike had been successful. An easy-to-access jaunt up to a fairly tall ridgeline overlooking Boulder was the goal, and the Fallen Arch trail easily passed our expectations. The path was rocky but manageable, and as I mentioned before, the people on the trail were as pleasant as you can hope – if you have to deal with people on the trail.


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