Route: Boulder Skyline Traverse (CO)

Submitted by Jacquie Mannhard on Sun, 05/03/2020 - 03:07pm
Colorado, US
17.3 mi
Vertical Gain
5,600 ft

This route lets you see everything that Boulder has to offer for mountain running by traversing the five mountains of Boulder's skyline: South Boulder Peak, Bear Peak, Green Mountain, Flagstaff Mountain, and Mt. Sanitas.  It's classic and competitive, so for FKT purposes, this is the exact route:

  • South Start/Finish: South Mesa TH, first bridge over the canal (not from edge of parking lot)
  • Mesa Trail/Towhee Trail
  • Shadow Canyon Trail
  • South Boulder Peak
  • SoBo to Bear Peak Connector
  • Bear Peak
  • Bear Peak West Ridge Trail
  • Green Bear Trail
  • Green Mountain West Ridge out/back 
  • Green Mountain
  • Ranger Trail
  • Ute Trail (just missing Flagstaffs actual summit)
  • Flagstaff Trail to Panorama Pt
  • Panorama Viewpoint Trail to Eben G Fine Park
  • Red Rocks Trail to Centennial TH
  • Mt Sanitas Trail
  • Mount Sanitas
  • East Ridge Trail
  • Sanitas Valley Trail
  • North Finish/Start: bridge over creek at picnic shelter on Mapleton Ave

This can be run in either direction; we currently don't keep track of separate directional FKTs.  For the "Double", start at either end and run the complete traverse all the way to the opposite TH, then back (i.e. you must retrace your steps from whatever TH you turn around at, thus summiting each peak twice. Since this was not clear, some current FKTs reflect alternative routes to this, but as of 5/1/22, this will be the standard). 

GPS Track


Skyline Traverse is such a classic route - nice to see it on!  Although I'm wondering why the route doesn't go to the true summit of Flagstaff?  I realize it's just a short detour from the route as given, and there is no official trail, but it seems like the route should include the real summit.

I also wonder how we should view historical efforts (such as this: given that the route between Bear and Green has undergone multiple changes over the years (elevation gain is the same, but it's now about 1.3 miles longer).

It simply isn't traditional to tag the actual top of Flag. Also, being off trail it's out of character with the rest of the route.

Anyone aware of any times for the Out and Back that might not be posted here?

couple of semantic questions:

  • If heading north-to-south, does the official route go Sanitas Valley -> East Ridge -> Mount Sanitas Trail (South Ridge)? Or is it acceptable to go the opposite direction for that loop?
  • If doing an out-and-back, should Sanitas be completed twice? I noticed a couple of the out-and-back records only include one Sanitas lap, while others did it twice.