Royal Arch Trail in Boulder, Colorado is a hike we had been wanting to do for awhile. Having just hiked the Flatirons Loop Trail the day before, we were even more excited to hike to Royal Arch. We hiked it in September of 2020.
To access Royal Arch Trail in Boulder, Colorado you will need to park at Chautauqua Park. You can access Royal Arch a couple of ways. We did an out and back trail. You can also do this as a combined loop trail and out and back. To follow the trail out and back, you will start at the Chautauqua Park Trailhead and turn left onto Bluebell Road. From here you will continue on the Flatirons Loop Trail just after the restrooms. Continue on this trail until you come across the sign for Royal Arch Trail.
Royal Arch Hike
We arrived at Chautauqua Park early in the morning and found a parking spot close to the trailhead. It was 9:00 and there was a chill in the air, but we warmed up before long. There were not just clouds in the sky, but it was smokey from the several wild fires in the state. We had just hiked a portion of this trail the afternoon before so we knew where we were going. Find the Chautauqua Trailhead behind the ranger station. Chautauqua Point is just beyond here. Chautauqua Point will give you a great view of the Flatirons.
At Chautauqua Point, follow Bluebell Road to the left. This is a very easy part of the trail with nice views of the Flatirons and you will also pass the historic area of Chautauqua. You will come across the Bluebell picnic area and also restrooms and shortly after there continue on the Flatirons Loop Trail.
Flatirons Loop Trail
The trail starts to climb more and is a bit more rocky but still very doable. You will follow the Loop Trail until you come across the sign pointing the way to Royal Arch Loop.
Once on Royal Arch Trail you will notice a change in terrain and path. Although doable, the path becomes more steep and rocky. At times the rocks are large and you will also almost be scrambling up them. I would probably not attempt this trail if you have ankle or knee problems as it is not easy hiking. Regardless, it is a fun trail and there are good views of Boulder below. Do note though, the trail is rated as difficult.
Royal Arch almost sneaks up on you. One minute you are climbing up and suddenly, there it is! For as few people that were on the trail, there were more people than I expected here. The arch was pretty amazing and the views were also great.
Back to the Trailhead
After spending about a half an hour at Royal Arch we went back down the trail the same way we came up. Many more people were hiking the trail at this time so we were glad we had went early. We clocked this hike on our fit bit at 4.5 miles round trip from where we were parked. It took us 3 hours and 25 minutes.
I would definitely recommend this trail if you like a bit of adventure. It also is a great cardiovascular hike and a good leg day workout. We enjoyed exploring Royal Arch Trail and it is also one of our favorites near Boulder, Colorado.