Boulders Open Space and Mountain Parks Visitor Master Plan
Please read the Draft Vistor Master Plan for Boulder county's Open Space and Mountain Parks. The plan was passed in the spring of 2005 and will alter access to Green Mountain (and the other mountains in the OSMP lands... including South Boulder Peak, Bear Peak, Dinosaur Mountain, Flagstaff, and Sanitas). The plan is being phased in over a period of time, so please stay current on any new rules that may alter your visit. The main points that will affect Green Mountain are nighttime closures and off-trail ban in the area west of the summit, which was designated a Habitat Conservation Area.
Green Mountain is in the foothills of the Front Range, Rocky Mountains, Colorado. It's summit towers almost 3000 feet above the Pearl Street Mall in downtown Boulder, only 3 miles away.
Green Mountain's eastern flanks contain the legendary Flatirons, home to some of the world's most famous rock climbs. There are five actually named Flatirons, the First through Fifth Flatirons. The remainder have various names. The Flatirons are named in order, from north to south (right to left when looking at Green Mountain from Boulder). The Third Flatiron has the distiction of having a giant 'CU' painted on it in 100 foot tall letters. The letters have since been painted over, but are still visible near the top.
Besides the rock climbing, there are great hikes on Green Mountain which lead to the summit at 8144 feet. A hike to the top is rewarded with stunning views of the plains to the east and the Indian Peaks to the west. The huge flat top of Long's Peak can be seen to the north, and on clear days one may even catch a glimpse of Pike's Peak over a 100 miles south.
Green Mountain is generally reached by one of the following trailheads:
1. Chautauqua Park / Gregory Canyon TH - In Boulder, take Baseline Rd west from US36 (28th St) to Chautauqua Park. It will be on the left, immediately before the road turns into Flagstaff Road and starts ascending Flagstaff Mountain. *Note*: Cars with plates NOT registered in Boulder County must pay a $3 daily ($15 annual) fee to park at the Gregory Canyon TH (and anywhere along Flagstaff Road). See Parking Info for more info.
2. NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) - NCAR Mesa. To reach NCAR from Boulder, take US 36 (28th St) to Table Mesa Dr (South Boulder Rd/Table Mesa Exit). Go east on Table Mesa, cross Broadway and continue uphill to NCAR. Parking here is free for all cars.
For the most part, there is no red tape. Some things to note:
1. Parking at Gregory Canyon TH or along Flagstaff Rd require a $3 daily parking permit for cars registered outside of Boulder County.
2. There are bears and mountain lions in the area, but for the most part never pose a problem. A mountain lion did follow a 54 year old male runner in Bear Canyon in 1999, but he was not attacked or injured.
3. Seasonal Climbing Closures - Boulder County closes some areas to rock climbing and occasionally hiking from Feb 1 - July 31 each year. Seasonal closures can be found here: Seasonal Wildlife Closures
4. Dogs - dogs must be leashed or under "voice and sight control" at all times.
Green Mountain can be climbed year-round. The upper trails are often icy though, even when things are warm and dry in Boulder. Instep crampons (like the kind runners use) may be useful for icy conditions.
Camping isn't allowed in the Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, but this is usually a short day hike, so it shouldn't be an issue. Nearest campgrounds are Kelly Dahl on the Peak to Peak Highway, a few miles south of Nederland, and Golden Gate Canyon State Park, which can be accessed from Coal Creek Canyon (Hwy 72) south of Boulder. Camping is also available near and in Rocky Mountain National Park, northwest of Boulder about an hour.
For more information call Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks at (303) 441-3440, or visit them online at www.osmp.org
The climbs of the Flatirons are world famous. There are hundreds, if not thousands of routes on the slabby crags dotting the eastern flanks of Bear Mountain and Green Mountain. Covering all, or even a fraction of these would be a daunting task. Instead, if interested in rock climbing on the Flatirons, please utilize the following resources: