I visited my childhood friend in Boulder and stayed with her for few days. From her apartment balcony, I could see beautiful flat irons. So I started looking for hiking trails, my friend suggested to do Boulder’s popular hike called “Royal Arch”.
After having yummy Indian brunch my friends and I started on this popular hike to Royal Arch around noon. As it was on Monday we could find parking near “Chautauqua Park”. There is a Ranger Cottage near the parking lot where you can get trail maps and top up your water bottle. Make sure to have lots of water. There are many hiking trails from Chautauqua Park; it is like a hub for trails in boulder.
Hike to Royal Arch starts off on the access road behind the ranger cottage. While on the access road we can enjoy the impressive views of flatirons.Wooded section of the trails starts after a short hike on the access road. Trail is well marked, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost.
When you get to the creek crossing, it is the sign for the never ending steep and brutal stairs for 1.1 miles which felt like 10 miles. I met a lady who was hiking this trail for 15th time, for her it was like a piece of cake. She even hiked this trail solo 2 days before her wedding to clear her head it seems.
Even though I kept complaining the entire uphill my inner-self knew views would be rewarding. After breathtaking steep stairs, there is a flat section with great views and comfortable stones to rest on.
Next part of the trail is downhill, there is a difficult rocky section just slide down the huge rock.
Now comes the final steep hill, Push yourself up this last section and you will be rewarded with the 20ft tall sand stone beauty. It took around 2 hours for us to get to the arch, including uncounted water and photo-shoot breaks.
We climbed onto one of the rocks below the arch, overlooking the town of Boulder. At a certain angle, you can also see the 2nd and 3rd flatirons from the arch.
After taking plenty of pictures and soaking in sun we started our descent back. If you think going up the stairs is difficult, wait till you start your journey back. Steep downhill will take a toll on your knees. With extreme caution coming down the steep hill we were able to make it back to the car in 1hour.
By the time we got back to home, Bindu made tasty Indian food with homemade Ghee (clarified butter) from India. All of us ate a lot, convincing each other we deserve it lol.
If you ask me will I do this trail again I would say yes with no delay, Every step to the Arch is totally worth the views
Here is a link to the website with trail map and parking instructions near the trail head.
Let me know your experiences on the hike.