Hiking Hogback Ridge Loop
Hogback Ridge Loop is a great option in North Boulder for a short hike. It’s short enough that you can go for a quick hike after work to see the sunset, and is connected with several trails, providing a number of options for adding mileage to your hike.
From the parking spot at the edge of Denver Street, you keep hiking straight until you reach the second fork.
Which Way to Go Around?
The trail is a bit easier if you turn right and go around the Hogback Ridge Loop counter-clockwise. HikingProject recommends going counter-clockwise. If you veer left and go around clockwise, there are some steep steps.
I’ve been both ways – counter-clockwise in April, and clockwise in May. I must say, I prefer the counter-clockwise course because it is a bit more gentle, but I’ll share with you the pictures from my most recent hike in May.
Turning left, you start up the hill at a moderate incline.
The grasses are beautiful at this time of year, sweeping in the wind.
As you climb up, you start to get a better perspective of the Boulder mountains.
About half a mile along the trail, it starts to get steep and remains steep for most of the rest of the climb to the summit.
Hogback Ridge Summit
At about 1.2 miles in, you reach the summit. The summit is a flat area at the top of the hill that stretches for 0.2 miles. Most of the summit is covered in rocks, and there are some shady areas under the pine trees where you can rest.
I stopped in this refreshing spot for a bite to eat –
This is what the trail looks like from the rocks –
The rocky summit –
The view from the summit looks out at Boulder Reservoir –
And if you look south, you can see the City of Boulder –
Heading Back Down
From the summit, the descent is relatively easy.
You walk by some pine trees, but mostly through grassy fields.
And as the trail turns around the hill and back to the parking area, you start to see Boulder again –
As well as the Boulder mountains –
Recommended as a Short Hike
If you don’t have a lot of time for a hike, but would like to get a bit of a workout for an hour, Hogback Ridge Loop is a great option for a hike. More secluded than the trails in South Boulder, you get solitude along with lovely scenery and views.
Options for Connecting Hogback Ridge with Nearby Trails
Hogback Ridge Loop is connected with a number of trails in the area.
There are 3 main options for elongating a Hogback Ridge hike –
- Connecting it with Foothills Community Park, along Foothills North Trail, Foothills South Trail, and either Old Kiln Trail or Wonderland Hill/Wonderland Lake
- Connecting it with the Foothills Bench Trail for a 6 mile hike (for some reason this trail is not displayed on the map above)
- Connecting it with Foothills North Trail, crossing the road, and going to any number of the trails at Boulder Valley Ranch
Hogback Ridge Loop & Foothills Community Park
Following the idea of option 1, in May I did hike from Foothills Community Park, along Foothills South Trail and Foothills North Trail, connecting with Hogback Ridge Loop, and heading back the way I came. This added a good extra 2 miles to the hike.
Foothills South Trail
Foothills South Trail is mainly flat and wide, with a grey sandy trail. It’s a popular area for hikers, runners, and bikers. The views looking at the Boulder mountains, including the Flatirons, are lovely. You can also find many wildflowers along this trail.
Foothills North Trail
The main purpose of Foothills North Trail seems to be to connect trails. The trail itself is not that interesting, and most of the time you are walking next to a residential area. However, if you look out to the hills, it looks like this –
The view on the trail, close to connecting with Hogback Ridge Loop –
Recommended as an Easy Hike
Adding the Foothills South and North Trails doubles the mileage of a hike to Hogback Ridge and provides a bit more diversity of views, including closer views of the famous Boulder mountains to the south. I would add these trails if you are looking to get a bit more exercise with your outing.