Boulder – Hogback Ridge Loop and Nearby Options

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.

Starting Out

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.

Hiking Clockwise

Turning left, you start up the hill at a moderate incline.

Hogback Ridge Loop

The grasses are beautiful at this time of year, sweeping in the wind.

Hogback Ridge Loop

As you climb up, you start to get a better perspective of the Boulder mountains.

Hogback Ridge Loop

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 –

Hogback Ridge summit

This is what the trail looks like from the rocks –

Hogback Ridge summit

The rocky summit –

Hogback Ridge summit

The view from the summit looks out at Boulder Reservoir –

Hogback Ridge summit views

And if you look south, you can see the City of Boulder –

Hogback Ridge summit views

Heading Back Down

From the summit, the descent is relatively easy.

Hogback Ridge Loop

You walk by some pine trees, but mostly through grassy fields.

Hogback Ridge Loop

And as the trail turns around the hill and back to the parking area, you start to see Boulder again –

Hogback Ridge Loop

As well as the Boulder mountains –

Hogback Ridge Loop

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.

North Foothills map

There are 3 main options for elongating a Hogback Ridge hike –

  1. Connecting it with Foothills Community Park, along Foothills North Trail, Foothills South Trail, and either Old Kiln Trail or Wonderland Hill/Wonderland Lake
  2. Connecting it with the Foothills Bench Trail for a 6 mile hike (for some reason this trail is not displayed on the map above)
  3. 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 South 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 –

Foothills North Trail

The view on the trail, close to connecting with Hogback Ridge Loop –

Foothills North Trail

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.

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