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Mount Sanitas: 3 routes to an iconic Boulder peak

Updated: Jan 13

Mount Sanitas Summit in Boulder, Colorado

Located right outside Boulder, Mount Sanitas has everything you could want on a convenient hike. It’s a bit of a challenge, it’s got solid views, and if you’re lucky, maybe some wild life (but definitely a dog or twenty). This peak has three potential routes to the top, making it a hike you'll want to revisit time and time again.


Trail Info

3 routes to Mount Sanitas in Boulder Colorado

Know before you go

  • This is a very popular hike. Both Mount Sanitas and the Flatirons see a ton of traffic because of their proximity to Boulder. Consider going during the week or early in the day to avoid crowds.

  • Parking lots can fill up but you may be able to find street parking. If you are hiking on a weekend, you will need to get there early to secure a spot.

  • This is trail is open year-round, but there may be some snow/ice on the trail during the winter. Keep an eye on the weather preceding your hike, and have a pair of spikes in your bag if you are going during the colder times of year.

Which route should I choose?

Outside of the distance, elevation gain, and dog friendliness of each route, the following are things to consider:

  • Sanitas Ridge to Sanitas Valley Loop is the "classic route." This will allow you to do the steeper section of trail going up and have a more gradual route down.

  • Lion's Lair is the least steep and has the best footing. Sanitas Ridge and East Ridge both have some minor scrambling and larger rocks that make footing uneven, whereas Lion's Lair is a pleasant forested trail with switchbacks to get you to the summit. It also has the least amount of elevation gain.

  • Sanitas Valley/East Ridge have additional access points which can make for a shorter hike. You can quickly see on a map how to access the trail from these alternate locations. You will be parking in residential areas for these access points, so pay attention to all street parking signs and restrictions.


Sanitas Ridge

Sanitas Ridge to Mount Sanitas in Boulder, Colorado

After (hopefully) getting a spot in the Centennial Lot, you will cross the highway and arrive at your first junction. This is the split where you can decide whether to head up Sanitas Ridge or Sanitas Valley.

Sanitas Ridge to Mount Sanitas in Boulder, Colorado

Sanitas Ridge has some big "stairs" you have to contend with. This moderate grade will get your heart pumping in no time.

Sanitas Ridge to Mount Sanitas in Boulder, Colorado

There are many vantage points to take breaks and soak in the area. The path we can see is one of the other routes, the Sanitas Valley trail.

Sanitas Ridge to Mount Sanitas in Boulder, Colorado

One of the highlights of Sanitas Ridge is that it's fairly open and has great views on the way up. Looking back we can see the Flatirons, home to some other popular Boulder hikes and climb.

Sanitas Ridge to Mount Sanitas in Boulder, Colorado

You will also get some views looking towards the Front Range. On clear days, you can see many prominent and snow covered peaks topping twelve or thirteen thousand feet.

Sanitas Ridge to Mount Sanitas in Boulder, Colorado

The final push to Mount Sanitas summit. Find those views below.

Sanitas Valley / East Ridge

Lion's Lair

The Summit


SS Hot Takes

I love hikes that offer a "choose your own adventure" experience. So naturally, Mount Sanitas has become a fun go-to for me whenever I’m in the area. Sure, it’s not those crazy alpine views you get from hiking a fourteener, and there’s zero chance you will be up there alone, but when it’s this convenient and still has splendid views, what’s not to like?

Other Helpful Resources



DISCLAIMER: This website is for entertainment purposes only. The web designer and contributors are not liable for any injuries, accidents, or damages resulting from the use of information provided. Trail data, including trail statistics such as mileage and difficulty ratings, are provided as estimates based on the best available data at the time of publication and may not be 100% accurate. Conditions on trails can change; users should verify information with local authorities or  other reliable sources before embarking on any hiking or outdoor adventure. Hiking is a high-risk activity; individuals should know their limits, take precautions, and prioritize safety. By using this site, you acknowledge and accept these risks; the web designer and contributors are not legally responsible for any consequences.

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