McClintock - Enchanted Mesa Loop, Chautauqua Park Trailhead, Boulder - Denver - Golden - Fort Collins - Lyons, Colorado

McClintock - Enchanted Mesa Loop - 2.05 miles

Chautauqua Park Trailhead

Boulder's Flatirons from the McClintock Trail

Boulder's Flatirons from the McClintock Trail

Round-Trip Length: 2.05 miles
Start-End Elevation: 5,748' - 5,748' (6,142' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +394' net elevation gain (+437' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Easy
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

McClintock - Enchanted Mesa Loop - 2.05 Miles Round-Trip

A short piece of the Mesa Trail joins the McClintock and Enchanted Mesa trails to form a 2.05 mile loop through the foothills of Chautauqua Park. This versatile course enjoys mild grades well-suited for families, runners and winter recreation.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

Connections with the Mesa, Woods Quarry and Kohler Mesa trails enable longer routes through the Chautauqua Park trail system.

The McClintock Trailhead is located next to the picnic pavilion behind the Amphitheater in Chautauqua Park. The trail begins on a wide path beside Bluebell Creek, a narrow riparian corridor lined with cottonwood, willow, apple and plum. Open spaces support bluebell, sunflower, horsemint and thistle.

In .2 miles you'll reach the Enchanted Mesa - McClintock Trail junction to begin the loop. The following description continues on the McClintock Trail and travels counter-clockwise:

Bear right on the McClintock Trail, which narrows considerably and rises quickly with terrific views of the Flatirons, Sanitas Valley and downtown Boulder. A final steep push leads to the Mesa Trail junction (.65 miles : 6,045'); turn left on the Mesa Trail for a gradual climb through uniform ponderosa stands to the Enchanted Mesa Trail junction (.85 miles : 6,142').

The Enchanted Mesa Trail curls northeast on a wide service road, gliding gently downhill through intervals of timber and meadow to complete the loop. En route you'll enjoy good views back south of Bear Peak (8,461') and across the Eastern Plains.

Ignore unmarked spurs leading off-trail, which have been created solely for forest management activities and are not open to the public. You'll reach the beginning of the loop (1.85 miles : 5,790') and retrace your steps back to the trailhead (2.05 miles : 5,748').

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N39 59.829 W105 16.817 — McClintock Trailhead
  • N39 59.697 W105 16.896 — .2 miles : McClintock Trail - Enchanted Mesa Trail split
  • N39 59.420 W105 17.169 — .65 miles : McClintock - Mesa Trail split
  • N39 59.252 W105 17.132 — .85 miles : Mesa Trail - Enchanted Mesa Trail split
  • N39 59.317 W105 16.940 — 1.05 miles : Enchanted Mesa - Kohler Mesa Trail split
  • N39 59.697 W105 16.896 — 1.85 miles : McClintock - Enchanted Mesa Trail split
  • N39 59.829 W105 16.817 — 2.05 miles : McClintock Trailhead

Worth Noting

  • The Bluebell Creek corridor's rich food supply attracts wildlife, most notably bears. Though seldom encountered, be mindful of bear activity in this area, especially at dawn and dusk.

  • Fires are crucial to the long term health of ponderosa pine ecosystems. Naturally occurring, low intensity fires clear space for mature trees, keep densities in check and rejuvenate soils. Fire suppression along Colorado's Front Range since the1880s has inadvertently led to unsustainable forest densities that can result in destructive, high intensity fires. Current management programs in the Enchanted Mesa Trail vicinity are underway to restore natural conditions through selective thinning and prescribed burns.

  • The McClintock Trail is named for Henry H. McClintock, a board member of Chautauqua Park and whose family donated money for interpretive signs along the trail.

  • Near the end of the Enchanted Mesa Trail there is a large flat 'roof' structure on the left hand side. This is a covered reservoir maintained by the City of Boulder.

Rules and Regulations

  • Dogs are not permitted on the McClintock Trail south of the Enchanted Mesa Trail junction.

Directions to Trailhead

The trail begins at the McClintock Trailhead in Chautauqua Park. The McClintock Trailhead is located behind the Chautauqua Park Amphitheatre beside the picnic pavillion. There is a small parking area (for Staff) and trailhead sign here for both the McClintock and Enchanted Mesa Trails.

From Boulder, take Baseline Road west towards the Flatirons. As you pass 9th Street, look for Chautauqua Park on your left. Turn left into the parking lot and park anywhere you can. It is a short walk south past the Chautauqua Dining Hall and Auditorium to the McClintock Trailhead.

Contact Information

City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks
Phone: 303.441.3440

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


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