Mountain Hiking

by Harold Sears

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Why Hike?

In and Around
Boulder, Colorado

Front Range and East

Central Foothills

Back Range and
Indian Peaks

Rocky Mt. Natl. Park

Rocky Mt. Natl. Park

Farther Afield

Back East
In the Carolinas

Happy Highways

Pella Crossing

Pella Crossing is a low area adjacent to St. Vrain Creek just west of Longmont. There is marsh, several big ponds, and creeks and irrigation ditches. And maybe five miles of trails wind among all this water.

I visited on a cold, snowy January 1, hoping to burn off just a little of my holiday weight gain. The area was bright, white, and icy. I crossed the Zweck and Turner Ditch and walked west along the margin of Sunset Pond. After about 1/4 mi., I turned west toward the Marlatt Trails on the other side of 75th St.

There was Dragonfly Pond, with benches on the shore. Those facing south were dry. There were cattails, snowy ice, and rabbit footprints in the snow. Next came Poplar Pond, with its big, old, and twisted poplar tree at the trail's edge.

About one mile in, I turned right, away from the pond, and walked over a ditch and a bit farther to the banks of St. Vrain Creek. Back to the main circuit, I walked between Poplar and Dragonfly. I sat on one of the benches for a while, ate my sandwich, and watched the clouds shift about the peaks of Mt. Meeker and Longs Peak high in the backrange.

Back at Sunset Pond, I continued clockwise around it and then around Heron Pond, and finally between Heron and Webster. This is certainly a watery walk and probably offers great bird watching in season.

Geese on Sunset Lake

Irrigation Ditch

Longs Peak across Poplar Pond


Trail MapTrail Map

Boulder Open Space Trail Maps: West & East (PDFs)

Getting There

In Boulder, drive northeast on the Diagonal Highway, 119. Pass 52 heading east toward Ft. Lupton, and turn left on Monarch Rd. This is a scenic route. Immediately turn north on 71st St. This road will turn, become 73 St., and turn again, becoming 75th St. Continue north, cross St. Vrain Creek, and the trail head is on the right before you get to Hygene Rd.

From the trailhead, there are paths winding among several ponds. Click on the map images above, or download PDF files from Boulder Open Space. An extensive trail map for all of Boulder County is available from the Boulder Area Trails Coalition (link on home page).

Cautionary Note -- If any of the hikes described on this site sound like something you would like to do yourself, please use good judgment and prepare yourself according to your skills, your interests, and the season. What was fun for me under one set of circumstances might not be fun or even safe for another under other circumstances. Do not consider these descriptions to be unqualified recommendations.

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Harold and Meredith Sears, Boulder, CO, All rights reserved.