The hike to the “Royal Arch” is so beautiful it’s even fit for royalty. It’s one of the many hikes in Chautauqua Park in Boulder, CO. A rugged climb to the top will land you an up close look at the sheer beauty of the natural sandstone arch that makes the churning and burning worth it.
Getting to the top takes determination. The four mile round trip journey starts in the lower foothills. A steady grade makes up the first mile. Then the dirt terrain is replaced by boulders and stairs carved into rock as the elevation shoots sky high. Reaching Sentinel Pass is gratifying, especially because it feels like the arch will be perched high on the Boulder Flatirons as soon as you summit. Instead, your excitement keeps bubbling as the road continues on for about a half mile.
Around a corner you will catch a glimpse of the 20 foot wide “Royal Arch.” Whatever breath you have left, it will take. The backdrop of the Boulder foothills, eastern plains and even Denver makes for an even more impressive sight. All this for a hike that is a “arch rival” to the many formations found in Arches National Park in Utah.
Directions to Chautauqua: From Highway 36, take the Baseline Road exit and turn left. Take Baseline Road west past 9th street and Chautauqua Park is on the left hand side. Turn left into Chautauqua Park. Overflow parking is also available along Baseline Road, south of the park entrance.
*From here there are plenty of trails to choose from, including “Royal Arch.”
Distance: Four Miles Round trip