Darby's Top Reasons to Love this Hike:
1. Are you up for a challenging hike that starts with 1 mile of stairs? Try the Sanitas trail. If you are into something a little less strenuous, try the Dakota Ridge/ Sanitas Valley loop. Our favorite way is heading up the Mt. Sanitas south entrance and continuing over the top across the East Ridge to run down the Sanitas Valleyor Dakota Ridge. The maze of boulders is fun and different. Climbers can go bouldering in the designated areas at the southern end of the trail.
2. This trail has some of the most complete and amazing views of downtown Boulder and beyond. You also get the great views of the northwest side of Flagstaff Mountain.
3. Parts of the Sanitas trail are native and unmanicured. There are times where you have to use your keen observation (and fabulous sense of smell) in order to get back on the trail. The rocks are left exposed and untouched, and can create rougher terrain which you may have to use all your 4 limbs to navigate. FUN!
4. Water waits at the bottom of the trail to dip your toes in.
5. Wild life can be observed in the cliffs near beginning the Mt. Sanitas south entrance. Look for Perigrine Hawks in their native habitat.
Bonus Info: Sanitas means sanitarium (health spa), named for the facility that is now the Mapleton Medical Center.
Round Trip Length: Mt. Sanitas to Sanitas Valley Loop: @ 2.8 miles; Dakota Ridge Sanitas Valley Loop:@ 2.2 miles.
A map of the Centennial/Sanitas Trail is here.
Start and End Elevation: 5,520' - 6,843' (6,843' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +1,323' net elevation gain (+1,357' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Sanitas Trail is strenuous, the Dakota Ridge is easy to moderate
Pet Regulations: Dogs Allowed Off Leash OSMP Dog Regulations
Weather: Almost all weather, best if there is no snow
Picnic Tables: Yes, on at the beginning of the trail
Restroom : Yes, in the Centennial Trail parking lot
Directions: Drive west on Mapleton (NW of downtown Boulder) toward Sunshine Canyon. Go past the trail head to the Centennial parking lot on the left (south). Follow the signs to the Mt. Sanitas Trail head.