We here at TWW do not often recommend going from 0 to 60 in the first five minutes of a workout, but unfortunately for our legs there are just some routes that are worth destroying them for. We count Mount Sanitas among that group – a route that is completely unforgiving, but worth every second of leg pain.
Almost a Boulder version of the Incline, Mount Sanitas is essentially a steep hike that is variably runnable, winding up the rocky ridge Sanitas where it tops out about 1.4 miles in. The trail is well worn, with some sections cut directly into the rock ridge, making it an adventure in foot placement and pacing. The views along the way and at the top are some of the best you’ll find in the Boulder area, making the fact that you can’t feel your calves easier to accept.
One drawback; finding the way back down in order to make the run a loop is a bit confusing. The East Ridge trail winds down to the Sanitas Valley trail which we take back to the parking lot. The problem with the East Ridge trail is that it is not clearly marked. Our best advice is to follow the most worn path, and keep your eyes open for the random trail markers. Our map shows the Mount Sinatas trail, the route down via the East Ridge trail, and then the Sanitas Valley trail back to the parking lot. A more label intensive map can be found here.
Do it because: intense hike and workout only minutes from downtown Boulder. Great views of the Flatirons, the town and beyond. Lots of pretty people to ogle.
Distance: 1.4 miles to the summit, 3.0 miles roundtrip.
Directions: From 9th and Pearl Street, take Pearl Street west and take a right on 4th Street, a left on Spruce, and then another right on 4th. Take 4th north to Mapelton and take a left. There are lots on both the north and south sides of the street. Additionally, you can generally park on the road and walk up to the trailhead.