Woods Quarry (Easy Hike)

It's a relatively easy hike compared to Royal Arch, Mallory Cave, Sanitas or the Flatirons. Hope to see you there!

Administrative Details
A Good Pair of Hiking/Walking Shoes

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Here's what the City of Boulder has to say about Woods Quarry

This fun hike provides a different way to see one of OSMP's most popular venues. The hike starts at the Chautauqua Ranger Cottage, but you'll cover more than 100 years of Boulder history when you follow these trails...

Trailhead: The hike starts at the Chautauqua Ranger Cottage, which is located at our Chautauqua Trailhead, 900 Baseline Road.

Distance: The entire loop is about 3.5 miles.

Difficulty: All of the hikes at Chautauqua start by climbing up. There is a moderate climb to Woods Quarry but most of the trail after that point is easy downhill or gentle rolling up and down.

History: We start by learning about the Chautauqua National Landmark District, then learn about quarrying sandstone in Boulder, community involvement, the old Chautauqua Ski area and the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Let's start hiking! We start the hike at the Chautauqua Ranger Cottage. From the cottage, turn right up Kinnikinnic Road heading south. You will be walking on a paved road next to some of Chautauqua's most beautiful cottages. The "Chautauqua" concept was developed in the 1800s as an adult educational movement which featured arts, culture, sciences, concerts and public affairs. Teddy Roosevelt called it "..typical of America at its best." This Boulder Chautauqua was made possible in 1898 when the forward-thinking citizens of Boulder voted to buy this land. It opened on July 4, 1898 with the auditorium (which stands today) and a number of tents (see the photo at the top of this page). Soon, though, permanent cottages were built and people from the cottages roamed the hills around you. Days were spent outdoors....evenings were spent at concerts and educational lectures.

The Boulder Chautauqua is now a National Historic Landmark District. It is one of only three Chautauquas left in the entire country. It is the only Chautauqua which opens its grounds to the public as well as the only one open year round. The Chautauqua Association offers summer programs and cottages for lease.

Near the top of Kinnikinnic Road just a few steps beyond the "Dead End" sign, you will see on your right a staircase and a statue of a gentlemen and two children on a bench. Climb the stairs and hop on Bluebell Road -- go left (uphill) and follow Bluebell Road until you reach the Mesa Trail intersection.

Turn left (south) onto the Mesa Trail. Follow the Mesa Trail 0.4 miles to an intersection with an OSMP kiosk. Look to the trails to the right (west) of the kiosk -- there is a way-finding sign which points you in the direction of Woods Quarry. You will take a right (west) to follow the trail and you'll be going uphill another 0.3 miles to Woods Quarry.

The last part of this trail is a bit of a climb, but soon you will see the quarry on your right as you climb out of the trees. This spot affords an excellent view of architect I. M. Pei's National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) as well as the front range, including the City of Denver to the east. Here, you can catch your breath and enjoy the view while seated at one of the "modern" stone benches put together by some industrious visitors.

By the early 1880s, sandstone flags (tabular sandstone blocks) began to replace the existing wooden sidewalks in Boulder and Denver. The Woods-Bergheim Quarry began operation sometime in the late 1890s by owners Jonas Bergheim and Frank Wood to help meet that need. Many sidewalks and buildings in Boulder were built with sandstone from this very spot. However, the trip and up and down to the quarry was steep -- it was difficult to get the flags safely to Boulder. Woods proposed a tramway that would safely transport stone to the bottom of the hill, but competition from quarries with easier access (like those in Lyons and Mount Sanitas) reduced the demand for Woods-Bergheim flags and the quarry eventually closed. The city of Boulder purchased the quarry in 1920 in order to prevent additional development and preserve the mountains for recreational use.

To continue your hike, backtrack on the quarry trail to the spot where it goes back into the trees. You will see a trail on your left that goes uphill and one on your right, which goes downhill. Take the trail on the right (downhill) the short distance down to the intersection of the Mesa Trail. There is a tiny stone building near the intersection. This is the Roosa Cabin, which is actually on a small privately owned parcel which was part of an old Boulder family homestead. We don't know exactly how old it is, but it was occupied as a residence at least for a short time in the 1970s. Many Boulderites know it as the Boy Scout cabin, but there are no records of the Boy Scouts ever having used it. Others speculate that it was a warming hut for workers on the quarry or even a place to store dynamite.


Done in conjunction with Boulder Social Hikers.


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  • "Meetup Dave" E.

    Hey folks if you're not going to make please update your rsvps

    November 9, 2013

  • karen

    I have a tire issue to deal with. Hopefully it will fixed in time for me to make the 11 departure.

    November 9, 2013

  • Angela (Oberlin) W.

    So sorry, but I awoke to no hot water and a leaking hot water heater so I have to deal with this problem this morning.

    November 9, 2013

  • Roxanne

    I have a friend who might be tagging along--- I know this is a full hike but hoping, if she comes, there will be room.

    November 9, 2013

  • Luanne B.

    not sure I can make it today, not feeling well

    November 9, 2013

  • Roxanne

    Is this at 10:30 or 11? And are we meeting up with Social Hikers too?

    November 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    So I just moved to Boulder and am awaiting to know when some furniture of mine is being delivered on Saturday, if that doesn't interfere with the time for this hike I will definitely be there.

    November 7, 2013

3 went

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