Past Meetup

Royal Arch - From NCAR - Moderate Plus to Strenuous (Short-ish but Steep)

This Meetup is past

12 people went

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WE WILL MEET AT THE TRAILHEAD BETWEEN 7:45 and 8:00, and HIKE BY 8:01 sharp!
If you are running late, you may text us at: 303-919-9017 - We will not delay the start time, but will be aware to seek you at the arch or back at the parking lot afterward.
AS ALWAYS - I highly recommend/suggest carpooling


Address: 1850 Table Mesa Drive

Boulder 80305

Round-Trip Length: Approximately 6 miles round trip (out and back) Elevation Change: +698 ft ascent for a total elevation of 6,801. Skill Level: Moderate-Strenuous Dogs Allowed: Yes (leashed)

Starting from NCAR, our route will
be as follows:
1) NCAR trail
2) Mesa Trail
3) Left onto Bluebell Rd
4) Stay left PAST Bluebell-Baird
trail onto Flatirons Loop trail
5) Left at fork onto Royal Arch trail
6) Lather, rinse, repeat in reverse

"Royal Arch is perched high along a rugged fold in the Boulder Flatirons. These rocks are remnants of the Fountain Formation, a mineral-rich sand eroded from the ancestral Rocky Mountain uplift 300 million years ago. Sediments deposited by the ebb and flow of inland oceans compressed this layer into sandstone, thrust upward 45 million years ago by the same tectonic forces that created our modern Rocky Mountains.
Royal Arch is a fragment of the exposed Fountain Formation sculpted by water, wind and mechanical erosion into the 20' span we see today.
The following describes the most direct route to Royal Arch, which begins at the Chautauqua Park Ranger Station and climbs Bluebell Road to access the Royal Arch Trail:
Bluebell Road rises steadily over Chautauqua Park past the Mesa Trail junction (.6 miles : 6,005') and Bluebell Shelter to the Royal Arch Trail (.7 miles : 6,095').
The Royal Arch Trail narrows through mixed pine to a connection for Flatiron #2 and #3, and bends south up a steep, narrow gulch (.9 miles : 6,188'). Note apple, plumb and maple in this ecologically varied riparian corridor.
The trail steepens considerably as it breaks away from the upper-gulch into a cluttered forest (1.2 miles : 6,530'). It continues strenuously to Sentinel Pass (1.35 miles : 6,768'), a rocky notch at the top of Bluebell Canyon. Examine close-up cross-sections of the Flatiron rock formations before pressing on.
The trail drops from Sentinel pass about 100' and resumes a strenuous, twisting climb over the steady trickle of Tangen Spring to the base of Royal Arch (1.6 miles : 6,915'). Walk under Royal Arch to a set of rocky outcrops with sweeping views over the Boulder foothills, eastern plains and, on a clear, downtown Denver.
Worth Noting
The Bluebell Shelter was constructed in 1921 by the local Lions Club. The stone wall, hike-in only structure is available for group picnics and activities, and accommodates up to 50 people. The Royal Arch Trail is a great place to observe climbers on the Flatirons." Dogs must be on a hand-held leash unless they meet Voice and Sight Control Standards and display a City of Boulder Voice and Sight Tag."

Southern Sun (They are CASH ONLY
- but there is an ATM inside)
627 South Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305, (303) 543-0886


2) Organizers set a rendezvous time to start hiking, but are at no time responsible for your whereabouts on the trail or your punctuality for the pre-meet. Hikes will start on time whether you have arrived or not.
3) Organizers are fellow participants only, not group leaders, professional athletes or health professionals and make no such claims. We cannot advise you on your state of health, fitness level or preparedness, and cannot offer you medical advise or assistance at any time. We are not responsible for your safety of behavior on any event.
4) Please make sure you understand what gear is required for any particular event. We can only make suggestions based on what we perceive conditions will/ might be like, but you must do your own research concerning what is best for you based on your fitness level, stamina, etc., for any particular hike/outing. Please remember that part of the group's mission is to explore new trails. so there will be many outings we have to do our own homework for ourselves.
5) IF you run a carpool, or participate in a carpool, please coordinate with each other as to your individual pace!
6). Bring a change of shoes for the restaurant. Your feet will thank you!
7) Have fun!!