Red Rocks Loop Trail, Settlers' Park Trailhead, Boulder - Denver - Golden - Fort Collins - Lyons, Colorado

Red Rocks Loop Trail - 0.7 miles

Settlers' Park Trailhead

The Red Rocks of Settlers Park

The Red Rocks of Settlers Park

Round-Trip Length: 0.7 miles
Start-End Elevation: 5,460' - 5,460' (5,825' max elevation on top of red rocks)
Elevation Change: +365' net elevation gain (+380' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Easy-Moderate
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Red Rocks Loop Trail - 0.7 Miles Round-Trip

Settlers' Park was named after the first American prospectors who camped in this area during the 1858-1859 winter. Upon his arrival at Ft. Saint Vrain 40 miles east, Thomas Aikins - a Missouri farmer with an eye for riches - surveyed the Boulder foothills noting the "mountains looked right for gold".

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

He broke from his Cherry Creek-bound party with a group of 24 men and pitched tents beneath the area's iconic rock formations on October 17, 1858.

The men succeeded on January 12, 1859 with a large find worth $100,000 - a fortune at the time. An influx of settlers followed, cabins were built, sawmills erected and Boulder quickly grew into a bona fide mining town.

The Red Rocks Trail climbs a steep hill over the original camp to a series of red rock fins born from a turbulent period of uplift and sculpted by water, wind and freeze-thaw cycle erosion. It weaves about the fins and returns to Settlers' Park Trailhead to form a .7 mile loop.

From the parking lot, cross over a small bridge and follow signs to Settlers' Park Trailhead. The Red Rocks Trail rises past the first set of fins to a second and beginning of a short loop (.18 miles : 5,637').

Bear right for counter-clockwise travel, which steepens to a bench beneath tall formations with rangy views across Boulder Valley (.28 miles : 5,727').

The trail wraps north to a split for Mt Sanitas - Sunshine Canyon (.35 miles : 5,753'), and bends west to a short spur (.4 miles) that leads to a viewing area atop the formations (.45 miles : 5,825'). Retrace your steps back to the main trail and follow it down to the Settlers' Park Trailhead (.7 miles : 5,460').

Facebook Comments

Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N40 00.851 W105 17.739 — Settlers' Park Trailhead
  • N40 00.974 W105 17.790 — .18 miles : Begin Red Rocks Loop Trail
  • N40 01.035 W105 17.761 — .28 miles : Views open to the east - bench provid
  • N40 01.075 W105 17.778 — .35 miles : Split north to Mt. Sanitas - Sunshine Canyon
  • N40 01.073 W105 17.806 — .4 miles : Spur to viewing area atop Red Rocks
  • N40 01.053 W105 17.798 — .45 miles : Viewing area atop Red Rocks
  • N40 00.851 W105 17.739 — .7 miles : Settlers' Park Trailhead

Worth Noting

  • Be mindful of rattlesnakes on and around the rock formations.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • Camping and fires are not permitted in the Settlers' Park - Red Rocks area.

Fishing Information

  • There is no fishing in the Settlers' Park area.

Rules and Regulations

  • Bikes are not permitted on the Red Rocks Trail.

  • 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.

  • Overnight parking is not permitted at the Settlers Park Trailhead.

Directions to Trailhead

The Settlers Park Trailhead is located at the west end of Pearl Street at its convergence with Canyon Blvd. in Boulder, Colorado.

From Boulder, take Canyon Blvd. west past the Boulder County Justice Center (on your left). After passing the Justice Center and before you enter Boulder Canyon, turn right onto Pearl Street and then a quick left into the Settlers' Park parking lot.

Contact Information

City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks
Phone: 303.441.3440

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"You'll find some good historic info about Chief Niwot and the early settlers here: "
Michie  -  Boulder  -  Date Posted: March 22, 2019
"Hi, I have visited Settlers Park many times and would love to know more about its history. Where did you find the historical information on Thomas Aikins and the park's origins? Thanks!"
Claire  -  Boulder  -  Date Posted: October 14, 2018


Add Comment

Only used to identify you to ProTrails. Will not show on comments list.
Tell us when your experience with this trail happened.