A Little Time and a Keyboard: Boulder's Green Mountain Intrigues with a Lofty Evergreen Forest, Massive Rock Creations and Sweeping Views

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Boulder's Green Mountain Intrigues with a Lofty Evergreen Forest, Massive Rock Creations and Sweeping Views

 Bristles of evergreens, nature's boulder creations, sparse brilliant blooms, sweeping views of surrounding mountains and valleys wonder at Boulder's Green Mountain

Evergreen Bristles, Immense Rock Creations, Sparse Vibrant Blooms and Sweeping Views Wonder at Boulder's Green Mountain

Bristles of evergreens, nature's boulder creations, sparse brilliant blooms, sweeping views of surrounding mountains and valleys, spiny cacti, sculpted edges and varied hikes over rocky terrain enticed us as we explored the charms of Green Mountain in Boulder, Colorado. Upon recommendation from a reader, we headed to Green Mountain to wander the Green Mountain West Ridge Trail. While winding up the mountain, we became smitten and explored trails on two of our days in Colorado.

Breaks in the trails opened up to fantastic views.
Breaks in the trails opened up to fantastic views.

Green Mountain offers spectacular views throughout. While winding up the mountain toward our chosen trailhead and perched above the world, we took in a variety of viewpoints.  At several points, plaques detailed the mountains twe saw rising in the distance. Panoramic views awed us.

Mountain after mountain created a rumpled appearance in front of us.
Mountain after mountain created a crumpled appearance in front of us

The topography of the Rocky Mountains in its crumpled form unfolded before us. Curiosity reigned and beckoned us to pause to use the designated plaques to help identify the mountains in front of us.

Our First Hike on Green Mountain:

Mountain boulders provided a bit of a challenge as well as wonderful photo moments on Green Mountain.
Mountain boulders provided a bit of a challenge as well as wonderful photo moments
 on Green Mountain.

On our first visit to Green Mountain, we headed to the Green Mountain West Ridge Trail. However, we felt it was a bit parked up, so we doubled back to the Long Canyon Trail just below it on the mountain. With just one other car in the parking lot, we knew we would have the trail to ourselves. Almost immediately, we encountered mountain boulders. 

Boulders and bristly evergreen pines crafted a contrast.
Boulders and bristly evergreen pines crafted a contrast.


Hiking this particular trail, we found ourselves trekking through both exposed and evergreen covered stretches. My husband was thrilled to find some shade on a hot summer day! The fir and pine trees were actually dense in spots. Totally enchanted with evergreens, I relished the hike. 

The natural path leading us into a section thick with evergreens.
The natural path leading us into a section thick with evergreens.

The hike provided us with a challenge as well as picture perfect nature moments. We knew we had to return to explore the mountain more!

Hiking Green Mountain West Ridge Trail:

We returned to Green Mountain the following afternoon to hike the stunning Green Mountain West Ridge Trail. While we did not hike the entire 4-mile out and back trail, we did benefit from spectacular views for the 2 miles that we did hike. 

A lofty evergreen forest could not entirely obstruct our view of mountains in the distance.
A lofty evergreen forest could not entirely obstruct our view of mountains in the distance.

Along the trail, we enjoyed spying interesting flora including creeping Oregon grape-berries. We encountered a number of new-to-us plants on our adventure, so I took pictures to help identify later.

Delicate and brilliant creeping Oregon grape-berries delighted us on our hike.
Delicate and brilliant creeping Oregon grape-berries delighted us on our hike.

Noted for Colorado wildflowers, the Green Mountain West Ridge Trail treated us to spectacular blooms including golden splashes from alpine gumweed. I marveled at how flowers can survive in the rocky environment.

Brilliant alpine gumweed blooms on Green Mountain.
Brilliant alpine gumweed blooms on Green Mountain.

Walking along our trail feeling wrapped into the folds of the mountain, we floated a world away from our life here in the Chicago suburbs. We paused at points not only for much needed hydration on a sweaty summer day but also just to immerse ourselves further in the moment.

Hiking in the evergreen folds of Boulder's Green Mountain.
Hiking in the evergreen folds of the mountain.


We found the Green Mountain West Ridge Trail to be a spectacular Colorado adventure. Wandering through the trail in and out of rough mountain edges, viewing varied flora and sweeping views charmed us.



Realization Point Trails and Views:

Mountains layered in the distance at Realization Point
Mountains layered in the distance at Realization Point

We adventured to a number of overlooks provide scenic views. On both visits, we reveled in views from Realization Point as well as explored one of its trails. The picturesque spot also harbors an amphitheatre and nice spots for a picnic. We ended our second visit to Green Mountain taking in the views before descending back down.

Green Mountain gifted us with truly memorable nature adventures. We look forward to returning again on a future Colorado journey to once again savor the blend of the evergreen forest, brilliant wildflowers, rocky points and vast views.

Things to Know about Hiking Green Mountain:

  • Parking does require a $5 parking pass. We were able to obtain one at the first pull off area with a view.
  • Terrain is rocky and uneven. We benefited from using our hiking sticks.
  • Views are plentiful, so you can't go wrong!
  • There are a variety of hiking trails and spots to explore including some red rocks!
  • Bring plenty of water and hiking snacks.
  • Prepare for the weather.
  • Familiarize yourself with the natural wildlife before going including the prairie rattlesnake and black bear.

Boulder's Green Mountain Intrigues with a Lofty Evergreen Forest, Massive Rock Creations and Sweeping Views


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