Get Outside! Hiking Rabbit Mountain

Hiking Loop Trail in Boulder County Open Space Park

The Basics: Rabbit Mountain Boulder Open Space Park Distance: 3-9 miles Trailhead directions: From Boulder, take Highway 36 to Lyons. Go east on Highway 66 about a mile. Turn left on North 53rd Street and follow it to the end of the road.

The Good: Variety of trails & distances Wildflowers Indian Peaks View

The Bad: Busy trail, expect hikers, bikers and horses Not a lot of trees

100 times. That’s how often the lady hiker who stopped to talk has been to Rabbit Mountain Open Space. She told me this year is the best she’s ever seen the wildflowers. Then I’m glad I picked this year to explore Rabbit Mountain.

Rabbit Mountain is a Boulder County Open Space park that’s near Lyons. Looking at maps and the kiosk at the park, it appears there isn’t actually a mountain named “Rabbit.” Instead, the area used to be called Rattlesnake Mountain and someone decided to re-name it. There are a variety of trails here. Everyone starts on the same trail. You just have to decide which version of it you want. Veer left from the kiosk to take the hiking trail. Veer right from the kiosk and you’ll end up on the service road. The road is probably a good choice for horseback riders, but if you want a true hiking trail, veer left.

A half mile up the trail you’ll come to the first junction. There are three junctions, all are pretty close to each other. Junction No. 1 leads to the Little Thompson Overlook (Two miles roundtrip from the junction). Junction No. 2 leads to the Eagle Wind loop (Three miles roundtrip from the junction). And a little further up the trail is junction no. 3, the Indian Mesa trail (about 3.2 miles round trip from the junction). Walking the Eagle Wind loop trial

We chose the Eagle Wind trail. As we climbed up the hill at the beginning of this trail, we start seeing the wildflowers. I’m no expert in wildflowers, but there were a lot of different kinds and colors. It was very pretty. Another highlight of this hike? The views of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Since it’s not quite summer yet, the peaks had a covering of snow, making them even more scenic than normal. Just don’t look too low in the horizon. The view to the west along this trail also features the Cemex plant near Lyons. Just keep looking up at the peaks.

A half mile down this trail (one mile hiking distance from the start), you’ll reach the loop junction. Now you have to decide whether to go right or left. I don’t think one way is better than the other, but if you have an opinion, e-mail me, I’ll add it in. We went right. This is a single-track trail so no matter which direction you choose listen for bikers behind you and watch for them coming towards you. We also saw horses on the trail; remember to give them plenty of room to pass. Take the time to stop for the trail sign explaining the canal that passes through this area to bring water from the high country to farmers on the plains. View From Rabbit Mountain Open Space

If you hike between Feb 1 and July 31, halfway through the loop trail you’ll come to a sign marking the southeastern section of the park that is closed to protect nesting eagles. According to the Boulder County Open Space Web site, the nearby cliffs are one of the few places in Boulder County where Golden Eagles still build their nests. The closure doesn’t affect the hiking trail, but bring your camera just in case you spot an eagle.

There are two benches along the loop to rest or just to sit and take in the views. Bring a snack or lunch; both benches are a good place to stop.

Rabbit Mountain is a diverse landscape. There are times you feel like you’re hiking through a forest area. There are many more places without trees, so you’ll want to avoid this park during the hot afternoons in the summer. Dogs are allowed, but this is one of the parks where they have to remain leashed. We saw lots of people with dogs and every single one of them was leashed. Rabbit Mountain also has picnic benches and bathrooms at the trailhead. Signs at the trailhead warn this area does have rattlesnakes, so be careful going off trail and even watch for snakes that decide to sun themselves on the trail. Some of the wildflowers at Rabbit Mountain Open Space in June 2007

Rabbit Mountain is a nice park at a low elevation, starting around 5,600 feet, to spend a little time outside. Because it has so many trail options you can take a hike as short as a mile or so or tackle all the trails and hike about 9 miles.

  • For more information about Rabbit Mountain Open Space park, click here.

    I welcome your e-mails with questions, comments or hiking trail suggestions, deb_stanley@kmgh.com.

    Previous hiking reports:(lower elevation hikes have a star) Boulder: Caribou Ranch*, Mallory Cave*, Marshall Mesa,Heil Valley Ranch* Forsythe Canyon*, South Boulder Peak*, The Boulder Flatirons*, Walker Ranch*, Bear Peak*, Bald Mountain*, Betasso Preserve*, Wonderland Lake* Golden area: Forgotten Valley, Chimney Gulch*, Apex Park* Jefferson County: Mt. Falcon*, Elk Meadow* I-70 area: Herman Gulch, Chicago Lakes, Chief Mountain Rocky Mountain National Park: Granite Falls, Twin Sisters, Bierstadt Lake, Chasm Lake, Lulu City & Little Yellowstone, The Loch, Andrew's Glacier, Sandbeach Lake Indian Peaks/James Peak Wilderness: King, Bob & Betty Lakes, Forest Lakes, Arapaho Lakes, Mitchell & Blue Lakes, James Peak Area, Heart Lake Northern Colorado: Homestead Meadows, Devil's Backbone*, Lake Agnes Summit & Eagle Counties: Booth Falls, Missouri Lakes, Mohawk Lakes & Continental Falls Grand County: St Louis Lake, Waterfall At Snow Mountain Ranch, Granby Ranch Other: Exploring Fulford Cave, Our Favorite Hikes, Our Favorite Bike Rides