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Mount Sanitas Loop: Hike Review

Mount Sanitas, a 6,821ft. peak in Boulder, Colorado, is an extraordinarily popular summit frequented by local hikers and trail runners. Although many pronounce the name as Mount “San-ee-tis,” the correct pronunciation is Mount “San-eh-toss,” which is derived from the word ‘sanitarium.’ In the 1800s, John Harvey Kellogg (of cereal fame), opened the Boulder Sanitarium and Hospital and its staff developed one of the main trails leading to the Mount Sanitas summit for sanitarium guests to use for recreation and health. 

Today, Mount Sanitas is easily one of the best known recreational spots in all of the Denver/Boulder metro area. With multiple trails leading to the summit, some right from the edge of downtown Boulder, Mount Sanitas offers a fantastic opportunity for an escape into nearby nature. At the summit, visitors overlook downtown Boulder and the plains to the east. But, the real treat are the views from some of the connector trails looking west towards foothills and Indian Peaks Wilderness summits. For these views, and a more moderate summit ascent, we prefer the 5.0 mile loop route beginning at the Centennial Trailhead via the Sunshine Canyon Trail, linking with the Lion’s Lair Trail, and concluding with a descent down the Mount Sanitas Trail. We hope you’ll enjoy Mount Sanitas as much as we do!

Hike Review Series: Mount Sanitas Loop

Trail Guide

Route Information

  • Round Trip Distance: 5.0 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,265ft.
  • Trail Type: Loop
  • Trailhead: Centennial
  • Coordinates: 40.020229, -105.297741
  • Dog’s Permitted: Yes; not Lion’s Lair
Fun Factor

Route Instructions

Planning Tips

We recommend picking up a few naturalist guides for general awareness of Colorado ecology. Mount Sanitas and the Boulder area are part of a diverse ecosystem and we think that it is incredibly helpful to be familiar with local plants, wildlife, and geology. An easy to use field guide will help identify species and further add to the enjoyment of the outdoors experience. We also included a few of our favorite Boulder area hiking/trail running guides, which covers Mount Sanitas and other nearby trails. Happy adventuring!

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