Boulder Brook Trail, Storm Pass Trailhead, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Boulder Brook Trail - 4.8 miles

Storm Pass Trailhead

Tumbling waters of the Boulder Brook

Tumbling waters of the Boulder Brook

Round-Trip Length: 4.8 miles
Start-End Elevation: 8,831' - 10,311' (10,311' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +1,430' net elevation gain (+1,478' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Boulder Brook Trail - 4.8 Miles Round-Trip

The Boulder Brook Trail connects Rocky Mountain's Bear Lake Road corridor with the North Longs Peak Trail, offering an alternative and seldom used overnight route to Longs Peak.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

This unassumingly attractive trail closely follows Boulder Brook through the upper-montane zone into archetypal subalpine forests. Solitude seekers will enjoy its lively waters, diverse riparian vegetation, terrific autumn foliage, and good views of the Continental Divide and Mummy Range:

The trail drops from the trailhead to the brook, crosses a bridge (.12 miles) and gradually rises away through a tall lodgepole forest. It continues south past the Sprague Lake connector (.25 miles) and Glacier Creek - Storm Pass trail split (.37 miles), where it officially becomes the Boulder Brook Trail.

Horses are not permitted beyond this point.

The trail rejoins Boulder Brook at .55 miles (9,095') and turns sharply uphill. A steep climb beside the creek is highlighted by several waterfalls, aspen, deep green mosses and lush ground vegetation. Autumn colors are notably good on this stretch.

The grade eases through .75 miles (9,430'), where small clearings yield good views of Hallet Peak (12,713'), Flattop Mountain (12,324'), Otis Peak (12,486') and Thatchtop (12,668') to the east, glimpses of Longs Peak (14,259') and Storm Peak (13,326') to the south, and sweeping views of the distant Mummy Range to the north.

These water-lined meadows are also good places to find wildlife activity, particularly elk and deer.

The trails makes consecutive stream crossings to Boulder Brook Backcountry Campsites #2 and #1 (2.05 miles and 2.15 miles, respectively). The trail ends rather unceremoniously at its intersection with the North Longs Peak Trail (2.4 miles : 10.311').

A few steps along it to the west is a bridge spanning an attractive section of the brook, a good place to rest before retracing your steps back to the trailhead.

Illustration of bighorn sheep

The Afield Rocky Mountain app gives on-the-trail information on plants, geology, turn-by-turn-directions, and more. Install it for your next hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N40 19.008 W105 36.944 — Start of Boulder Brook Trail
  • N40 18.845 W105 37.001 — First sounds and sight of the Boulder Brook
  • N40 18.685 W105 37.015 — Brook crossing #1
  • N40 18.490 W105 37.057 — Brook crossing #2
  • N40 18.362 W105 37.040 — Brook crossing #3
  • N40 17.644 W105 37.044 — Brook crossing #4
  • N40 17.610 W105 37.045 — Boulder Brook Backcountry Campsite #2
  • N40 17.520 W105 37.047 — Boulder Brook Backcountry Campsite #1
  • N40 17.341 W105 37.044 — End of Boulder Brook Trail ? Backcountry group site

Worth Noting

  • Mosquitoes can be a nuisance - bring insect repellant.

  • There's a privy at the Boulder Brook Group Backcountry Campsite, located at the trail's intersection with the North Longs Peak Trail.

  • Parking is very limited at the Storm Pass Trailhead so arrive early to ensure a spot.

  • Permits are required for backcountry camping.

  • This trail is also accessible from the Bierstadt Lake Trailhead.

Camping and Backpacking Information

There are 3 backcountry campsites along the Boulder Brook Trail:

  • Boulder Brook Campsite #2: 2.05 miles from the trailhead (10,085')

  • Boulder Brook Campsite #1: 2.15 miles from the trailhead (10,160')

  • Boulder Brook Group Campsite #2: 2.4 miles from the trailhead (10,311')

  • *Note that Boulder Brook Campsites #2 and #1 do not appear on some maps

Fishing Information

  • There is no suitable fishing along the Boulder Brook Trail.

Directions to Trailhead

The Boulder Brook Trail begins from the Storm Pass Trailhead off Bear Lake Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. Shortly after the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station near Estes Park, turn left on Bear Lake Road and drive for about 6.5 miles to the Storm Pass Trailhead which will be on your left. This is a very small parking area and is marked only by a small green sign stating "Storm Pass Trail". Park in the lot and take the Storm Pass Trail about .3 miles to the start of the Boulder Brook Trail which will veer off to the west.

Contact Information

Rocky Mountain National Park
1000 Highway 36
Estes Park, CO 80517-8397

Visitor Information:
970.586.1206

Backcountry Office:
970.586.1242

Campground Reservations:
800.365.2267

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.



Comments

"I loved this trail. we did a loop from Glacier Basin Campground (used Sprague Lake trail) to Boulder Brook to North Long's Peak Trail to Glacier Gorge Trail. The brook was running heavily with all the snow melt and the trail contained packed snow about 50% of the time. The close-up views of Longs and the Continental Divide are absolutely worth it! Was a tough hike for me (8.5-ish) total, but do-able for someone who lives here and is in fair physical shape"
Erin  -  denver  -  Date Posted: June 12, 2017
"This trail was kind of a disappointment. The brook follows alongside it for only a short way, and most of the trail is at a steep angle which may be "moderate" for those who live there and/or hike regularly but is difficult for flatlanders like me. Having hiked many trails in RMNP, this is one I wouldn't bother with again - now I know why there weren't many others on it even though the trailhead at Sprague Lake was crawling with people."
TH  -  Omaha  -  Date Posted: September 28, 2015
"Great hike!"
Sco Pro  -   -  Date Posted: September 15, 2015
"Great hike or snowshoe trek to avoid crowds. Can also access from Sprague Lake w/ample parking and toilets. In summer of 2013, you need to get to entrance station by 8:30 or else take shuttle to Bierstadt trailhead."
Chris Polazzi  -  Fort Collins, CO  -  Date Posted: November 30, 2012

 

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