Peak(s):  Eldorado Mountain - 8335
Coal Creek Peak - 8484
Crescent Mountain - 8945
Scar Top Mountain - 8790
South Boulder Peak - 8549
Bear Peak - 8461
Green Mountain - 8144
Date Posted:  10/24/2015
Modified:  10/26/2015
Date Climbed:   10/24/2015
Author:  pbakwin
 8x8 - Boulder  

I don't know if this merits a TR, but it seems like this project should be recorded somewhere - why not here? The "8x8" is a big loop linking 8 summits over 8000' in the Boulder area. These are, I think, all the significant 8000'+ peaks between Coal Creek Canyon and Flagstaff Road/Gross Dam Road. The route is about 25 miles total with 10000+' of elevation gain. This is slow going! From Rattlesnake Trail (Eldo State Park) to Walker Ranch is almost all bushwhacking, and often quite thick with brush and downed trees. There is a variety of scrambling, though typically not exceeding Class 3, unless you make route-finding errors, which are very easy to make!

Note: Parts of this route require off trail travel on Boulder County's Walker Ranch property, which is probably not legal. Other parts are in City of Boulder OSMP Habitat Conservation Areas, which require an off-trail permit (available online). Other parts are likely on private land, but with careful route selection you should not come close to anyone's house!

Completing the loop took me 9:50 today, starting and finishing at Eldorado Canyon State Park. Traditionally, we descend off Green down the NE Ridge and the First Flatiron Trail to make it a true loop. It would of course be a lot quicker to run down Green-Bear and Bear Canyon if heading back to Eldorado State Park.

Here are my splits (starting from Eldorado State Park entrance):
Eldo (8335'), 1:15, 2.7mi
Coal Crk (8484'), 2:14, 5.1mi
Crescent (8945'), 3:17, 6.7mi
UN8826 (8826'), 3:39, 7.4mi
Scar Top (8790'), 4:26, 8.5mi
S Boulder (8549'), 6:47, 13.7mi
Bear (8461'), 6:59, 14.3mi
Green (8144'), 7:47, 17.1mi
Eldo St Park, 9:50, 25.0mi

GPS file is on Strava. I don't know why it wouldn't upload here.

Comments on the route:
-Going up the N Ridge of Eldo is generally pretty nice. It's a big up - close to 3000' from the SP entrance station.
-From Eldo go down the road. After a short climb take a right on another road. Continue down to about 7400-7500' and then start angling up towards Coal Creek or to the Coal Creek - Crescent saddle. This is brushy, but you can find corridors of talus that provide breaks from the bushwhacking.
-From Coal Creek to Crescent is not terrible, basically just follow the ridge. Mostly it's the N facing sides that have the thickest bushwhacking.
-Dropping off UN8826 to the drainage before Scar Top is nasty bushwhacking. There doesn't seem to be a great way to do it. Once across the little creek things open up as you are on a S face. Stay a bit east to avoid a house.
-Descending off Scar Top to Walker Ranch is long with plenty of nasty bushwhacking - loads of downed trees. Stay on the ridge proper, or a little right of the ridge to avoid homes. If you're lucky you can find a few yards of old road in there!
-Walker Ranch: TRAIL!
-To get up S Boulder take the W ridge, which starts gentle but gets steeper towards the top. This ridge is the next one N of the ridge I followed (see GPS track). My ridge goes, and allows you to avoid all out & back at the top, but it's harder and probably slower. If you take my ridge just go over the hump at around 7700' (instead of trying to contour around, which is annoying).
-The rest of the route is pretty straightforward & mostly on trail, though off-trail short-cuts are available. As mentioned, I went down the NE ridge off Green to the First Flatiron Trail. It would be cooler & more in line with the character of this route to bushwhack down Skunk Canyon! This is actually OK since the 2013 flood cleaned out all the brush in the lower canyon.
-Back on the Mesa Trail & Old Mesa Trail.

South Boulder from Eldorado Mtn

Eldo Mtn from Coal Creek Peak

Coal Creek Peak looms above the plains

UN8826 & Scar Top from Crescent

South Boulder and Eldo from UN8826


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6

 Comments or Questions
10/24/2015 21:52
I’m impressed


10/25/2015 20:30
Thanks for posting! I’m planning on doing Eldo and Coal Creek sometime soon. This should help. I did Scar Top from Walker Ranch, and yes, nasty bushwhacking!


Great info!
10/26/2015 09:52
I didn’t have any beta on those JeffCo peaks. Was planning to hit them up this winter, getting it done in a loop would be great. Thanks!

XC Snowboarder

Sweet loop close to home
10/26/2015 11:50
Thank you for the beta!


very cool
10/28/2015 10:06
nice original outing man! really wish I could of joined you guys. Be cool to tack SoBo’s S ridge in this loop but really doesn’t make sense too....

Very cool
10/28/2015 13:43
What a big day and time spent on the front range! The solitude of this journey would be another benefit to the day. I did an ncar to ncar 13 mile loop earlier this year and really enjoyed seeing the entire flatiron range and its three main summits. I wonder how many mountain lions spotted you with all of that bushwacking


10/31/2015 20:45
I did the first 5 today. Brought my full backpack, but it took 4:45 to Crescent. And then fell off a bit more and was at 7 hours at Scar tip. Huge route finding mistake where I opted to descent following South Boulder creek instead of returning to my car at the fuller/rattlesnake th in Eldorado state park via the trail from walker. Made it back to my car just under 10 hours.

11/01/2015 21:00
Nice! If you don’t mind more slightly illegal activity, returning from the Crescent Meadow area along the RR tracks to the top of Rattlesnake is a good option. Bring a light... there’s a tunnel or ... maybe 10?

11/05/2015 10:03
That’s a really good idea! I’ve done the 6 peak traverse in a 25 mile loop but only 3 peaks were above 8000 I think. Thanks for the idea!


Sounds like a Blast!
12/05/2016 08:54
I just stumbled across this TR. This sounds like a fantastic way to spend a LONG day near Boulder. Thanks for the novel route.

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