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Wyoming Wanderers; The Boulder Flatirons

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sarah Post
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

The Rocky Mountains are full of history and stories, and those stationed in Wyoming are lucky enough to see them all the time! 

Just short of two hours southwest of Cheyenne is Boulder, Colorado, home of the Flatirons. The Flatirons were formed by sandstone and conglomerate deposits, but have rock grain that has been cemented together by adularia, which makes them resistant to erosion. The Flatirons were formed during the uplift of the Front Range Mountain section of the Rocky Mountains between 64 and 70 million years ago. They were named for their resemblance to flat irons, metal pieces that were heated and used to press clothes by pioneer women in the 19th century. Reading that and learning about the Flatirons is pretty cool but seeing them in person is definitely even better! 

Now, the Flatirons belong to more than 45,000 acres of Boulder Colorado’s Open Space and Mountain Parks and are a popular destination for hiking, running and rock climbing. 

In September, I went to Boulder with a friend and went for a hike on the First and Second Flatiron Trail. We parked at Chautauqua Park, which is a great central location for quite a few different Flatiron trails. The First and Second Flatiron trail is 1.8 miles going and 1.8 miles coming back, for a total of 3.6 miles. However, this hike takes you up Green Mountain so it is completely uphill one way. But, it’s only 1,400 feet of elevation gain!

On our way up we saw three mule deer, a mom and her young twins, lots of birds and some chipmunks. But if you are lucky enough, you may see much more wildlife than that, like black bears, mountain lions, deer mice, foxes and more! We also hiked up switch backs, over lots of rocks and even got to do a little rock climbing of our own at one part. All the way up there were stunning views of the Flatirons and the city of Boulder below. 

The tiring hike up was well worth it when we got to the peak and were rewarded with a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains. We were right under the peak of a flatiron, and sat and had a snack while we took in the mountainous view. I even got to share my snack with a curious chipmunk. 

The hike back down was quick and easy for the most part, and we just had to pay close attention to our footing on the rocks at some points. We hiked the 1.8 miles back down in no time, then headed into Boulder for some lunch. 

We finished our day by heading downtown and exploring Pearl Street, where we ate lunch at one of the many restaurants and did a little shopping in the many shops and stores. 

All in all, this was a great little day hike, and an easy day trip to Boulder just to explore the town. Once again, I am thankful that I am able to make the most out of living in Wyoming and that I get to explore new places so often!