The Flatirons – Iconic Landmarks in Boulder Colorado

Green Mountain Flatirons

Boulder, Colorado.

Southwest of the city lies Green Mountain and its unusual rock formations that have come to be known as the Flatirons. On the eastern side of the slope, there are five large triangular formations. They are simply identified by the numbers 1 through 5, each triangle angled westward at about 55 degrees.

View from a nearby parking area

The triangle-shaped rocks got their name from their resemblance to old-time clothes irons that had no power of their own but were heated on a stove. There are actually many named formations in addition to the five Flatiron formations. There are literally hundreds of hiking routes in the area and climbers are attracted to the many climbable formations on that eastern slope of the mountain.

Flatirons looking northwest from the trail

We stayed on the lowland trails as we had other places to visit, but visitors who want to get up close and personal with Green Mountain can check out Bear Peak where they will find The Seal, Devil’s Thumb, and The Flying Flatiron to name but a few.

Southern Flatiron formations

As part of Boulder Colorado’s Open Space and Mountain Parks programs, visitors can access the 300 million-year-old formations. Previously known as the Chautauqua Slabs and the Crags, these formations are similar to those found in the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.

The trail to the Flatirons

We started our visit at Chautauqua Park and took a short hike toward the formations via the Chautauqua Trail. The trail leads to many other trail connectors. You can keep going, loop back around, or turn around when you’ve decided it’s time to head back. Two trails that are recommended online are The Flatiron Loop Trail, an easy to moderate 2-mile (3.2 km) hike; and The Royal Arch Trail, about 3 more difficult miles (4.8 km). That trail leads to a scenic rock archway.

For those who are not wanting to hike or climb, there is a restaurant and a historic cottage available to rent right there at Chautauqua Park. There are even guided tours available from Boulder for those looking for structured activities.

All of the images above can be found on my Flickr site. Click on an image to view it in 2K HD, or visit my Flickr album here.

John Steiner


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