Wonderland Lake Area

Round-Trip Length:  6.28 miles
Start Elevation:  5,515’
High Point:  6,230’
Elevation Change:  +715’
Skill Level:  Moderate
Trailhead Location:   Wonderland Lake Trailhead, located on the west side of Broadway, across the street from Sumac Avenue in Boulder.

Yesterday’s forecast was calling for record breaking temperatures so I knew I wanted to get out and take a hike.  I was trying to find something to fit my criteria for the day:  somewhere not too far of a drive, somewhere at a low enough elevation to enjoy the beautiful weather, somewhere with nice views, and somewhere where I hadn’t been before!  It’s difficult sometimes to come up with a place that meets all of those!  After reviewing my options, I decided on the Wonderland Lake area in Boulder so I got in the car and headed off.

Wonderland Lake is a wildlife sanctuary right on the edge of Boulder and is part of the Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks.




It’s only a 0.2 mile walk from the trailhead to the lake.  From here you get a view of the lake with the foothills behind to the west.



I headed to the left to begin circling the lake.  A view from the west side of the lake looking back east.


After a short distance further, I took a left and headed west on the single track trail heading up Wonderland Hill.  The trail climbs quite quickly, providing for a nice overall view of Wonderland Lake and the surrounding area.



Another view from higher up on the foothills.



A view to the east and a little bit to the north provided a view of Boulder Reservoir.



After climbing over 700’, I made it to the high point of the Wonderland Hill trail.  This hill is a hang glider and paraglider launch site, with three launch zones.  I didn’t see anyone out today.  After taking a short break at the top, I was trying to decide which way to head down.  I wasn’t sure if I need to head back down the way I came up or if I could loop down another way.  There were two other parties up here and they both decided to head straight down the hill, so I decided to follow.  I would always rather do a loop than backtrack the same way I have come from.  It turns out there was no trail and I basically had to bushwhack down the steep hill to eventually hook up with another trail.

A view partway down the hill.  You can see a trail in the center of the photo that I would eventually connect with.



I saw a few deer as I was bushwhacking down the hill.







Of course I needed to stop and take my shadow picture as I like to do on late afternoon hikes!



I connected up with the Foothills Trail for a short distance heading north before turning west again and heading up the Old Kiln Trail.  I soon came to another trail marker sign showing the Old Kiln Trail headed west and north.  I wasn’t sure which way to head since I didn’t have a trail map so I headed up the trail to the west.



After heading up the trail for 0.4 miles, I realized this trail was not going to loop around like I thought it would so I turned around and headed back down to the trail junction and took the trail to the north.  I later found a map and saw that the trail I was on heading to the west was labeled the Old Kiln Spur which headed up into a neighborhood and was not part of the Old Kiln loop trail so it was a good decision to turn around.

The sun was starting to go behind some of the clouds, providing for a nice silhouette of the trees up on the ridge.



Looping around on the Old Kiln Trail, I came across the kiln.  This kiln was used to produce “lime” for plaster, mortar, and cement from limestone.  To produce the lime from limestone, the rock is heated in the lime kiln to 500-600 degrees C. This heating drives off the carbon dioxide leaving lime as a residue. Historically, there were four kilns at Two Mile Creek and this one (now deteriorated) along Four Mile Creek. This kiln was probably constructed in the 1880’s. According to Gleichman and Mutaw, (1998), the Four Mile Creek kiln is noted for its crudity of construction, which led to much wastage due to over or under burned lime. Lime produced here may have been used in construction of some of the University of Colorado’s earliest buildings.



A view to the south and west as I looped around the trail, heading back down towards Wonderland Lake.



A shot of the late afternoon clouds to the west.



I arrived back at Wonderland Lake and got some nice silhouette reflection pictures as the sun was moving further down on the horizon between the clouds.




After a few more shots, I headed back to the car.  A map of the general area I had covered.



My actual route as mapped by my MapMyHike app.

Wonderland Lake


It was a great day to get out and fun to hike some new trails!

5 thoughts on “Wonderland Lake Area

  1. Glad to see you taking advantage of a beautiful day. If we had to do it all over we would spend every day we could on a hike. It is good to see you guys taking advantage of the scenery and getting exercise at the same time. We will always love seeing pictures of the state of Colorado. Thank you

  2. Looks like a grand day out! Curiously, although I’m well aware of Boulder (as a place full of hikers, runners and fitness fanatics – is that true? Not sure why I think that!) , I had no clear picture of what the terrain would be like, so fascinating to see your photos.
    Lime kilns are really common in the area around where I live. The lime here was also used to ‘improve’ the soil. Apparently, tramps would often sleep close to the kilns due to the warmth they gave off, but were also often killed by the fumes released.

    • Yes, Boulder is known for outdoorsy active people as is much of Colorado. Interesting about the lime kilns in your area and the history behind them. What part of Wales are you from?

      • England, although we visit Wales every year. We live in Lancashire (just) in its northern extremity, about a half a mile from the border with Cumbria. The hills of the Lake District, The Yorkshire Dales and the Forest of Bowland are all on the doorstep. Windermere, for instance, is about a 40 minute drive.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s