I always forget how difficult Mount Sanitas is until I’m about a half mile in, legs shaking and struggling to catch my breath – wondering how I could’ve forgotten how steep it is! I’ve done this hike probably a dozen times and it’s a go-to for me when I’m solo-hiking because it’s so busy – But it’s for sure a climb!
I’ve also tried to do Mt. Sanitas when I was visiting Colorado while living in Minneapolis and had to turn around less than a mile in, I’ve done the same with other out of town visitors – there’s no other way to put it, it kicks your ass! I don’t typically recommend this hike for out of town friends just because it’s so steep to the top.
That being said, it’s a gorgeous hike with incredible views of the entire Front Range and a cool look at the foothills and mountains behind you! I always go clockwise, which is the steeper way to go. It’s about a mile and a half up to the top with quite a few very steep sections.
Coming down from the top there are a few spots that are a little tricky (I’ve gotten lost a couple of times going down Sanitas) but once you get to the last three quarters of a mile it’s an easy path back to the car. As far as parking goes, there is a lot but it’s small so there’s also street parking in the neighborhood. This is a very popular trail, so unless you’re going early there’s a good chance you’ll need to circle a couple of times before finding a spot.
Definitely make sure you’ve got good shoes for this trail because it’s really rocky! I’ve taken a spill on Sanitas that left both my knees and shins badly bruised from landing on the jagged rocks.
Also, you will be passed by unbelievably athletic people sprinting up the mountain and if you’re anything like me it’ll be incredibly discouraging (I once dated someone who sprinted up Sanitas and left me panting on my own – that was when I knew it wasn’t going to work out) but just remember no matter your pace you’re climbing a tough trail! If you finish, consider it an accomplishment no matter how long it took you! Living amongst the beautiful Flatirons are some of the best athletes in the world and while I’m far from one of those athletically blessed, it’s fun to share the trails with them!