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Mallory Cave

Trailhead: NCAR Trailhead
(National Center for Atmospheric Research)

Activities: Hiking, Birding

Closest City / Town: Boulder, Colorado

Driving Directions: 
  • From US-36, take the Table Mesa Drive exit and head west (left at the first traffic light).
  • Continue on Table Mesa Drive as it climbs up the side of the Rocky Mountain foothills.
  • Table Mesa Drive will eventually dead end into the NCAR parking lot.
Distance: 2.2 miles (roundtrip)

Description: Like most of the hikes in the immediate Boulder area, hikers can make the trip up to Mallory Cave just about anytime during the year.  The hike takes anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, and you’ll gain approximately 1,000′ in elevation.  Start out from NCAR on the Walter Orr Roberts Interpretive Trail.  The trail will eventually rollercoaster down towards the Mesa Trail.  After approximately .5 miles, take a left onto the Mesa Trail.  Next, take an immediate right (west) onto the Mallory Cave Trail, which is clearly marked by City of Boulder Open Space signs.  Follow this trail all of the way up to the Mallory Cave.

We recommend this hike for people of all abilities.  However, there is one moderately difficult section in where hikers must be able to scale a 50′ sandstone staircase.  The holds on the staircase are decent and shouldn’t create too many problems.

Worth Noting: Check out the bat guano in the cave.

Categories: 0-3 miles, Dog friendly, Kid friendly, Moderate