Royal Arch is a rock formation just west of Boulder on the slopes of Green Mountain. At 7000ft, it is just over halfway between Boulder and the top of Green Mountain, surrounded by the Flatirons. It can be reached most easily by starting from the Chautauqua Park trailhead near the end of Baseline, following one of several trails to the Bluebell shelter, and then the Royal Arch trail itself.
I wanted to take some shots of the arch at sunrise, so I made for an early start. I was a little slow getting up that morning, and left the trailhead just before six. The sky was clear, the stars were out, and it was very quiet and peaceful. There was about six inches of fresh snow on the ground, further slowing my progress. The trail climbs gently toward the Bluebell shelter and being late, I ran most of the way. From the shelter, the trail narrows, crosses a creek and then climbs steeply to gain a ridge. It was about ten minutes before sunrise when I finally got to the ridge. So I decided to make the most of it right there, and only after the best light had passed, I proceeded to the Royal Arch itself. The trail drops a little on the other side of the ridge to finish with another steep uphill section just before the arch. I enjoyed the views for as long as I could stand the cold and the draft that the arch seemed to be creating. I stopped many times on the way down to take in the wintry scenery around me.
|Flatiron||First sun||Winter wonderland||Icicles I||Icicles II||Table Mesa Road|
|Boulder from Royal Arch||Royal Arch||Royal Arch||Flatiron||Flatiron|