To understand how chromatin domains coordinate gene expression, we dissected select genetic elements organizing topology and transcription around the Prdm14 super enhancer in mouse embryonic stem cells. Taking advantage of allelic polymorphisms, we developed methods to sensitively analyze changes in chromatin topology, gene expression, and protein recruitment. We show that enhancer insulation does not rely strictly on loop formation between its flanking boundaries, that the enhancer activates the Slco5a1 gene beyond its prominent domain boundary, and that it recruits cohesin for loop extrusion. Upon boundary inversion, we find that oppositely oriented CTCF terminates extrusion trajectories but does not stall cohesin, while deleted or mutated CTCF sites allow cohesin to extend its trajectory. Enhancer-mediated gene activation occurs independent of paused loop extrusion near the gene promoter. We expand upon the loop extrusion model to propose that cohesin loading and extrusion trajectories originating at an enhancer contribute to gene activation.