Boulder might be a small city, but it’s loaded with huge outdoor adventure opportunities. The city is home to a little under 100,000 residents but in the area’s 27 square mile borders are over 200 miles of hiking trails as well as 41,000 acres of open space. The city lies at the foot of the Rock Mountains and has an extensive park system not only within its boundaries but is also surrounded by national and state parks. The city also receives about 300 days of sunshine a year, providing ample conditions to enjoy these surroundings. With credentials like these, it’s easy to see why this city was recently named the “ Best Place to be an Uberjock” by Outside Magazine.
Here are a few of the outdoor adventures the city has to offer your inner uberjock:
Many prime hiking can be found in Boulder as the area was one of the first cities in the U.S to establish an open space program in 1964. A popular and nearby destination is Chautauqua Park, where paths lead hikers into the foothills of the Flatirons, a mountain whose three primary formations stand out as a signature emblem for the city. There are miles upon miles of hiking paths in the park and a good place to start researching for specific trail paths in the area as well as in surrounding parks is at the City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks website. Here information on topics such as popular trailheads, basic trail information, regulations, hiking guides, and an overall summary of the Boulder Mountain Parks trail system can be found.
Riding up Flagstaff Mountain is a true test of endurance, challenging both heart and legs to the extent. The route is infamous for it’s rapid rise in elevation and might be painful going up, but riders will be rewarded with the journey back down.
Another option is Boulder Creek Path. This 16 mile path goes right through the middle of town so is a great opportunity to see the city, as well as local cyclists going about their business. With 35 miles of bike lanes, biking is a popular alternative to driving and many residents opt to get around the city by pedal power.
A good spot to start research on local routes is the Colorado Mountain Bike Web Search site, which gives descriptive information on biking trails around the Boulder and Longmont area. Also check out the Boulder Off Road Alliance site for additional options.
About 8 miles southwest of Boulder is Eldorado Canyon State Park: in short a climber’s paradise. The park offers some 500 technical rock climbing routes and is a mecca for enthusiasts around the world. Aside from climbing, the park is also overflowing with hiking and biking trails.
Both bouldering and rock climbing ventures can be based from the Flatirons. The mountain is divided into three sections north, south, and central and diverse climbing opportunities can be found in each area. A great place to practice sport or lead climbing is at Flatirons south.
For detailed information on routes available at both Eldorado Canyon State Park ,the Flatirons, and other nearby areas, check out Climbing Boulder.com. This site is an invaluable route database collection and provides up-to-date information on climbing areas and routes from around the state of Colorado.
Boulder Creek runs through Eben G. Fine Park, and kayakers can take on the 20 slalom gate kayak course west of the park all year round. Other areas to check out include Clear Creek as well as South Boulder Creek.
Kayaks can be rented from a variety of outlets including the Boulder Outdoor Center. This site also includes useful information such as drop in and take out points for river runs on South Boulder Creek, Boulder Creek, and Upper Boulder Creek.
When conditions are right, this sport can be enjoyed on basically any hiking trail. A great place to check out though is the Eldora Nordic Center, which is located at the county’s only ski resort, Eldora Mountain. On average, the mountain receives about 300 inches of snow a year.
The center has 37 miles of trails to cross-country ski and snowshoe on and is only about 20 miles from Boulder. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the week and 8:30 a.m. to 4.p.m. on weekends and holidays. Trail maps and directions can be found at www.eldora.com.
Outdoor enthusiasts should have plenty to do in the Boulder, but just in case you might be looking for more terrain to conquer, Estes Park, which is Rocky Mountain National Park’s eastern gateway, is only around 30 miles away.