Few cities in the United States can boast the wealth of outdoor adventureland that Boulder, Colo. has in its backyard. Serving as a beautiful backdrop for the city, the Flatirons are the first natural feature that comes to mind when one thinks of outdoor adventure in and around Boulder.
Within the confines of the city’s borders and throughout the surrounding county, however, there are dozens of places one can exercise or relax outdoors.
If you like climbing, cycling, hiking, or any other outdoor activities made better by fascinating geologic formations and a wealth of sunshine, Boulder is a great place to be. Here are three areas residents can have a lot of fun outdoors and get a workout in to boot if they choose.
The Flatirons and Chautauqua Park
Known for its Flatiron Trails and excellent climbing opportunities, Chautauqua Park is the closest major outdoor recreation area to downtown Boulder and the University of Colorado’s campus. The steep, dramatic rock formations visible from most of the city make excellent centerpieces for trail hikes. The crags also serve as a climber’s aphrodisiac.
With dozens of interconnected trails, the hiking opportunities available at Chautauqua Park are almost endless. While some are characterized by steep climbs that require strenuous exertion, others are low-lying and wheelchair accessible. Leashed dogs are permitted on most of the trails. As for the climbing, rock grades range in difficulty from nice and easy (5.0) to about as difficult as climbs can be found (5.14b). Maintained by the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks System, this park is a slice of mountain heaven every resident of the Boulder – Broomfield area should check out at least once.
Chautauqua Park is beautiful during all seasons, and takes the hiker through a range of diverse landscape. Rewarding views can be had from all corners, rock faces, and peaks in the park. Residents of downtown Boulder can typically be at the Chautauqua Trailhead within five minutes of leaving home.
Eldorado Canyon State Park
Another natural treasure situated in Boulder’s backyard is Eldorado Canyon State Park. The park’s stunning natural beauty and remote feel made it popular among high-flying celebrities in the early 20th century. For a time Eldorado Canyon was best known as the site of the 580-foot-high tightrope walk acrobat extraordinaire Ivy Baldwin made on his 82nd birthday. Frequently ranked on lists of top state parks in not only Colorado but the United States as a whole, Eldorado Canyon State Park is another place you could visit hundreds of times without taking the same hiking or climbing route.
The perfect blend of proximity and natural beauty draw all types of residents from Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, and beyond. The park’s biggest fan base, however, can probably be found in the climbing community. More than 500 technical routes offer climbers a chance to put their skills to the test time and time again. Even if a climber tackles all possible technical routes at the park, the first one he or she completes will, in all likelihood, seem new by the time the climber gets around to giving it another go.
Climbing, hiking, fishing, and horseback riding are available year-round, with snowshoeing and skiing also available in the winter.
Pearl Street Outdoors
If you want to enjoy the fresh air and abundant sunshine for which Boulder is known but aren’t looking to flex your muscles against dirt trails and craggy rocks, spend a day dining, window shopping, and people watching on the historic Pearl Street Mall. There is rarely a dull moment on Boulder’s prime walking and shopping street, and the views of the surrounding area are nice enough to remind you that you are surrounded by natural beauty. If you are like most Pearl Street strollers, you will also relish the opportunity to support local businesses who have mastered their crafts.
With the Flatirons as its immediate backdrop, the Rockies beyond, and an active, talented population making all sorts of things happen in a range of industries, it’s easy to see why Boulder residents have such a high quality of life. Are you a part of the Boulder – Broomfield community who has yet to get up close and personal with the Flatirons in Chautauqua Park or cast a line at Eldorado Canyon State Park? What are you waiting for? Get out there and have fun while getting fit. It’s easy to Live Life + Love Life in Boulder.
What is your favorite place to enjoy the outdoors in or around Boulder? Share with us by leaving a comment below!