Boulder, CO (and surrounding areas) things to do?
I'm heading to the Boulder / Broomfield area this Friday with my wife for a quick, long-weekend getaway. I was hoping some of you might know of some cool activites and places to eat.
We're going to do some hiking / exploring so if you have any day-trip ideas, please send them along. We're flat-landers from OH, so keep that in mind.
For eats...I'd prefer to go where the locals do. Pubs with good beer & grub (beef, fish, etc...).
This will be my 1st time in the western mtns in the summertime and I'm really looking forward to it!
I went there when I was a kid with my family to visit my cousin who was going to school @ UC Boulder. The only thing I remember was he took us to a local favorite for the undergrads called The Sink.
Go to the NCAR parking lot and explore the system of trails behind it. There are miles of them ranging from relatively easy hikes at the base of the Flat Irons to the strenuous 9 mile loop up to the top of Bear Peak and back down. I walked up the canyon and ridge to the peak, then down Fern trail but if I did it again I would go up via Fern and back down the ridge and canyon. Depending on your fitness level and desire for challenge it may be a little more than your looking for, but the view and scenery are worth it.
There are tons of places to eat, but since I am a tourist there as well I will let some locals chime in for that.
Bear Mountain is a nice hike. It is fairly strenuous. Still, you can always take breaks and take you time. The climb up through Fern Canyon is a staircase but beautiful. jpb is right to climb up Fern Canyon to the peak then walk around the backside back down through Bear Canyon.
An easier hike in the Flatirons is to go to the Royal Arch. You would start from Chattaqua park which is just off of Baseline road against the foothills. Not as much climbing, though there is still plenty. Still it's a more gentle hike.
Overall though I'd advise to go higher. The Flatirons are in the Foothills and it's still pretty darn warm around here. The temps are more pleasant in Rocky Mountain National Park. The trails off of the Bear Lake trail head in the park will take you to gorgeous mountain lakes and easy to hike to peaks like Flattop mountain.
Another choice is the Indian Peaks. Nice hikes start from the Hessie and 4th of July trailheads. Plus you don't have to pay a fee as you do with the park to get in.
For either start fairly early. These are popular spots. Parking gets to be an issue fairly quickly on a weekend. I'd say try to be there by 8am. Make sure you bring food, water, and some extra clothes. Something for rain and to keep you warm. Another reason for the earlier start is to beat out thunderstorms. They do happen on a regular basis in the rockies, generally around 1pm is when they'll start. Try to be off any peaks or high ridges by then.
We'll get into Denver at 7am Friday morning so we have a full day, but I plan to take it easy that day since my wife has never been at elevation.
I definitely plan to visit RMNP one of full days and I'll do some research on the other places mentioned.
Thanks for the info!
1. Eat at Chez Thug
2. Hassle some trustafarians.
3. Get the fuck out of Boulder and spend the rest of your trip up in RMNP and the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
Boulder is a cool town. In small doses. With plenty of time in between.
We'll be staying in Broomfield, so any cool eateries in the general vicinity are game (even something on the way back from the park if they don't mind our smell!). Boulder just seemed like a convenient distance to go grab a bite.
I envision our days being early to the park(s) and hanging as long as the weather allows, then back for dinner and pool / hot tub lounging.
The Sink, Darkhorse, Southern Sun are decent spots in Boulder to grab a brew and a bite to eat. The Southern Sun brews their own beer. It is usually decent enough. The service kind of sucks there though and it's cash only. Still the food is decent and you get the full Boulder experience there.
The West End Tavern on the Pearl street mall is another decent spot.
Trip is done...too soon!
Back from the trip. What an awesome time!
Friday, we got into Broomfield around 9:30am. The Omni Interlocken allowed us to check in, so after a quick change we were off to NARC. We had a nice break-in hike and lunch at Southern Sun before heading back to the hotel mid-afternoon to relax by the pool and catch some zzz's. Just happened the 2011 Rocky Mountain Air Show and Fly-In was happening and the F16 & F-18 pulling some insane shiz had us in awe.
Saturday we woke refreshed and ready to hit RMNP. We started at the Bear Lake trailhead and hit Lake Haiyaha (to break away from the crowds). Then to Emerald Lake before heading back down. One of my personal highlights of the hike was reaching Lake Haiyaha and seeing snow patches just beyond/above the lake... so I set off solo to make my first ever August snowball!
After talking with a couple of the volunteers Saturday, we set off to make Black Lake on Sunday from the Glacier Gorge trailhead. Mills and Jewel Lakes were awesome and frame Spearhead for some awesome pix, but the best part of the hike starts just beyond...the 2.2 miles to Black Lake. This is exactly the type of hike we were looking for...solitary, quite, beautiful. I'm not gonna lie, the last 1/2 mile we could really feel the altitude kicking us (we live at ~750'), but we pushed thru and were greatly rewarded by the beauty of Black Lake and it's surroundings. The trip down we were fortunate (seriously) to catch a little rain shower (we were prepared). The sunlight glistening off the rain soaked walls changes to scenery entirely.
We had a great time and I want to thank you guys for offering the suggestions. The tips came in handy and were put to good use.
Next trip...back to Park City in late Feb!
Paul (and Kerri)
Glad you had a good time. RMNP is pretty dang spectacular. Fun backcountry snowboarding in winter at some of those spots you hiked too.
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