Weekend getaway: 5 reasons to explore Boulder, Colorado on an outdoor weekend

View from Flagstaff mountain in Boulder Colorado

If you’re looking for a destination that blends beautiful scenery with unparalleled cuisine and rich cultural heritage, look no further than Boulder, Colorado. Here are our top 4 reasons you should consider Boulder for your next outdoor adventure:

 

1 Fascinating History

It was first settled in 1858, about 18 years before Colorado became a state. Since then the city has grown to be one of the most significant and populous ones in the state. Located just 25 miles northeast of Denver, Boulder is easy to get to no matter where you’re traveling from. 

One of the most popular cities in the Centennial State, Boulder has a lot to offer. If you’re planning a cycling weekend or a vacation of any kind, this is a great destination to consider. The region boasts many cycling trails of varying difficulty and offers many other activities to enjoy as well.

 

2 Great Food and Drink

Boulder is well-known for organic and healthy food, so if you’re a health-conscious person you’ll be able to find plenty of incredible food to eat. Additionally, there is an abundance of craft breweries - Boulder has been referred to as the ‘Napa Valley of Beer’.

Avery Brewing Company has been creating exceptional brews since 1993 when they first formed. They have a selection of core beers that are available throughout the year such as their award-winning White Rascal Belgian-Style White Ale. Seasonal specials may also be available, so be sure to check them out too.

Grab a bite to eat at Flagstaff House Restaurant, which is a family-owned and operated restaurant that has been open for over 65 years. When you eat here, you can enjoy the incredible food and wine while also enjoying stunning views of the area.

Another great restaurant in the area is The Kitchen, where you can enjoy farm-to-table fare in a sophisticated yet warm and inviting dining room. 

 

3 Outstanding Trails

Boulder is also home to a thriving outdoor recreation scene, and heading outside for your own outdoor adventure is always a popular pastime. You can go camping, biking, and hiking. There are many beautiful hiking trails you’ll want to try to make time for when you’re in the area. 

 

Rattlesnake Gulch Trail

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 3.6 miles
  • Time Needed: 2 hours
  • Trail type: Out and Back

Rattlesnake Gulch Trail is a great option for your first hike in the area. It’s short and not too steep, and is often mildly busy so you have less of a chance of being completely alone for long periods of time. Depending on who you are, this can be a pro or a con. If you are traveling with a dog, this is also a great trail as they are allowed to hike with you as long as they are kept on a leash.

 

Mt. Sanitas

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Distance: 3.2 miles
  • Time Needed: 2 hours
  • Trail Type: Loop

This trail is a great option if you’re looking for a challenge. It’s a shorter route but is rated as hard due to the changes in elevation throughout the trail in addition to the changing terrain. There are a few points along the way where the trail is very steep. This trail wouldn’t be considered beginner-friendly but is popular with many - note that the parking lot fills up on nicer days.

 

Chautauqua Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 1.2 miles
  • Time Needed: 1 hour
  • Trail type: Out and Back

The Chautauqua Trail is a great route for exploring both the environmental and historical heritage of the region. As you hike you will come across various historic structures from the early 1900s onwards. You’ll be able to see an old rock quarry and learn about the different uses for the area throughout history. For example, you can learn about and see a post-WWII ski jump that was once placed in the area.


Betasso Preserve Canyon Loop Trail

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 3.3 miles
  • Time Needed: 2 hours
  • Trail Type: Loop
The Canyon Loop Trail is one of two at Betasso Preserve and is an easy trail as long as there are no extreme weather conditions. If it’s recently snowed, there may be some patches of ice throughout. This is a hiking trail that usually allows bikes, but there are certain hours where the trail is bike-free, so if you are interested in hiking during these hours be sure to check the calendar ahead of time.

    4 Scenic Bicycle Rides

    As Boulder is a great spot for cycling trips, there is a huge selection of beautiful routes for you to pick from. Here is a selection of three rides at varying levels of difficulty that are popular options:

    NCAR Climb

    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Distance: 2 miles
    The NCAR Climb is an easy route that is doable for most cyclists. It’s a gentle and short route, and at the end, you are rewarded with incredible views

     

    Olde Stage Road

    • Difficulty: Moderate
    • Distance: 12.5 miles
    Olde Stage Road is a popular route and if you give it a try, you’ll see why. This is a great option if you’re looking for a relaxing ride surrounded by beautiful scenery. Although it is considered more moderate than the NCAR Climb, it’s not significantly steeper - the challenge comes from its length. 

     

    Lee Hill Road/Left Hand Canyon

    • Difficulty: Hard 
    • Distance: 17.3 miles
    This route is considerably more challenging than the others listed here due to the sustained climb that you’ll experience throughout most of the route. Like the other rides on this list, you’ll be immersed in a stunning landscape as you ride, but with this route, you’ll be met with more of a challenge.

       

      5 Easy to get there

      For anyone living in Colorado, the most direct route from Denver to Boulder is via U.S. Hwy 36, which connects to I-25, the north-south interstate highway through Denver. You'll take I-25 north or south depending on your starting point to Hwy 36 and then continue on the Boulder Turnpike all the way into the city limits.

      If you live out of state, or your concerned about local winter driving conditions, you can find out how long it will take you to get to Boulder in a couple clicks right here!

       

      Get out there!

      Boulder, Colorado is perfect for a weekend getaway for anyone, but if you’re into the outdoors and cycling the region holds a specific charm. The restaurants, trails, and breweries mentioned here are just some of the many incredible options that Boulder has to offer.

      When you plan your Boulder outdoor or cycling weekend getaway, you’ll have plenty of choice, so you’ll be able to pick an adventure itinerary that is perfectly suited to you!