Convention & Visitors Bureau
2440 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302 | 303.442.2911
Boulder Creek runs right through the heart of the city and is a hub for outdoor recreation, markets, festivals and quiet reflection. Here are our top tips for enjoying the creek, plus a few can’t-miss events.
Boulder Creek Path hugs the water for over five miles, stretching from 55th Street in East Boulder all the way into Boulder Canyon in the west, winding through city parks, the CU campus and downtown Boulder. Whether you’re walking, blading, running or cycling, you’ll be in good company on this well-traveled track. The path is paved, except for the westernmost tip, which is gravel. It was named one of the top urban bike paths in the country by USA Today.
The grassy slopes leading down to the creek were practically made for picnicking, but you can also snag a table at one of the numerous parks along the Boulder Creek Path. Our favorite foodie ritual? Hitting the Boulder Farmers’ Market (just north of the creek on 13th Street between Canyon and Arapahoe) on Saturday morning or Wednesday evening for fresh-baked bread, local cheese and wine, and a sampling of in-season fruits to nibble on a blanket by the creek.
Splat rocks. Squirt lines. Slide drops. If these phrases mean anything to you, then kayaking Boulder Creek should be at the top of your list. Boulder’s whitewater kayak park is located in Eben G. Fine Park at 3rd and Arapahoe in the mouth of Boulder Canyon and includes a slalom course and an ender hole dubbed Widowmaker.
Boulder Creek was named one of the 10 best lazy rivers for tubing in the U.S. by Men’s Journal. Tubing down Boulder Creek is one of summer’s main attractions. Put in at Eben G. Fine Park and let the creek carry you as far as 55th Street. Just don’t expect a super-gentle float — this ride includes chutes and rapids! Helmet, life jacket and water shoes recommended. Check out our list of places to buy or rent tubes in town.
Feel like trying your hand at fly fishing? Pick up a license and scope out a spot on the creek for a leisurely day of catch-and-release fishing. Just make sure to watch out for tubers and kayakers! Little anglers (ages 12 and under) will love the Evert Pierson Kids’ Fishing Pond, located on Boulder Creek near 9th Street.
Okay, so you can’t actually dive into Boulder Creek, but you can definitely wade! You’ll find numerous spots for a quick dip along the creek, including Eben G. Fine Park and the area near the Boulder Farmers’ Market under Broadway. Dogs are also welcome to wade, so bring your pooch along (on leash) to cool off.
Boulder Creek is known for its stone-balancing artists, who stack creek rocks into seemingly gravity-defying towers above the current. The best places to catch these artists at work are the bridges between 9th and 13th Streets. As you walk along Boulder Creek Path, you’ll also find many murals painted under overpasses and on buildings, a sculpture garden just west of 9th Street, a Flood Monument near 13th Street, and the intricately carved and brightly painted Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, which is a work of art itself. Want more? Stop in next door for a visit to the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art.
Boulder Creek Festival: Each Memorial Day weekend, Boulder kicks off the summer with a weekend of music, dance, carnival rides, an arts and crafts market, food and drink, and a rubber duck race down the creek.
Boulder Outdoor Cinema: During the summer, Boulderites gather near the creek to watch films on a giant movie screen behind the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. Expect classics like The Princess Bride along with newer indie flicks like Grand Budapest Hotel.
Tube to Work Day: Boulderites don their best business attire and hit the creek in this yearly tubing tradition. The event usually takes place in mid-July, starting at Eben G. Fine Park, but you can catch the view of the action anywhere along the creek near downtown.
Boulder Creek Hometown Festival: All good things must come to an end, so Boulder sends off summer each year over Labor Day weekend with live performances, a 5K race, a chili cook-off, and the Great Zucchini Race. Yes, a zucchini race.