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Where to Watch the Sunset in Boulder

What is a vacation for if not slowing down, paying attention to the daily rhythms of nature and simply watching the sunset after a day of explorations? In Boulder, the mountains are poised perfectly on the west side of town, so you can often catch breathtaking silhouettes as the sun goes down behind them.

Check out our list of the best spots for sunset-watching in Boulder, then grab a seat and enjoy the Flatirons views as Mother Nature paints the sky with reds, pinks, yellows and gold. 

Radiant Rooftops

A sunset pairs better with a slow-sipping beverage, don’t you think? Head to a rooftop restaurant or bar for a relaxing sunset-watching sesh.

There are several choices downtown: At Rosetta Hall or Avanti F&B, order from one of several mini restaurants and then head up to the rooftops to enjoy your food and drink with astounding vistas. Try Corrida's fine Spanish cuisine paired with unbelievable Flatirons views (named in Jetsetter's best places to drink with a view). Relax at the Rio Grande for margaritas that pack a punch (there’s a per-person limit of three!) and toast the Flatirons. Or experience the West End Tavern’s prized mountain panoramas, burgers and whiskey.

Panorama-Ready Parks

There’s nothing like spreading a blanket out on the grass and enjoying nature’s best show! At Chautauqua Park, your view will include Boulder’s Flatirons, some of the town's earliest historic buildings and maybe even some tunes floating out of the Chautauqua Auditorium. Want a less obvious spot? Legion Park is in a more industrial neighborhood but has some of the most interesting views of Valmont Reservoir, the smokestacks of the power station, the Flatirons, and taller peaks beyond, with a handy peak-identifying signage on site. From Harlow Platts Community Park, you’ll have unfettered vistas of Viele Lake and the Flatirons — plus you could even play a round of disc golf during golden hour. 

Summer Weekend Shuttle

On summer weekends, Memorial Day-Labor Day, you can take a free shuttle to Chautauqua Park and avoid parking woes (and fees). Learn more.

Best Benches

Key to a great sunset-watching experience is a place to sit, relax and take it all in. Boulder’s peppered with benches for just this purpose and even has a Benches of Boulder Instagram account. A few of our favorites are found at Coot Lake, which has a small, wooden pier and bench at the water’s edge; the Walter Orr Roberts Weather Trail at the NCAR Trailhead, with a stone bench boasting epic views of the southernmost Boulder foothills; or atop Bald Mountain Trail, where a single bench beside a ponderosa pine makes quite the storybook scene.

Not to Be Overlooked

Lost Gulch Overlook

If it’s pink hues and dramatic, snow-capped mountain ranges you want, head to this photo-worthy spot on the other side of the summit of Flagstaff Mountain. Granite boulders and piney foothills set the foreground while snowy 13,000-foot peaks create a lacey horizon in the distance. At sunset, the area is bathed in pastel hues. Interpretive signage helps you identify the mountains in your field of view. 
Parking: Fee for vehicles not registered in Boulder County; purchase online at Parkmobile
Drive time from Boulder: 15 minutes

Sunshine Canyon Road Viewpoint

Boulder’s Sunshine Canyon is a scenic route in itself, but there’s a pullout about nine miles up that is especially worth the meandering, partially unpaved drive. The viewpoint has wind-twisted pine trees framing a view looking west to Sawtooth and Red Deer Mountains, along with other summits in the Indian Peaks range. Grab a boulder for a seat and watch the sun dip below the jagged horizon.
Parking: Free
Drive time from Boulder: 25 minutes

Drive Wisely

Please use caution when driving mountain roads. It's best to download a map before you leave in case you go into areas with no cell coverage. In winter, ensure you have snow tires or chains. And if you need to take a moment to enjoy the scenery or consult your map, pull over in a safe, out-of-the-way spot.

Hwy. 93 Foothills Highway Lookout

Close to the foothills on the south side of town, the light just seems to be more shimmery and golden at sunset. And along Highway 93 (Foothills Highway), the northward-looking panoramas of Boulder are some of the most unique, providing perspectives of the foothills. You’ll see the Flatirons in their full, dramatically slanting glory and an undulating valley that is bright green in springtime and flaxen yellow the rest of the year. 
Parking: Free
Drive time from Boulder: 10 minutes

Davidson Mesa Scenic Overlook

If it’s a panoramic sunset view of the city and mountains you want, head to this overlook that’s on the east edge of town to look westward. It's on your way into town on Hwy. 36, so if you're arriving around sunset, pull over and treat yourself to a sparkling view, knowing the city below is yours to explore. The sweeping vistas here tend to be visitor favorites, encompassing the Flatirons, the university campus, the Rocky Mountains and rolling farmland. Benches, interpretive signs and free observation viewfinders help you take it all in, and a self-serve kiosk is stocked with brochures year-round. 
Parking: Free
Drive time from Boulder: 10 minutes

Peak Patio Peeping

Boulder's mastered the art of patio time, and a sunset makes it all the sweeter.  A few notable Boulder patios include Sanitas Brewing's west-facing back deck; the spacious, uncluttered Wild Provisions Beer Project terrace; VisionQuest Brewing's unfussy, high-vibe outdoor space; the close-to-the-foothills courtyard at Southern Sun; and Rayback Collective, a food truck park with a large yard and Adirondack chairs made for sunset watching.

Rayback Collective