Tubing down Boulder Creek under a canopy of cottonwoods is a rite of summer in Boulder. Flowing year-round with icy Colorado snowmelt, the stream is bracingly cold even in summer — but feels great on a hot day. Depending on the month, it can be a raucous ride or a peaceful float.
Of course, careening down a waterway in an inner tube is not without its risks, so it’s important to use caution, choose a day when the water levels are right and bring the appropriate gear. Here’s a guide to help.
Put in at Eben G. Fine Park (map it) 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! For an easier trip, hop on at 6th Street or a few blocks east near Boulder Public Library.
Tubing usually runs from May to September, depending on the weather. Before you go, make sure to check the water levels on the Mile High Flood District website (look on the left of this page in the gray box under “Flow Rate”).
Here are some basic guidelines, though always use your own best judgment when it comes to your comfort level and safety.
The cozy Foot of the Mountain Motel is located near a popular put-in spot for tubing the creek, near Eben G. Fine Park. They begin renting tubes (to motel guests and non-guests alike) around mid-May.
Tube to Work Day is a cherished annual tradition that sees Boulderites don their best business attire and splash into Boulder Creek to tube right through downtown. The event starts at Eben G. Fine Park, but you can catch the view of the hilarious action (e.g. spectators dangling breakfast from atop bridges for tubers to grab) anywhere along the creek near downtown. It happens in mid-July, and you’re welcome to join in (but register first).