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    Road Trip to Boulder

    An Urban + Nature Itinerary

    Hop in your car, pack some goodies and hit the road! You’re headed to Boulder for some urban-meets-nature fun. 

    "Boulder, Colorado may have perfected the urban/outdoors balance: it’s close to Denver for big-city benefits, it has its own smaller city personality, but then it focuses on outdoor activity in every other way." — Lonely Planet

    Day 1: Local Favorites + Scenic Drives
    • Get an early start at the Boulder Farmers’ Market where you can get your provisions for the afternoon: cheese, bread, fruits, veggies and maybe some prepared foods from the food court.

    Boulder Farmers

    • Take a 20-minute drive to reach Eldorado Canyon State Park — take Hwy. 93 south to Eldorado Springs Drive — and set off on a trail through sandstone cliffs or along South Boulder Creek to find your perfect picnic spot among the pine trees and golden rock walls. If it's a summer weekend, parking fills up and you risk being turned away at the gate. Instead, you'll want to ride the free Eldo Shuttle, which runs on summer weekends. 

    Eldorado Canyon State Park

    • Feeling up for a scenic drive? Take a jaunt up Coal Creek Canyon and return to Boulder via Gross Dam Road and famously scenic Flagstaff Road. This will take you at least a couple of hours, depending on how often you stop to explore. Here’s a map
    • Along the way, you may want to gaze across Gross Reservoir, try the popular hiking and biking trails at Walker Ranch Loop, or stop at Sunrise Amphitheater or Panorama Point on Flagstaff Mountain, which overlook all of Boulder.
    Late Afternoon

    Boulder Book Store

    • Sit and sip a latte at OZO Coffee, or wander down to East Pearl Street and hit up Boxcar for finely crafted coffee.  
    • On the way, stop to admire the historic Boulder Theater and the old county courthouse for their art deco architecture, and pop into Art Source International to view historical photos of Boulder, old maps and retro posters.
    Day 2: Views, Brews and Big-Name Chefs
    • Begin with a delicious breakfast on the veranda of the historic Chautauqua Dining Hall, whose owners also run a local farm that helps supply the restaurant with fresh picks for their delicious farm-to-fork cuisine.
    • Take a few steps from the restaurant and you’re at the foot of Boulder’s famous Flatirons. Burn off the morning’s calories with a Chautauqua hike, or simply sprawl out on the grass and admire the view from Chautauqua Park.

    Selfie at Flatirons

    • An e-bike ride will have you zooming through Boulder with ease. Go on a tour with Beyond Boulder Bike Adventures, Pedego or JD's Joyrides
    • Try out the Boulder lifestyle and grab lunch at Fresh Thymes (incredible-tasting, locally sourced, “clean” and organic foods) or Leaf (completely vegetarian and completely delicious). 
    Late Afternoon

    Blackbelly Market

    Add-on: Rocky Mountain National Park
    • Boulder is just an hour from Rocky Mountain National Park, so if it fits in your schedule, adding on a day (or a few) to explore the park’s majesty-filled landscape is well worth it. Click here for timed-entry information.
    • Follow Hwy. 36 north toward the town of Lyons, worth a stop for its cute cafes, shops and the landmark Oskar Blues Grill and Brew.
    • Continue on to Estes Park, a charming tourist destination with a bustling downtown filled with fudge and ice cream shops, cute boutiques and spectacular views.  
    • You’re now just minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park, with its crystalline lakes, fragrant ponderosa pine forests and sprawling meadows. Hike, picnic, drive Trail Ridge Road, spot wildlife and enjoy the spectacular terrain. Check reservation information in advance, and please be aware dogs are not permitted in the park. Here's a map.
    • Another option is to take the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway on your return from Estes Park. It's one of the most gorgeous drives in the region with tons to explore along the way.