Bear Peak offers the best 360 degree open views of Boulder and the surrounding Rocky Mountains while South Boulder Peak is the highest mountain in the Boulder Parks network. Both can be hiked in a single outing on good trails. If you're in town for just a day and want an epic adventure within the people's Republic, this is your hike!
If you can manage it, this is a great hike to leave a car (or bike) at one trailhead so you don't have to loop back. The distance between trailheads isn't that far, so it's worth considering. Start the day from NCAR (the National Center for Atmospheric Research) where you will get on the Mesa Trail and head south. The well-signed matrix of trails can be a bit confusing until you reach the broad road that temporarily contains the Mesa Trail. Follow the Mesa...read more
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This technical rock climbing and bouldering haven is also popular among mountain bikers and hikers. Many visitors make the 8-mile trip from Boulder to rejuvenate among the dramatic rock faces, forested hills and clear mountain streams. Others come to watch the climbers or enjoy a sunny picnic. Several short hikes suitable for people of most physical abilities produce even greater panoramic views. Check with the gatehouse for current trail information.
The Boulder Ranger District of the Roosevelt National Forest contains the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Area attractions include the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, the Eldora Ski Resort and the Brainard Lake/St. Vrain Recreation Area.
This area offers plenty of recreational activities from mountain biking, climbing (both rock and ice), hiking, fishing and sightseeing along the Peak to Peak Highway. Winter activities include skiing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
The Boulder Ranger District is located just west of Boulder in the Rocky Mountains. The main route of travel through this area is the Peak to Peak Highway. This consists of Colorado State Road 119 from U.S. Highway 70 to Boulder and Colorado State Road 72 from Nederland to Estes Park.
Inspired by the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park, I. M. Pei designed this striking pink-sandstone building, which overlooks Boulder from high atop Table Mesa in the southwestern foothills. (You might recognize the center from Woody Allen's Sleeper; scenes were shot here.) Scientists study such phenomena as the greenhouse effect, wind shear, and ozone depletion to gain a better understanding of the earth's atmosphere. Among the technological tools on display are satellites, weather balloons, interactive computer monitors, robots, and supercomputers that can simulate the world's climate. There are also hands-on, weather-oriented exhibits and a theater. The Walter Orr Roberts Weather Trail outside the building's west doors takes visitors on a .4-mile, wheelchair-accessible loop along a path with interpretive signs describing various aspects of weather and climate plus the plants and animals of the area. The center also houses a changing art exhibit and a science-oriented gift shop. Allow 1 to 2 hours.