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Boulder, Colorado, is an adventure lover's dream all year round, but not everything here has to be fast-paced and frantic. From casual strolls down Pearl Street in search of a cosy restaurant, to capturing sunrise from a hot air balloon, Boulder has it all. Here are our top 10 things to do in the great outdoors.
1. Try a bit of rock climbing
It’s not called Boulder for nothing – the vast array of rocks in these parts means finding a place to climb is easy. You can find a list of places here that will help you take in the sights too – from the Flatirons, which loom over Boulder itself, to Eldorado Canyon and beyond.
2. Strap on the ice-skates
WinterSkate has been letting people bring out their inner Torvill and Dean since 1999 and is a big hit with visitors as well as locals. Head down to WinterSkate, pick up some hot chocolate and be an observer at the Twenty Ninth Street Mall, or strap those skates on yourself and give it a spin.
3. Ride a horse with Rocky Mountain views
There can’t be anything more fun than galloping on a horse across acres of spectacular fields with the Rocky Mountains all around you. Singletree Farm, just 10 minutes east of Boulder, has two outdoor arenas and a galloping track around a hay field. You'll be itching to get in the saddle and ride through those pumpkin patches.
4. Fish for your supper
Boulder Creek gushes from an altitude of over 13,000 feet down to Boulder itself, and its surroundings are home to everything from grasshoppers and beetles to its black crappie, yellow perch and much-sought-after wild trout. Take a look at the Boulder Creek Watershed Map and Angling Guide. It'll help you pick some great fishing locations.
5. Tee off to wonderful views
The Flatirons Golf Course is a popular place to practise getting those holes in one. This 18-hole, par 70 course off Arapahoe Avenue offers golfing lessons, a pro shop and a Gateway Park Fun Centre. There are even complimentary clubs.
6. See Boulder from a balloon
Nothing beats the thrill of getting a bird’s eye view of a beautiful place. Adventure Balloon Sports will take you up, up and away in the early morning with coffee, tea and a champagne toast once you’re in the air. The Rocky Mountains have never looked so spectacular.
7. Kick back in a kayak
The Eben G. Fine Park is a fabulous family place to enjoy a bit of gentle kayaking. You’ll have a 20-slalom-gate course to explore at your leisure and you can rent kayaks from the nearby Colorado Water Sport. If the weather’s nice you can wade in – don’t forget your swimmers.
8. Ski at Snowmass Village
Snowmass Village is a cute spot to head to from Boulder and the whole family will love exploring what was once a ranching community, spun magically into a destination resort. Hiding away in the Brush Creek Valley, Snowmass’s ski area is the largest of the four Aspen Snowmass mountains and if you need to get really off-piste, there are walking, cycling and hiking trails galore.
9. Get back to nature and camp
Once you’ve checked out of your luxurious hotel, it’ll be high time to get back to nature. The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in the Boulder Ranger District has lots of space for tents as well as RVs, so you can hike, bike and drive, wake up early by an iridescent lake and sip a coffee in what feels like the wilderness.
10. Base yourself wisely
Stay at Millennium Harvest House Boulder, perfectly situated by some lovely hiking trails, as well as the historic and very hip Pearl Street Mall. Here you’ll find a host of lovely restaurants willing to warm you up at the end of a long day. When you're done? Simply stroll back to your modern suite and plan another day of adventure before the sun sets over those ravishing Rocky Mountains.
For more travel adventures, check out these ideas.