If you’re new to Boulder, you’re likely excited and maybe a little intimidated by the overwhelming number of outdoor recreation opportunities here. The City of Boulder is comprised of 45,000 acres of open space while Boulder County boasts over 63,000 acres of open space. This land provides miles and miles of trails for hiking, running, and biking. It’s an immense playground for residents and visitors of all ages. But when everyone and everything is unfamiliar, it can be hard to know where to start.
Fortunately (and not surprisingly), Boulder is home to countless meetup-style groups geared toward getting you outside. Simply choose your activity, pick a group, select an event, and go. And in Boulder, we know there’s no better way to meet people and build relationships than while playing outside. Find your tribe and your outdoor vibe, and you’ll be feeling like a native in no time.
Read on for a selection of outdoorsy meetup groups that are ideal for newcomers. Each group is free or inexpensive to join, offers beginner-level or all-level activities, and hosts the majority of their events in the City of Boulder or Boulder County.
Walking is arguably the best way to explore a new city. It’s also very conducive to conversation. The simple act of walking can foster deep connections with the people and places around you. Join these walking groups to stretch your legs, make new friends, and learn more about Boulder.
Boulder Ramblers is the Boulder area chapter of the Colorado-based Walk2Connect. The group is free and open to all ages. Their trained volunteers lead a variety of hikes at locations throughout Boulder County.
Boulder Walks is a community walking program offered by the City of Boulder through the GO Boulder initiative. Their series of “walkabouts” provides an opportunity to connect with neighbors and community members while learning more about Boulder’s beautiful neighborhoods. Check out their “Jane’s Walks” events coming up in May.
Boulderites hike like other people breathe air or drink water. It’s just what we do. And yet, that which comes so naturally to locals can be very daunting to newcomers. Questions like “Where do I go?” and “What if I get lost?” can keep beginners from venturing out. Hiking groups provide safety in numbers and the opportunity to learn from those with more experience.
Boulder Social Hikers is a well-established, all-ages group offering a variety of local hikes. Whether you’re looking for leisurely strolls or big climbs, this co-ed hiking club has something for everyone.
Boulder CHAOS is a co-ed group for outdoors enthusiasts in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. CHAOS (Colorado Hiking and Outdoor Society) is primarily a hiking group, but you’ll also find opportunities for group bike rides, ski trips, and more. They host a monthly potluck so you can socialize with your new friends in street clothes as well.
Boulder Hiker Chicks is an all-ages women’s hiking group that organizes several Boulder area hikes per month. Hikes range from easy to strenuous and are designed to span the range of the local trail system. Known for their trail shenanigans and post-hike parties, this group is ideal for women looking to make new friends while exploring new trails.
Hike it Baby (Boulder chapter) is a hiking group for parents and children ranging from birth to school age. They offer a variety of hikes that cater to a variety of ages and stages, including “toddler-led hikes.” Families can enjoy the trails in a pressure-free environment while connecting with each other and meeting new people.
Running is practically a religion in Boulder and it’s no wonder why. The high desert climate combined with endless trails and country roads makes it perfect for runners of all persuasions. Whether you’re training for a mountain ultra or just want to enjoy weekly jaunts around the neighborhood, there’s a group out there for you.
Running for Brews Boulder is a co-ed running club that proclaims running plus beer is “cheaper than therapy.” And who are we to disagree? Their Monday night 5K runs through the city are followed up with beer and food at West Flanders Brewing Co. The distance caters to a variety of levels and the social aspect is perfect for newcomers looking to connect.
Boulder CO Moms/She Runs This Town is the local chapter of Moms Run This Town and it’s not just for moms. This friendly and inclusive all-women’s group offers road and trail runs for all ages and levels.
Boulder Women’s Running Club wants you to join them for “runs, jogs, hikes, coffee, walking, and talking!” The bulk of their runs are between 3-6 miles though they offer longer runs, too. Known for their open and welcoming culture, women from pros to newbies will feel right at home with these gals.
Cycling and mountain biking is an incredible way to explore Boulder’s backyard. Some of the sports’ most accomplished athletes live and train here, but you don’t have to be a pro to hit the pavement or the trail. These groups offer a variety of group rides along with clinics to amp up your knowledge and skills. You’ll be flying down Flagstaff Road or tackling the twists and turns of Walker Ranch before you know it.
Boulder Cycling Club offers 25-35 mile rides on Tuesday evenings leaving from Boulder Beer Pub & Brewhouse and 30-40 mile rides on Saturday mornings (with a coffee break!) leaving from Bicycle Village. The club recommends the Saturday rides for slower riders.
Boulder Mountainbike Alliance organizes a wide variety of group rides, classes, and clinics for all levels and all ages. They also advocate for trail access and work with the City and County to build and maintain trails.
The Thursday Night Cruiser Ride is one of Boulder’s longest standing traditions. Pacing, schmacing. This weekly ride is about crazy costumes, light-up accessories, and spreading good cheer. Fancy bikes need not apply. Bring your one-speed and get ready to shout “Happy Thursday!” as you cruise through downtown Boulder in the midst of this party-on-wheels.