Please pass the organic, vegetarian-fed, locally raised, free-range turkey (or tokurfy) – Thanksgiving is nearly here, Boulderites! With full bellies and full hearts, it’s that time of year when we give thanks and celebrate with friends and family.
Whether you’re a guest or the host, you may be looking for Thanksgiving Day activities that go beyond binge eating and sitting on the couch. (Not that there’s anything wrong with binge eating and sitting on the couch.) Ten hours of togetherness is a lot without any diversions, and it’s going to feel a lot longer if somebody brings up the election. Fear not, Boulderites, because we have hundreds of trails at our boot tips and for that we are thankful! When the revelers become restless, it’s time to redirect them toward the trails.
Your Thanksgiving crew is probably a mixed bag. You need a hike that will suit everyone – kids, grandparents, locals, out-of-towners, and more. It’s a tall order, but don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. You keep working on that stuffing recipe (it’s going to be great!) and let us handle the hikes.
Note: Weather and trail conditions change quickly this time of year. Use caution when heading out in inclement weather. Wear or bring warm mid layers, a waterproof outer layer, and extra food and water. Icy and/or snowy trails may require foot traction.
The following hikes feature little to no elevation gain and are appropriate for most fitness levels. All trailheads are within a 15-minute drive of downtown Boulder and offer ample parking. Before heading out, please consult www.osmp.org for trail conditions and temporary closures.
Boulder Valley Ranch (2.7 miles)
With its well-maintained trails and views spanning from the mountains to the plains, this North Boulder hike will leave everyone feeling thankful. Listen for prairie dogs peeping nearby. Look up to find hawks and owls perched in the cottonwood and willow trees. A small pond on the east end of the loop provides a great spot for photos. Extra credit: For a longer hike, take Eagle Trail out west and add the loop around Mesa Reservoir.
Flatirons Vista Loop (3.5 miles)
This aptly named hike in South Boulder features incredible views of the Boulder range. It also offers an interesting variety of terrain, as you make your way through forest, meadow, and riparian zones. Keep your eyes and ears open for birds – chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers are plentiful here. The trail is a little rocky in sections but easy going. Be aware that this is a multi-use trail and bikes are permitted. Extra credit: For a longer hike, take the Doudy Draw connection and add Spring Brook Loop.
Sawhill Ponds (2 miles)
It’s hard to believe that this pristine wetland habitat is the former site of a gravel mining operation. Bursting with wildlife and scenic panoramas, Sawhill Ponds is a real crowd pleaser. Its quiet, peaceful trails are perfect for clearing your head or sharing deep thoughts. There are actually 18 ponds at Sawhill and the trails that wind around them provide lots of opportunity for exploration. Picnic tables near the trailhead are ideal for sitting with a warm drink. For a longer hike, connect to the adjacent trails at Walden Ponds.
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Trails, Boulderites!