Explore Boulder: The Boulder Creek Path

boulder creek path

Whether you’re a local or a tourist, one of the best ways to experience Boulder is with a walk or bike along the Boulder Creek Path. This 5.5 mile urban trail follows the creek as it winds from the mouth of Boulder Canyon, through the central part of town, and out toward the plains.

Along the way, it passes several cultural and historic landmarks while offering up beautiful views of the creek, the city, and the mountains. Hop on your bike or lace up your shoes and get ready to explore the heart of Boulder – past, present, and future.

Since the early 1900’s, Boulderites have understood the importance of preserving land for both conservation and public recreation. The areas surrounding Boulder Creek are no exception. Over the years, parcels have been purchased by the city in the form of parks and open space.

It wasn’t until the 1980’s, however, that the Boulder Creek Path was built. A walk along the creek path is like a walk back in time, as it highlights so many of the people, places, and events in our city’s history.

Today, the Boulder Creek Path is many things to many people. We use the path for meeting up, recreating, commuting, finding solitude, and connecting with nature. There are countless ways to use and enjoy this treasured urban trail. Not sure how to narrow it all down into one perfect day?

Below are 3 customizable itineraries to send you on your way.

3 Perfect Days on Boulder Creek Path

The Family Day

Family fun is limitless on the creek path. Begin at Settler’s Park for a one-mile, all-level hike on Red Rocks Trail. If you’ve got some mini-daredevils in your crew, allow time for rock scrambling at the top of the trail.

Return to the path, head south over the bridge, and spend some time at Eben G. Fine Park. Hot and tired kiddos can refresh themselves in the creek and then play on the playground.

boulder creek path 2

Walk or bike east for 0.8 miles. Stop at Alfalfa’s Market to stock up on cold drinks and food. Continue east and enjoy a picnic lunch at Central Park. On the return ride to your starting point, a stop at the public library is both well earned and convenient. The kids will want nothing more than to lounge with a good book after such an action-packed day.

Extra credit: The newly rebuilt and reopened The Evert Pierson Kids’ Fishing Pond would make a lovely addition to any family day on the creek path. You’ll pass it on the right as you travel from Eben G. Fine Park to Central Park.

The Out-of-Towners’ Day

Got visitors looking for stuff to do? No problem. The creek path has you covered. Set aside a Wednesday or Saturday for this outing, and then you can include the Farmer’s Market.

Begin at the market, where you could easily spend hours if you wanted. Your visitors will love the local scene with live music, people watching, and delicious homegrown food.

boulder creek path 3

From there, walk or bike east for a ½ mile. Turn right to detour off the main path and explore the University of Colorado campus. Incredible architecture and some of the state’s oldest deciduous trees make for a beautiful ride through the historic grounds. Explore to your heart’s content and then return to the main path.

Continue on for approximately one mile to Scott Carpenter Park. This is an excellent opportunity to introduce your visitors to one of our most celebrated locals and enjoy all the park has to offer. Relax on the grassy hillside, splash in the creek, or dive into the pool.

If you’re returning to where you started, finish your day with a cocktail at The Riverside Café, located just west of the Farmer’s Market. Their outdoor patio overlooking the creek is the perfect spot to rehash the day’s activities.

The Athlete’s Day

The creek path offers several heart-pumping options for those who want to challenge themselves and see the sights of Boulder while doing so.

At its simplest, this day could entail running or biking the length of the path. Several offshoots provide opportunities to explore and lengthen your journey.

To add some cross training to your itinerary, head west on the path beyond the mouth of the canyon. As you leave the city and enter the canyon, the path changes from paved to dirt and the views change from nice to WOW.

If scrambling and climbing is your bag, head to Elephant Buttress and The Dome, just north of the creek path. If mountain biking calls you, head farther west into the canyon to the Betasso Link Trail, turn right, and continue on to Betasso Preserve. (Note: Betasso is closed to bikes on Wednesdays and Saturdays.)

At the end of your adventure, head east back to town. Enjoy a quick jump in the creek at Eben G. Fine Park to soothe your muscles. Then towel off, get back on the path, and head downtown for a celebratory beer.

Photo Credit: Alli Fronzaglia for YourBoulder.com — all rights reserved.

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Alli Fronzaglia

Alli Fronzaglia

Alli Fronzaglia is a hiking guide, naturalist, and community volunteer. Originally from New England, she and her family have settled down in Boulder for the long haul. When she's not hiking or running on Boulder's trails, Alli is hitting the water with her standup paddleboard. She writes to inspire others to get outside and play. Alli serves on the board of the PLAY Boulder Foundation and she's the co-founder of Boulder Hiker Chicks.
Alli Fronzaglia

Alli Fronzaglia

Alli Fronzaglia is a hiking guide, naturalist, and community volunteer. Originally from New England, she and her family have settled down in Boulder for the long haul. When she's not hiking or running on Boulder's trails, Alli is hitting the water with her standup paddleboard. She writes to inspire others to get outside and play. Alli serves on the board of the PLAY Boulder Foundation and she's the co-founder of Boulder Hiker Chicks.

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