With the summer solstice in our rearview mirror and the hottest days of July ahead of us, it’s time to take advantage of the wealth of outdoor and other cultural activities that Boulder offers.
Visit the backside of the Indian Peaks
The Indian Peaks wilderness has long been a favorite beat-the-heat destination for Boulder residents, and with numerous peaks over 13,000 feet, it’s easy to find patches of snow lingering late into July (the area is also home to several glaciers, including
Both the 4th of July and Brainard Lake trailheads see most of the action on hot summer weekends, when throngs of hikers and tourists head for the hills. To avoid the crowds on day trips or shorter hikes, choose a different access point, like the Rainbow Lake Trailhead or the East Portal Trailhead, just west of Rollinsville.
Get trail information, maps and other advice from the U.S. Forest Service: www.fs.usda.gov
Hike Enchanted Mesa on a Sunday
Everyone loves a hike on the Mesa Trail, which is why you’ll see everyone from long-lost friends to aunts and uncles to that ex who done you wrong hiking on the Mesa Trail. Avoiding that ex as well as the chatty neighbor who just won’t shut up are two of the reasons to skip the Mesa on weekends and explore the trail complex of the Enchanted Mesa, which sits just to the southeast of Chautauqua. The other reasons include a nice variety of interconnecting loops, great views of the Flatirons and Boulder and the fact that everyone will be hiking someplace else.
Want to hike the Mesa Trail anyhow? Do it on a weekday or get going by 7 a.m. on weekends to avoid the crowds as well as to finish your hike before the temperatures rise.
Find maps, trail closures, and other advice here is at www.bouldercolorado.gov/osmp the off-limits-to-hikers-and-climbers Arapahoe Glacier, which provides Boulder’s drinking water). On weekends the trailheads on the eastern slope of the wilderness area can get packed with hikers and families out for a day trip. Our solution is to load up the backpack and drop over into the Indian Peak’s western slope or “backside.” Here, at lakes like Columbine Lake, you’ll find ample room to camp without the crowds, unsullied views and the kind of remote and lonely feelings that have become a rarity on the Indian’s eastern slope.
Stroll Pearl Street Mall in the late morning during a weekday
Pearl Street is one of Boulder’s gems, and thus gets plenty of traffic, from shoppers and businessmen to tourists. It’s crowded and hectic on weekends, but becomes a shaded, tranquil oasis on weekday mornings after the morning rush hour has faded and most folks are at work. Wander on down for a late morning coffee and some window shopping while enjoying the calm before the lunch business crowd floods the area.
Several of Boulder’s best coffee shops sit on the west end of Pearl Street, just west of the mall. Take your pick and grab the beverage of your choice to keep you company as you head east along the mall.
Information on shopping, events, parking and more from Downtown Boulder is at www.boulderdowntown.com
Do the Boulder Museum Walk
Get some exercise while also feeding your mind by taking in some history, culture and art in an easy walking loop that also takes in some of Boulder’s most interesting neighborhoods. Start your trip at the Charles A. Haertling Sculpture Park, located at Canyon and Ninth streets, which features works by Tom Miller, Beth Juliar-Skodje and Jerry Wingren, before heading south up Ninth to the Boulder History Museum located at 12th and Euclid. Here you’ll find exhibits ranging from the story of Boulder County from before European-American settlement up until the early 1900s to more recent history, including local contributions to the evolution of active wear. From here, walk on over to the University of Colorado Natural History Museum, located in the Henderson Building at 15th and Broadway. The museum features exhibits ranging from contemporary Native American Pottery to the latest scientific research being carried out by the Museum’s research sections.
Once you’ve absorbed the offerings there, head north and downhill back downtown to experience Boulder’s Museum of Contemporary Art (1750 13th St.) and let your senses be challenged by one of Colorado’s premier venues for contemporary art. The venue has a rotating cast of exhibitions, and is featuring work by Rafael Lozano- Hemmer, Manfred Mohr, R. Luke Dubois and Casey Reas until July 6.
After checking out the Natural History Museum, take a detour to one of Boulder’s most historic restaurants for a quick bite. The Sink (1165 13th St.) features the graffiti-style artwork of Mike Dormier and Llloyd Kavich and has been around — in one form or another — since 1923.
Check out each museum’s website for opening hours, current exhibits and other information.
Charles A. Haertling Sculpture Park: www.bouldercoloradousa.com Boulder History Museum: www.boulderhistory.org University of Colorado Natural History Museum: cumuseum.colorado.edu Museum of Contemporary Art: www.bmoca.org
Swim the Eldorado Springs Pool
Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower honeymooned at this historic resort, a mere 15-minute drive southwest of Boulder. Other notable visitors include heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey and actor Douglas Fairbanks. While the rich and famous don’t flock here much anymore, that’s no reason why you shouldn’t go. Fed by the famous Eldorado artesian spring, the pool is only open in summer and has been called one of Colorado’s best pools by the Denver Post.
Take your dip after checking out the hiking and climbing in adjacent Eldorado State Park. With several hiking trails and world-class climbing, this rugged canyon is home to a wide diversity of wildlife, including foxes, bears and mountain lions.
Learn more about the pool’s rich history as well as opening hours and other information at www.eldoradosprings.com.