With more than 100 restaurants, from Abo’s to Zolo, and with countless trails spidering through the foothills of the Front Range, Boulder has no shortage of ways to participate in two of our most favorite activities: eating and recreating.
Still, the choices can be overwhelming. Grab a breakfast burrito and hit the hills? Or, enter the day leisurely with an extra cup of coffee and a simple stroll along Boulder Creek?
To help longtime Boulder residents and first-time visitors alike, we’ve taken your daily caloric need (2,000 for women, 2,500 for men, plus extra for all the activity; individual tallies at eateries, parks and trails are estimates only) and matched it with opportunities for hiking, biking and more for this exclusive list of how to eat, complete a feat and repeat in one epic day.
BREAKFAST: At the Southside Walnut Cafe. A morning meal of huevos rancheros with a Boulder Latte starts the day with just the right tone for getting toned. Vegan soy cheese, free-range eggs and coconut milk as options? Naturally. Plus, the Walnut donates part of its profits to the Kirk Rocky Derichsweiler Memorial Foundation, which aims “to inspire and educate people about organ donation and living a healthy active lifestyle through biking, hiking and experiencing the outdoors, especially focusing on our youth.” Now: Put. Down. The. Coffee. Cup. Otherwise, your server will just keep refilling it with bottomless java after those 700-calorie huevos rancheros, cutting into your game of…
DISC GOLF: Yes, disc golf, otherwise known as Frisbee golf and the unofficial sport of many Western towns bucking the traditional version of the game. Disc golf tests not just your tossing ability, but also conviviality with fellow players. Plus, you won’t even notice you’re shedding 500 calories during a 2-hour session. Pick up cheap discs next to the Walnut at Play it Again Sports and find a nine-hole course at Harlow Platts Community Park, less than a 5-minute drive.
REFUEL: Why wait until the afternoon to enjoy a cold scoop of something just a little bit sugary? Replenish around 200 calories with creamy Vietnamese iced coffee, pistachio or salted caramel gelato at Gelato Boy (formerly Fior Gelato), which has two locations on Pearl Street. The story behind the shop is nearly as sweet as its offerings: An American boy named Bryce walked into a gelaterìa in Venice, Italy, and it was love at first sight with a girl named Giulia. They went together like cookies and cream — incidentally, one of Gelato Boy’s flavors — moved to Colorado, and the rest is history. Or the future, considering the craze for healthier ice cream alternatives.
PADDLEBOARDING: Boulder Reservoir is an easily accessible body of water that’s open to the public, making it a top pick for anyone looking to paddleboard a smooth surface — pretty much the closest we’ll get to an hour of walking on water while burning 450 calories. Get gear from Rocky Mountain Paddleboard, which offers rentals, lessons and stand-up paddleboard yoga. Rates start at $20, plus an extra $7 to get into the park.
LUNCH: Pick up a picnic of signature sandwiches (the classic turkey and Swiss tops out at 650 calories) at either the North Boulder or South Boulder location of Lucky’s Market, the national grocery chain founded by Boulderites and dedicated to fresh and healthy fare. It’s acclaimed for its award-winning bacon and widespread community impact programs — not to mention the opportunity to ask a server to pour a pint that tucks right in your grocery cart. Sip some suds (around 200 calories) while you shop and check out the cheeky copywriting on the local labels.
MOUNTAIN BIKING: Head straight Marshall Mesa. Here, the Dirty Bismark is a 15-mile ride (goodbye, 1,000 calories, give or take) that traces the path of a famous road cycling race stage in the 1970s and ‘80s. Friendly to nearly all levels of mountain bikers, the rural route offers fantastic views of the Flatirons, near run-ins with cows and horses, Instagram moments galore and twisting trails through rock gardens. Shorter options also abound on Marshall Mesa.
DINNER: Yes, there are jaw-dropping views from the Flagstaff House, a 1929 cabin turned into a fine farm-to-table restaurant, but you’ll need every facial muscle for savoring a four-course menu (1,120 calories, give or take) that might begin with canapé of steak tartare and a lettuce salad from Boulder’s Cure Farm, followed by pan-fried soba noodles with bok choy and black garlic molasses. The main course? Maybe Alaskan king salmon with local porcini mushrooms and summer squash. Now, go ahead and enjoy your final calories of the day: a roasted banana crème brûlée topped with espresso beans. That’s just enough potassium and caffeine for the final kick of…
STROLLING: During a warm-weather day, the 7.5-mile Boulder Creek Path can feel like a scene out of a Richard Scarry picture book, with bikers, runners, in-line skaters, walkers, fishers, tubers, kayakers, kids and picnickers. But when the sun sets, it’s almost all yours for the taking. Bring a pal for an extra special exploration of the winding path, peeking upward to see the stars, and stifling a yawn or two.
NET GAIN: 2,670 calories (not including alcohol)
NET LOSS: 2,670 calories (including lugging gear and laughing)
EVEN, STEVEN! It’s a win-win for all.