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Boulder, Colorado: is it worth all the hype?

I've heard a lot of mixed reviews about Boulder: anything from "it's the only place to be in Colorado" to "it used to be real cool, but now it's being ruined." Not being one to believe everything I hear, especially when I'm getting such mixed information, I decided to check it out for myself.

Boulder became the next stop on the sabbatical for Tom and me after our time in Red Feather Lakes. We had only one full day in the city since we were in route to my sister's wedding. Luckily, we were fortunate enough to stay in a house that was located close to both the city and Boulder Mountain Park, home of the famous Flatirons. These things are majestic! I gazed at the mountains all the way on the drive into the city. My heart longed to be there. Naturally, we would be spending our daylight hours hiking the trails.

view of the Flatirons while driving into Boulder

Open Space & Mountain Parks

According to the City of Boulder, they have set aside natural areas to " serve as a buffer between Boulder and nearby development. They sustain agriculture uses and add untold benefits to the natural environment - clean air, water, and earth. " Kohler Mesa, part of Boulder Mountain Park, was the closest area to our house that was part of these mountain parks. The closest parking areas are NCAR and Enchanted Mesa, but we were fortunate enough to be able to walk up a service road to the trailhead.

Flatirons in Boulder Mountain Park

Our walk there

In just five minutes, we made it through the neighborhood and onto the service road leading to the Kohler Mesa trailhead. The walk to get there was just as enjoyable as the hike itself. It was garbage day, and the conservationist in me especially enjoyed seeing the curbside composting service bins and the recycling bins that were bigger than the trashcans. The houses also had wildflowers galore. They were grown on purpose, along with other wild ground cover plants, because of their low maintenance and low need for water in this desert environment. As an extra special treat, we even saw deer eating at a bush in someone's yard.

deer spotted in the neighborhood

Once we got out of the neighborhood, we took a detour through tall grass, through the trees, and across a stream before popping out on the dirt road that leads to Kohler Mesa. The road up offered some views of the city, but what I was really wanting to see was the trailhead.

Our Hike

It was forecasted to rain later in the afternoon, so we wanted to make it back to the house in time before the storm. We ended up connecting the Kohler Mesa Trail, Skunk Canyon Trail, Skunk Canyon Spur, and coming back down the Kohler Mesa Trail to give us about a two mile hike that took us through meadows, wooded dirt paths, and mountainside switchbacks.

Along the way, we found an abandoned cabin that could easily be a squatter house if it weren't for all the locks on the windows and door.

We saw squirrels dart past us across the mountainside path that looked like it was home to a few rock slides. I mused over the possibility of a few mischievous squirrels at the top pushing rocks down on us as I walked past.

Tom really liked a rock wall he spotted from the trail, and wondered who made it. Why was it made and how?

The overlook of the city at Skunk Canyon Trail was nice, but the route was mostly chosen so we could look at the mountains during the better part of the hike.

As we were coming back through the meadow to the trailhead, the clouds were dark and heavy --- signaling rain at any moment. We might have made it back dry had it not been for all the pretty things that distracted me.

Like the flowers in the meadow that I just had to jump through

Or the deer we spotted once we got out of the park

deer outside of the park

It started raining soon after: light at first and then heavy. The birds were taking this opportunity to eat all the bugs that had been stirred up by the rain.

birds feeding during the rain

We ran down the service road, through the trees and tall grass, over the creek, and into the neighborhood before reaching the house for a much needed shower and change of clothes.


After being so close to the mountains, seeing all the animals, and observing how important reducing waste and environmental impact is; it's hard for me to not think this city is awesome. What do you think of Boulder?

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