Hiking in Boulder, Colorado

Would it surprise you to learn that we’ve not done a whole lot of hiking before?

Even though we used to live in London’s less-than-flat Primrose Hill, it didn’t sufficiently toughen us up – the gradient in Seattle nearly killed us, and reading about San Francisco’s steepness may or may not have been a contributing factor to us giving it a miss on this trip.

But when confronted with Boulder’s incredible scenery, we couldn’t resist getting involved. So while there’s plenty of great information about Boulder hiking trails online for people who actually know what they’re doing, here’s the perspective of two world-class wusses – if we can do these trails, a Dalek probably could.

The Anne U White Trail

Our main hike was the suitably beginner-orintated Anne U White trail: a fairly flat 1.5 miles in each direction, along what’s meant to be a cooling creek but amounted to little more than a minor spillage in the height of the summer.

Being far from outdoorsy types, we were a little spooked by seeing this sign at the start of the trail:

Our hearts even skipped a beat when a dachshund came running around a corner (on a leash – they’re not indiginous to Colorado), but after half an hour of seeing nothing but butterflies and a solitary chipmunk, we started to relax.

But then, I saw a lion!

I read somewhere that lions get scared off by bad acting

OK, not really. But on our way back we did get chased by a mule deer while trying to take some photos. Yup, true to our unintrepid nature, we got chased off by one of nature’s most notoriously timid animals.

Looks pretty placid huh? But shove a camera in its face and it goes all Bjork on yo ass

Boulder Falls

If long treks aren’t your thing, can we tempt you with a 0.3 mile saunter to see the only waterfall on Boulder’s hiking trails?

There’s a small car park (easy to miss) on Canyon Boulevard as you head West out of Boulder, and the short path takes you up to a suitably impressive waterfall.

You’re not meant to jump the fence and actually go paddle by the falls, but plenty of people did.

Need I mention that we didn’t?

If you continue driving for about 6 miles along Canyon Boulevard you’ll come to the remarkable hilltop community of Nederland, which Mish talks about here.

McClintock Trail

For less wussy hikes, there are several different climbs that start from Chautauqua Park in Boulder itself. The Enchanted Mesa trail is flat and weaves through the foothills, but I opted to take a section of the steeper McClintock Trail.

Mish hadn’t recovered from the deer incident and opted out of this one – just as well, because she would have been even more spooked by the signs posted everywhere about recent bear activity.

There are stunning views as you climb higher, and it’s a nice mix of steep-ish climbs interspersed with gentler sections.

The different trails all intersect in ways I couldn’t quite understand, but there’s far better information at this link.

General things to know about hiking in Boulder

  • There’s ample free parking at the start of each trail.
  • Dogs are allowed on most trails, but must be kept on a leash.
  • In summer, take plenty of water – seriously.
  • There’s no cellphone reception in most hiking areas, so don’t rely on Google Maps.
  • Watch out for bears. And, apparently, deer.