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24 Perfect Hours in Boulder, Colorado

The famous gem of Colorado's front range. 12 square miles surrounded by reality.

By: Nate Luebbe + Save to a List

Boulder is perhaps the best known town in the Rocky Mountains. Chock full of professional athletes and world-class scientific institutions, it also boasts unparalleled access to the outdoors, intricate bike paths, and a never-ending plethora of delicious breweries, restaurants and coffee shops. 

After living here for 25 years, Dirt Road Travels asked me to compile a list of the absolute best that Boulder has to offer. 

Here's my list of the absolute can't-miss spots in Boulder (hyperlinked for your pleasure). 

1. Catch Sunrise From Sugarloaf Mountain

I do this about 30 times a year. A short and easy hike with unobstructed views in all directions from the top. An absolute can't-miss in Boulder County. Get up there and watch the sun rise over the plains, with alpenglow dancing across dazzling 13,000 foot peaks illuminated behind you. Bring your Jetboil and some locally made instant coffee to start your day off in the best possible way. 

2. Breakfast - Breakfast Burrito at Blackbelly Market

Perhaps the single best breakfast item I've ever put in my mouth - a treat so exquisite that I actually mark my calendar for the days I have time to go get one. Farm-to-Table breakfast burritos, it's like rolling every Boulder stereotype into one.  

3. Bike ride at the Betasso Nature Preserve

A short drive up Boulder Canyon brings you to the Betasso Preserve, a beautiful open space park in lush mountain meadows. Dozens of miles of hiking and biking trails with expansive views makes this a perennial favorite. 

4. Lunch time at the Mountain Sun

A Boulder classic if there ever was one. Fantastic craft beers brewed in-house, with a wonderful menu to recharge you after a long day playing outside. 

5. Hike around Chautauqua Park.

Although this is certainly not a very unique suggestion, no trip to Boulder would be complete without exploring the iconic flatirons at Chautauqua Park. 

5. Dinner at Basta

House grown greens and herbs, wood-fire oven for fresh bread and pizza, and an impressive list of wine and cocktails all overseen by Kelly Whitaker, two-time Colorado Chef of the Year. 

6. Watch the sunset from the Lost Gulch Overlook on Flagstaff Mountain..

I assume by now you're completely exhausted from all the hiking and biking and stuffed to the point of no return from dinner at Basta. So take a break with a short 15-minute drive to the top of Flagstaff and watch the sunset from one of the most breathtaking viewpoints in Colorado.  

If that's too much for one day, or you've got a longer visit planned, you can find more incredible suggestions for delicious food and delicious hikes at: 

Dirtroadtravels.com and The Outbound's Guide to Colorado

All pictures by Nate Luebbe, more on Instagram @nateinthewild

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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