Hop on a road bike. Cast for giant trout. Hike a new trail. Catch a baseball game. Relax on a sunny patio. Colorado calls to us in the summer and draws us outside to play in its spectacular landscape. Here, we present nine itineraries that promise to get you outdoors—and loving every minute of the hot days of June, July, and August.
Tube Boulder Creek
Float through a day in the shadow of the Flatirons.
By Natasha Gardner
Wake Up Slowly Indulge in a cappuccino and a raspberry-orange muffin on Spruce Confections’ patio before meandering east down the Pearl Street Mall.
Get Wet When the sun starts to strengthen, stroll to the Conoco station at the corner of Broadway Street and Arapahoe Avenue to buy a black inner tube ($12.50) for floating down Boulder Creek. Eben G. Fine Park (follow other tubers up the concrete path to the water’s edge) is the perfect place to launch your vessel, and sits only a 20-minute walk away. When the water is high, the float to the Boulder Public Library’s bridge lasts 15 minutes. But the short walk back to the park means you (or at least the kids) can repeat the trip again and again and again. Make sure to ride one of the rope swings strung from the trees along the way.
Grab a Dog Don’t bother toweling off for lunch—Mustard’s Last Stand has been doling out hot dogs to dripping-wet tubers for 31 years. Order your wiener smothered with ’kraut and Swiss cheese, and ask for one of the stand’s picnic blankets so you can munch next to the creek and watch other tubers. Take a few more runs before flopping onto the creekside grass for some good ol’ sun tanning and an afternoon catnap.
Hike a Canyon Head back to the Pearl Street Mall, stopping in to browse West End Gardener’s bright red Adirondack chairs and shabby-chic antiques, before picking up dinner at the 14th Street Bar and Grill. The eatery’s oven-roasted chicken has been churning away since the morning hours, and reaches perfection in the afternoon. Order it to go—it comes in a biodegradable container with a side of potatoes and veggies. Dinner in hand, drive up Sunshine Canyon and stop midway at County Road 52 for a 15-minute hike at the Bald Mountain Scenic Area. There’s a quiet bench at the top that offers a postcard-worthy vista of Denver’s skyline and plenty of room to spread out your picnic.
All that Jazz If it’s a Sunday night, the near–ghost town of Gold Hill jumps—or at least sways—with jazz concerts at the Gold Hill Inn. Drive farther up Sunshine Canyon and take in a set before heading home.
If You Go
Spruce Confections: 767 Spruce St., Boulder, 303-449-6773; Conoco: 1201 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, 303-442-6293; Eben G. Fine Park: 101 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder; Mustard’s Last Stand: 1719 Broadway St., Boulder, 303-444-5841; West End Gardener: 777 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-938-0607; 14th Street Bar and Grill: 1400 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-5854; Gold Hill Inn: 401 Main St., Gold Hill, 303-443-6461.