If I could only use one word to sum up Boulder, Colorado it would be “wow”! This is one of the most naturally pretty places I’ve ever been.
Normally, I think of beautiful cities as places with some natural beauty which has been improved by man. For example, San Francisco. But then there are places like Boulder which simply need no improvement.
Boulder has more “Top 10” rankings than just about any place you can imagine (seriously, check out that link). And from what I saw, it deserves every one.
I checked out only a few of the things Boulder had to offer on a Sunday afternoon. I started out at the Celestial Seasoning’s tea factory by taking the free tour. If you’re a fan of tea, this place smells like heaven! It was seriously awesome, and I recommend the stop. If possible, go during a weekday so that you can see all of the machines working. On the weekend you don’t get to see that, but at least you can hear the tour guide better.
Interestingly, outside of the factory there were large fields which had hundreds of prairie dog mounds. I had never really seen one before, but these little guys were quite cute, although I’m sure the locals consider them a menace since they do tons of damage to plants, etc.
Next I decided to put the little All Wheel Drive Subaru Outback I rented to good use by following John Fielder’s Best of Colorado guidebook’s advice and taking the Switzerland Trial on an off-road excursion. John lists this path as being “easy”, and I’d agree.
I went down it about a mile or two before I decided that the trail was a little rough and I didn’t want to risk the little Subaru. Any Jeep or 4WD truck would have had no problem whatsoever, and the next time I get to Boulder I will be doing this again – the right way!
Along the way to and from the Switzerland Trail, CO 119 runs right along the Boulder Creek. This beautiful little creek was jam packed with people inner-tubing down it. The Boulder Creek Path parallels the creek through town and you can supposedly get a map at the Chamber of Commerce. Map or not, I would highly recommend finding the creek and at least taking a stroll down by the water, if not through it. This is a perfect summer time spot.
My final stop in Boulder was to visit the four block long, pedestrian only, Pearl Street Mall. This shopping area reminded me of one that is similar in Santa Monica, CA or another I’ve seen in Thessaloniki, Greece. It is basically a street which has been closed off to vehicles and improved for the sole purpose of pedestrian traffic. The shops are OK, but the real attraction here is the fact that this has been designated a National Historic District. The buildings are beautiful and the entire scene is just cool.
The bottom line is, I didn’t even scratch the surface of what all Boulder has to offer. When planning a trip to the Denver area I recommend at least two to three days in Boulder alone. Oh, and if I was a young person trying to decide where to go to college, I would seriously consider the University of Colorado.