Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Insider Scoop: Boulder, CO

The Local Knowledge of Boulder and the Surrounding Area

The Insider Scoop: Boulder, CO

Living in Colorado means a lot of sun, a smaller amount of wind, and super dry skin. All are easy to live with when you live in Boulder. Mockingly called “The People’s Republic of Boulder” by some, this place is known for its Democratic views and politics in a very Republican state.

From emphasis on local produce to co-op power, the people around Boulder love freedom, and nature. This place allows you to go for a walk in the morning, get some vegan food in the afternoon, and takes a swim at night, all without leaving city limits. Here are some local tips for those who want to get the best and most exclusive of Boulder.

Canyon St. Farmers Market:

During the spring, summer, and part of fall, every Saturday morning is when I get my veggies for the week. There are numerous farms, coop gardens, and private growers in the area, and every Saturday morning they truck their wares down to the middle of Boulder on Canyon Street right by the river, and sell.

You can get a little of everything: I usually plan on getting eggs, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, onion, peppers, nuts, and fudge when I go. The amount of options is staggering, and some of the best white-truffle mustard I’ve ever had was purchased there. The best part about it is that everything is completely fresh and local.

Before you get going, make sure to stop into the Tea CafĂ© right in the middle of the fair. This blue-chip mosaic building serves breakfast and lunch alongside the most impressive collection of teas I’ve ever seen. Everything is available for trying, and as reasonable prices, you can shop like you’re in Boulder and drink like you are in China.

Chautauqua Park:

I just moved to Boulder about 9 months ago, and I tell everyone back home the same thing when they asked why I chose Colorado.

“If you don’t like the outdoors, don’t move here.”

Boulder is a pretty expensive place to live, but it allows those of us that hike and mountain bike a wide range of trails to choose from. These vary greatly in difficulty and use.

The place to start your journey is Chautauqua. This part of the advice is not so much insider information. It is easily the most popular starting point for trails, and with plenty of parking to boot. The best part for visitors if they start at Chautauqua, they can ask the locals which trails would be best for them and their families. I personally suggest, however, that you ask for some of the more local trails for the best thrills.

Snow Plow Carving Out Hiking Trail
Specialty Hikes & Rides
View Hike - Bear Peak Trail:

This is a heavily wooded hike that leads to an amazing view of boulder at about 10,000 feet. On a difficulty scale of 1-10 this hike would be a 7. Now, before the locals groan, I’m taking into account that most visitors have never been at 5,000 feet, and then tried to ascend another 5,000 within a couple of days. For experienced hikers at sea level, this will just make you sweat a ton and be short of breath, for non-experienced hikers at sea level, I’d avoid this right away, many people come to these altitudes and overexert themselves.

Relaxed Hike - Stone Thrones on Skunk Trail:

This is a hike I like to do after an early dinner to catch the sunset. This hike can’t actually be started from Chautauqua, but from the skunk trailhead just one mile away. If you take the skunk trail and always bear right, you will end up on one of the smaller hills near Bear Peak. On what looks like an old rockslide, some locals have made three seats out of the stone that are pretty damn comfortable. This is the best place to have a drink while watching the sunset.

Mountain Bike Trail – Betasso Loop:

This is a short loop, but many people riding the trail add a lot of terrain. If you happen to live here, you’ll notice the loop change pretty drastically every month or so during the summer. There is a good view of Boulder Reservoir at the end of the loop, and a good steep technical section at the beginning.

White Water Rafting in Colorado:

This is truly one of the most fun things you can do to conquer Mother Nature, and do it as big as you want. Riding a raft down a river in Colorado is an experience no one forgets.

Consider for a second the lay of the land. Each year millions of cubic feet of snow are dumped all over the rocky mountains. The tree line; which is the line that marks the point where trees no longer grow, is about 11,000 feet in Colorado. Many of our peaks have 3000 feet or more of open space to collect an awe-inspiring amount of snow.

Take all of that snow, and melt it all around March, and funnel it into just a few well-formed rivers, and you have the most amazing white water rafting anywhere. We have class 1-5 rapids, with class 5 signifying that even if you negotiate a rapid perfectly, you will still hit something. Adrenaline seekers will have no problem at all filling their need for danger.

The bus terminal in Boulder, CO can take you to any one of these mountain towns that have some of the best outfitters in the business, for about $15.

Pete Wise is a content developer and white-hat SEO Jedi. This article was written for Wilderness Aware Rafting, who specialize in Colorado White Water Rafting Follow Pete on twitter:  @MySEOHeadache

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