Eldorado Canyon State Park#6 in Best Things To Do in Boulder
Cascading canyon walls, lush pine forests, winding trails ... Eldorado Canyon State Park has much to offer in the way of natural beauty. Its 885 acres provide opportunities to rock climb, kayak, horseback ride and bird-watch, not to mention sightsee. Just don't forget your camera – recent visitors can't help but rave about the views.
If you're looking for a place to hike, travelers say that the $8 vehicle fee is worth the access to Eldorado Canyon's extensive network of trails. The moderately difficult Rattlesnake Gulch Trail is a favorite, winding 3.6 miles (round trip) along the canyon to the ruins of the 20th-century Crags Hotel. Hikers are also afforded striking views of the Continental Divide from this trail.
Sitting about 20 minutes south of Boulder, Eldorado Canyon State Park is best reached by car. However, take extra precaution when driving through the park as roads are narrow and winding; it's also a good idea to get directions before setting out since recent visitors agree that a lack of signage can make finding Eldorado rather difficult. Eldorado Canyon State Park is open every day from sunrise to sunset. You'll find the park visitor center sitting about a mile west of the park entrance. For more information, check out the park's website.
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#1 The Flatirons
These jaw-dropping rock walls flanking Green Mountain have become the symbol of the city, with many Boulder businesses sporting their image as a logo. Flatirons One through Five are the most prominent, but there are also several smaller formations – with more creative names – to explore. Altogether, these picturesque slopes are the most popular rock climbing areas around (you can even see markings left by some of the first climbers, dating back to the 1940s, on Number Three). But for those of you who aren't quite comfortable entrusting your life to a harness, you can still take in the Flatirons from one of the area's hiking trails – recent visitors said there's a trail for every age and skill level. For information about Flatiron trails, visit the City of Boulder website.
Previous visitors say that no trip to Boulder would be complete without spending time admiring the rocks. But if you plan on hiking, travelers recommend coming prepared: The trails can be steep in places, not to mention slippery. And don't forget your camera – reviewers said you'll want to capture the stunning views.
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