Boulder, Colorado

Boulder Area

The Arapahoe Glacier, located in the Indian Peaks Wilderness west of Boulder, is one of the southernmost glaciers in North America, and the largest named glacier in Colorado.

The print shown at top, taken by Ed Tangen in 1921, is part of the Library of Congress’ American Memory collection. The area is off limits to the general public in order to protect the water quality, which serves as a major source of water for the city of Boulder.

The glacier has drastically decreased in size over the past century and was downgraded to a snowfield in 1998. The reddish color of the snow in this 2006 photo by Jesse Varner is probably dust blown in from the deserts in Utah or Arizona.

Boulder’s first settlers came to hunt for gold, but today this casually sophisticated university town looks and feels very little like a mining camp. Tucked into the foothills below a rock formation known as The Flatirons, it is close to Denver geographically, but worlds apart in attitude.

Its feel-good Earth Mother reputation is well deserved. The Naropa University, the nation’s only Buddhist university, is located here, as is the Boulder College of Massage Therapy. Complementing these schools is the flagship campus of the University of Colorado with approximately 30,000 students.

Shopping, they say, is the number one pursuit of travelers these days, and you’ll find plenty of it here. Shops with clever names and unusual wares will draw in passers-by on the Pearl Street Mall downtown.

But shopping isn’t the only way to get outdoors in Boulder. The city was named the best place in the nation to indulge in outdoor sports by Outside Magazine. Here, you’ll find 45,000 acres of designated space to hike or ride a bike, climb a mountain, kayak a river, walk along a stream, or fish. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular in winter, as are skiing and snowboarding at nearby Eldora Mountain Resort.

Elegant historic hotels complement modern digs to provide a variety of overnight accommodations. Restaurants also abound, and vegetarians are more than welcome. Don’t miss Boulder’s great microbreweries and exciting nightlife, thanks in part to the college-age crowd.

Boulder is known as a university town. It offers rich cultural experiences such as the annual Colorado Shakespeare Festival and Colorado Music Festival. It has a reputation for hosting world-famous performers and guest speakers at events throughout the year.

Boulder has long been a forward-thinking community. That fact, combined with its high-altitude location, inspired the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to settle here, both of which offer tours to visitors.