These directions are for The Boulder Tour only!

Directions:

The tour takes place at the "Boulder Valley Ranch Trailhead" typing this in to google maps is the best way to find it.

 

If you want a driving tour to the site scroll down to the directions with a tour.

If you look up "Boulder Valley Ranch Trailhead" In Google maps is the best way to find it. Unfortunately, the address I have for the place gets people lost more often than not. The address is 3900 Longhorn Rd DO NOT put this address in tom-tom, apple maps, or any GPS without making sure it is the same place that comes up when you google "Boulder Valley Ranch Trailhead" and/or in the location map given by AirBnB. The coordinates are: 40°04'48.2"N 105°15'47.7"W

To be extra sure you can send me a screenshot (here or in text) of the GPS location and I will tell you if it's right.

or double check where your GPS is taking you is correct here 

 

Coming from Boulder/Denver: Take Highway 36 (the Denver-Boulder turnpike) north. Just after you leave town One mile north of Boulder on Highway 36, you will come to Longhorn Rd. The turn off for Longhorn Rd is well signed with a large brown sign that says "Boulder Valley Ranch Open Space" and an arrow that points right. Turn right on Longhorn Rd and take it one mile east it will turn into a dirt road for the last half mile and end at the trailhead. I normally set up in the fire lane in the south east corner of the parking lot (the opposite corner from the bathroom)

Uber/Lyft tip for coming from Denver: There is a bus line called the "Flatiron Flyer" connects Denver to boulder and costs 4.50 I recommend taking this to Boulder and taking a ride share app for the last stretch to save money. The Flatiron Flyer runs till midnight so you can use it to get back to Denver too (I also encourage to ask other guests for a ride here and while you are at the tour to cut the enviromenta). You can catch it at Union Station, Civic Center Station and many other stops. If you are feeling extra frugal and adventurous there is also a bus that stops one mile from the trailhead the tour takes place (at the intersection of hwy-36 and Longhorn Rd) it is called the Y (as it connects Lyons to Boulder) this bus stops running at 6p so you will have to come eirly to catch it and you will not be able to take it back.   

Coming from Estes Park/Lyons: Take Highway 36 South. Just before Boulder you will come to Longhorn Rd. The turn off for Longhorn Rd is well signed with a large brown sign that says "Boulder Valley Ranch Open Space" and an arrow that points left. Turn left on Longhorn Rd and take it one mile east it will turn into a dirt road for the last half mile and end at the trailhead. I normally set up in the fire lane in the south east corner of the parking lot (the opposite corner from the bathroom)

 

Directions (with driving tour):

For straightforward directions to get there scroll up to the directions without the tour

Coming from Denver:

 

If you are visiting the area from out of town I might suggest taking the day before the tour to see Boulder.

Take Highway 36 north out of Denver this stretch of Hwy-36 was a toll road when it opened in 1952 until 1967 it was then called "the Denver-Boulder turnpike" locals still often refer to it as this. As you travel out of town you will pass the rapidly growing suburbs of Westminster, and Bloomfield.     

Shep the turnpike dog - Back when the turnpike was being built the workers would give lunch scraps to a stray dog that would roam the area. Once the road opened he started taking scraps from the toll booth operators who named him Shep. Motorists loved being greeted by the dog at the toll booths and some would give extra to help feed him. Shep was the mascot of the turnpike and had many adventures in his time at the toll booth. When he eventually passed he was buried next to the road near Wadsworth with a memorial that read "Shep, 1950-1964, Part shepherd-- Mostly affection". This Memorial was moved in 2009 to the Broomfield Depot Museum.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you have a little one that is particularly interested in insects, and ~2 hours you might check out the Butterfly Pavilion which is located just off the Highway on Church Ranch Blvd (there's signs for it to guide you there). opened in July 1995, and was the first stand-alone non-profit insect zoo in the United States.  It was the scene for my 8th Birthday party, however, I would only recommend it if you have a bit of extra time as I feel there's better stops along the way. 

Davidson Mesa Overlook - As you come in to boulder at the top of the last major hill is an over look with a visitor information stand. The turn off is at mile marker 42 and has big blue road sings pointing it out. This is defiantly worth the stop and should only add 5 to 10 minutes to your trip.

Davidson Mesa proves a panoramic view of the Front Range mountains, the City of Boulder, and its famous Flatirons rock formation; a monument to the Denver-Boulder Turnpike is also located here. From here you can see Eldorado Canyon which is home to Eldorado Springs (a small town most known for its bottled water) and Eldorado Canyon State Park (a popular destination for rock climbers). At the base of the mountains you can spot the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). NCAR is a research and development center that studies meteorology, climate science, atmospheric chemistry, and the environment. NCAR's building was designed by architect I. M. Pei (known for many works such as the Louvre in Paris) who modeled the design after the cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde.

The FlatIrons are an Icon of Boulder as the tower over the town and can be seen from almost any where. They are the jagged red rocks at the base of the mountains. They extend south quite a ways however the first five (numbered 1-5 going south) are the main ones. They are made up of the Fountain Formation the same formation that makes Red Rocks Amphitheater, Garden of The Gods, Roxbury State Park, and many other amazing places across the front range.  The Fountain Formation is from a geologic period called the "Pennsylvanian" (because this was when the coal found in Pennsylvania was discovered) which was ~290 million years ago. I can cover this more in my tour if you ask me but just like the earth orbits around the sun the sun orbits around the black hole  at the center of our galaxy. This is called a Galactic year and occurs every ~250 million earth years. Therefore, you can imagine that one galactic year ago, when the sun & earth were in this same part of our galaxy the rocky mountains were just starting to rise out of a giant inland sea and forming these flatirons you see before you now.

At the base of the flatirons is a beautiful park called Chautauqua. Chautauqua hosts many performances, cultural events, lectures, and was the site of my parent's wedding! It is a beautiful park where you can access a large system of trails and climb all the way to the top of the flatirons.

CU's campus sticks out as a dash of red in the middle of the town. They started building campus buildings in the traditional academic marble and styles but quickly realized it didn't match the environment. So, they switched to red rocks like that found in the fountain formation which makes up the flatirons, and left them with more of their natural texture.

You can see Longs Peak towering over everything. Longs Peak is 14,259-foot (4346 m) making it a "fourteener" (Colorado is proud of all our mountains that are over 14,000ft and give them this special designation, Longs Peak is the northmost "fourteener"). Longs Peak is located in the Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness. It is the highest point in Boulder County and Rocky Mountain National Park. The mountain was named in honor of explorer Stephen Harriman Long and is on the Colorado state quarter.

Traveling down the Mesa on Hwy-36 you will come in to town. You will pass by "the towers" two of boulders tallest buildings (they are freshman dorms). in 1971 The town of Boulder decided it didn't want anymore tall buildings blocking the view of the mountains and flatirons. Any buildings you see that are more than 4 stories tall were built before this rule took affect. You might start to notice all the street signs are blue and white not the traditional green and white. This is because it was found that you can see the blue and white better in snow storms. Snow storms are common enough here they decided to make blue and white the norm.

 

Just as you get into town you will cross a road called "Baseline road" (if you wish to visit Chautauqua, or take a scenic drive up flagstaff road turn off here {adds ~35min or much longer if you decide to take a hike}). Baseline RD is called that as it is surveyed to be right on the 40 parallel (40 degrees north, or the 40th line of latitude). This line stretches around the world making the Kansas-Nebraska border, cutting through Philadelphia and Beijing.

Continue north through town. You will pass Canyon Blvd which goes all the way up boulder canyon (another scenic drive that can take well over 1.5hrs depending how much you stop, you can also take this road if you wish to see downtown boulder which again I'd say give about 2hrs depending on how much you shop) 

 

Keep heading north the road will start to bend north-west and you will pass by a canon, a giraffe and a drive-in movie theater sign (this might make a good eye-spy for kids. The cannon is on the right infront on the Boulder VFW, the giraffe is on the right hand side of the road in the mini golf coarse and the drive-in sign is on the left. This is "NOBO" Boulder's arts district. The drive-in sign is just left over and now used by a housing development.

 

 Just after you leave town One mile north of Boulder on Highway 36, you will come to Longhorn Rd. The turn off for Longhorn Rd is well signed with a large brown sign that says "Boulder Valley Ranch Open Space" and an arrow that points right. Turn right on Longhorn Rd and take it one mile east it will turn into a dirt road for the last half mile to the right you can see ruined remnants of a smelter.

 

At the end of Longhorn is the the trailhead. I normally set up in the fire lane in the south east corner of the parking lot (the opposite corner from the bathroom)

Coming from Estes Park/Lyons: coming soon