City Limits: Run Boulder!

City Limits: Run Boulder!

Never been to Boulder and want to know all the best places to run, eat and find gear that will help you run & subsequently eat? Or maybe you live in Boulder already but are wanting to try trail running for the first time or simply don't know your way around quite yet. This is the guide for you. Ambassador Michele Dillon gives you her completely biased opinion on the places you need to be pounding your feet, gazing your eyes and chomping your jaw.

Best Places to Run

Flat/Rolling Trails with AMAZING VIEWS

Doudy Draw-Goshawk Ridge: You can get a lot of miles in from the Doudy Draw trailhead but my absolute favorite route that has rolling hills and some epic downhill bombing is connecting the Spring Brook Loop with Goshawk Ridge. Amazing views of the Boulder Skyline Mountains mixed in with some fun technical terrain that's perfect for beginners wanting to get comfortable with it and amazing for the more advanced that want to have a lot of fun. I have ran this 8 mile route upwards of 25 times and still never grow tired of it.

Check out the route here.

Davidson Mesa: This is for the flat inclined. Perfect for speed work days while still having a view. Even better, show up for a night run and watch the sunset over the mountains. This is a 3 mile (sticking to the outside) loop that can also link up to a shorter .80 mile loop around a lake on the other side without having to cross a street.  

Vertical gain with the best SUMMIT VIEWS
Bear Peak: I wouldn't really call this is a "run" per se but if you want to get some epic climbing in with a short scramble at the top with a great summit view, Bear Peak is your guy. There are lots of different routes to get to the top but my go to is starting from the South Mesa trailhead and going up Shadow Canyon to the peak and back down. This gets you roughly 7 1/2 miles with 3,000 feet of gain and you can generally run about 50% of it (although I am not going to say there aren't weirdos out there who can run the whole thing).

Check out the route here.

Mount Sanitas: Want something short and sweet? Mount Sanitas has roughly 1,300 feet of gain in just over a mile but the summit is worth it. Then you get to reap the rewards by running down one of the smoothest switchback trails in Boulder via the Lions Lair. This route will get you a total of 5 miles and it's all downhill from the summit (not lying to you like those meanie volunteers at races).

Check out the route here.

Summit free trails with lots of CLIMBING

Eldorado Canyon to Walker Ranch:  This is one of the most breathtaking long runs that you can experience inside of Boulder. You start from inside the Eldorado State Canyon Park (get there early because parking is limited and the park is popular). You run up (and I mean up) the Eldorado Canyon trail and connect to Walker Ranch, loop your way around what seems to be an 85% upward climb with waterfalls, expansive views and technical terrain and close off the lollipop by coming back down the Eldo trail. Roughly 14 miles with 3,000 feet of gain (yeah, ouch!).

Check out the route here.

Want to run a 14er cause you're STUPID?

Mount Bierstadt- I'm not going to claim to be crazy enough to have done this myself but I have climbed this mountain and out of all the 14ers I have been on, this is definitely the most runnable. It has a very tracked out and smooth trail, easy to navigate and one of the easier mountains to get too from Boulder (although it's not inside Boulder itself). Make sure to get there extremely early and be willing to deal with crowds though because this mountain is one of the most popular accessible 14ers in the Front Range. 7 miles with 2,850 feet of elevation gain. (P.S. I don't condone attempting to run this route if you have never been up to 14,000 feet and/or know what it's like to run a 14er. You still very much need to respect the mountain and know your limits and experience before attempting. Try climbing it first to see if this would be something within your capabilities.)

Check out the route here.

Best Running Store

Boulder Running Company: In a world where ordering things online is super convenient and a lot easier for time management, BRC is one of the most well stocked, friendly staffed and overall fantastic physical running stores you can go too. They will fit you for the perfect running shoe (and let you return/exchange if it doesn’t work out!) and will help you find anything you need around the store with a smile on their face. A plethora of brands of running shoes, clothes, trail snacks and recovery tools can be found here.

Favorite Post-Run Food Spot

Southern Sun This has quickly become mine and my running buds favorite places to go after a long run or a day in the mountains because it has an amazing selection of both vegetarian/vegan and carnivore foods that are amazingly delicious and one of the only places that frequently has a dry cider available for my very picky taste buds. One caveat is that it’s a cash or check only restaurant, but trust me it's worth it (and they do have an ATM available within).

Fresh Thymes I have only been here once so far but it stood out to me immediately because I ordered roasted BBQ cauliflower tacos and it was the most amazingly tasty and refreshing vegetarian dish I had ever had at a restaurant before (although not strictly a vegetarian locale). I haven't been here again due to the proximity it is to the trails I'm often at (and I usually need food immediately), but I highly recommend it to anyone who is hesitant about giving it a try.

Run Boulder!

The best thing about Boulder is that every new trail you find, you can connect it to about 20 others. I have lived in this fine city for over 2 years and still have not scratched the surface of the places that I can explore. I hope this guide helped get you started with finding your new favorite trails!