Getting Oriented in Boulder

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Getting Oriented

One of the best places to take a first look at this beautiful town is from the scenic overlook on Davidson Mesa (it’s on U.S. 36, about 6 miles south of town, on the westbound side of the highway). In the distance west of town are the craggy (and often snowcapped) peaks in the Roosevelt National Forest, Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, and Rocky Mountain National Park. Closer by, to the southwest, are Bear Peak and the Devil’s Thumb on its left slope, marking the entrance to Eldorado Canyon. Just north of there are Green Mountain and its trademark red-sandstone Flatirons, which you can see from almost every vantage point in town. These massive rock upthrusts, named for their flat faces, are popular among rock climbers and hikers. To the east are flat plains, dotted with parks and reservoirs.

In town, the red-tile roofs of the University of Colorado dominate the landscape in the southern end of the city, where Boulder Creek courses along the south side of the downtown area at the bottom of University Hill (called "the Hill" by locals), on which both the university and its surrounding neighborhood are located. At the northern end of town you’ll find Boulder Reservoir, a 700-acre park used for swimming, rowing, kayaking, sailing, stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing, and waterskiing.

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