Boulder and North Central Colorado Travel Guide
If You Have 3 Days
Start in Boulder by bicycling the Boulder Creek Path or the Marshall Mesa, or hiking near the Flatirons after a breakfast at the Chautauqua Dining Hall. After lunch you can poke around the Pearl Street pedestrian mall or antique in Niwot. On Day 2, head toward Estes Park, but take the long way via the Peak to Peak Scenic and Historic Byway (take the scenic route here, via Sunshine Canyon Drive, to the tiny town of Gold Hill. Drive on to Rocky Mountain National Park and work up an appetite for dinner in Estes Park. Return to Rocky Mountain National Park on the morning of Day 3. After lunch in Estes, peruse the shops and galleries along Elkhorn Avenue, learn to kayak on Lake Estes, or visit the Snowy Peaks Winery and Tasting Room.
If You Have 5 Days
Follow the three-day itinerary, and on Day 3 try Sweet Basilico in Estes Park for lunch, and follow the afternoon itinerary. Use the morning to explore a bit in Rocky Mountain National Park on Day 4 while driving to Grand Lake for lunch. Hike along the Colorado River to Lulu City or trot around Monarch Lake. There’s time to stroll the boardwalk before dinner. On Day 5 you can play 18 holes near Granby at the Headwaters Golf Course at Granby Ranch or Grand Elk Ranch clubs; sail, canoe, or boat on Shadow Mountain Reservoir; bicycle up to Willow Creek Pass; or mountain-bike in the Arapaho National Recreation Area. The spa at Hot Sulphur Springs will revive you before a hearty dinner. Don’t miss the rodeo in Granby if it’s the season (May through July).
If You Have 7 Days
Follow the five-day itinerary but replace Days 4 and 5 with the following itinerary: On Day 4, drive to Fort Collins; hike or mountain-bike in Horsetooth Mountain Park, or bicycle along the Poudre River in town. In the afternoon, tour a brewery or take the kids to the Swetsville Zoo. Learn about raptors at the Environmental Learning Center or take in some history at the Avery House and the Fort Collins Museum. Relax over a leisurely Italian dinner at Canino’s before checking out the vibrant music scene. On Day 5, let the guides from St. Peter’s Fly Shop take you on a float trip for trout, or get an adrenaline rush on an A-1 white-water raft trip on the Cache la Poudre River. Later in the afternoon you can get your land legs back by wandering the galleries and shops in Old Town Square before digging into some hearty brew-pub food at C.B. Potts or a zesty Mexican meal at Rio Grande. Spend your last two days and nights in Granby, following the five-day itinerary.