If you're in Boulder, CO, there is no shortage of great family outdoor adventures including a number of hikes to summit Mt Sanitas, Green Mountain, Bear Peak, and others. We will no doubt be featuring some of those in future Family Adventures posts but for a shorter (as much time as you have), easier (fun trails for every ability level), and yet amazing family adventure, you need not venture any further than the network of trails at the Chautauqua Trailhead in Boulder, CO.
The Chautauqua area is a National Historic Landmark located at the base of the iconic Flatirons with a number of family-friendly things to do. You can dine at the Dining Hall, have a picnic in the park, catch some live music, and, of course, hike. The area gets very crowded so arrive early, arrive by bike, or take the Park-to-Park shuttle (for more information on the shuttle, things to do, and the history of what chautauquas actually are, see this link).
The iconic "postcard-worthy" view of the Flatirons.... visible from all over Boulder but unbeatable from the parking lot and trailheads at Chautauqua Park.
Take your pick of trails from the Chautauqua Park parking lot... got 20 minutes? Got an hour? Got 3 hours? There's something for every family!
Heading up the trail! This kid loves the indoor climbing gym and has been building up his skills. Climbing one of the flatirons was not on our agenda this time but will likely be a future family adventure. If you're not just passing through Colorado and want to get your kids involved in climbing (and other outdoor activities), one great resource to check out is the Colorado Mountain Club and their Youth Education Program.
Mid-July is a little late for the best of the wildflowers (come in mid-May to mid-June) but still some great flora along the trails all summer. Can your kids identify the flowers they find?
Almost any trail out of Chautauqua that you pick will lead to great panoramic valley views of Boulder, Denver, and the surrounding area to the East.
Hiking is great... but, hey, with kids, there are opportunities abound for an impromptu game of pinecone baseball, catching grasshoppers, or whatever ideas come to their minds. So much fun to just pause, slow down, and embrace those crazy ideas and make new memories.
When it's 90+ degrees, anything cold and wet at the end of a hike is refreshing... but, seriously, the homemade ice cream at the General Store next to Chautauqua Park is a must-have treat. If you want a full meal for brunch or lunch, check out the Dining Hall next door with outdoor veranda seating, but for just a (seriously delicious) homemade ice cream or other small treat or souvenir, the General Store is hard to beat!
Does your family have a favorite trail or adventure in Chautauqua? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below or let us know if you're interested in contributing one of your own Family Adventures posts!