Photo courtesy of Boulder Free Flight

Boulder Summer and Fall Bucket List


Welcome to the light of summer. Bask in the long days and endless hours the season offers. Take comfort in the warmth of July. Appreciate the crisp bite of October. Embrace every opportunity to do the things this past year denied us.

The cold of winter and the rains of spring have passed. The foothills are green with new life. Hopefully, the darkness of the past year has ended. It’s time to try new things like paragliding over the foothills or discovering the natural bounty that literally grows all over Boulder.

It’s time to get busy with these summer and fall Boulder bucket-list items.

Let’s Get Wet

Swimming is the perfect exercise to get yourself moving again after a year of semi-hibernation.

Grab your swimsuit and goggles and pretend your Michael Phelps. Those interested in competitive swimming should look into the world of Boulder Aquatic Masters, aka BAM. The local swim group offers maximum exercise with very little impact or punishment to the body.

“Being in water is good for your head,” said John Gratz, a long-time BAM member. “When you swim, you get to be in a different environment from your normal life. It’s not like being in the woods; it’s being in a place where you do not live.”

Visit for more information about competitive swimming.

Fly Like an Eagle

If water is not your thing, go the opposite way and take flight on a paraglider. You can see paragliders float over North Boulder throughout the year. The pilots drift on air currents and dance with birds above the landscape. The learning curve is not as hard as you might think, according to instructor and tandem pilot Johannes Rath.

“It’s too much fun,” Rath said. “When you do this, you wonder why everyone is not doing this. It captures the sensation of being a bird.”

Though easy to learn, Rath said it takes a lifetime to master paragliding. Flights can be as gentle as a soft pillow or as rough as a bumper car.

“Once you have good skills, a pilot can fly on air and ride the currents like a rodeo rider atop a bull,” Rath said.

Boulder Free Flight is a great place to learn the basics. A tandem flight gives you the chance to sit back and enjoy the view as the pro flies over Foothills Community Park in North Boulder. The paragliding company can also train you to be a certified pilot for about $2,000.

See for all the details.

Get Vertical

Now that you’ve mastered the art of flight, it’s time to cling to the edge of the 300-foot-tall rockface that has stood guard over El Dorado Canyon for eons.

Risk-takers clamber and climb all over the giant sandstone monuments inside this wonderful state park.

“When you enter this state park, it’s like entering a new universe,” said Jason Antin, an experienced rock climber and guide with Colorado Mountain College.

On a sunny day, the sun bakes and reflects off the sandstone cliffs that invite climbers to ascend.

“When you climb, you have a rope, you are locked in, you have a helmet,” Antin said. “The atmosphere is controlled. You have a harness. You are safe.”

Want to get vertical? See for more information.

Play Pickleball

In the history of sports, few games have exploded with the intensity of Pickleball. The game, which is a fun mix of mini-tennis, ping-pong and badminton, can be enjoyed by all.

Though the game started in the 1960s, it has ballooned as the population ages and older fitness enthusiasts seek to stay fit without damaging the body.

“It’s a game for everyone, because it pulls from so many different sports,” said Scott Fliegelman, a Pickleball teaching pro. “Anyone can get into it, especially those familiar with racquet sports.”

The sport is also popular because you can learn it quickly.

“It is also easy on the body, Fliegelman said. “The paddle is light, half the weight of a tennis racquet. The ball is a whiffle ball and the court is a third the size of a tennis court.”

The game is played all around Boulder. There are public courts at local rec centers and private ones scattered around town.

To learn more go to:, or

Bike Without The Hard Work

Boulder is well known as a cycling mecca. But for some of us, the ride can be a bit much. That’s where electric bikes come in very handy. E-bikes are the perfect tool to cruise town with ease.

Boulder Bike Tours offers locals and visitors the chance to glide all over town on an electronic bike and enjoy stops and lectures about Boulder history and important sites.

Photo courtesy of Boulder Bike Tours

“Enjoying a local tour on an electronic bike is a must,” said Herschel Goldberg, founder of Boulder Bike Tours.

His bikes can hit 20 miles per hour, which makes the entire Boulder area easily accessible during regular bike tours. The company routinely takes people on two-hour journeys that include visits to Chautauqua, NCAR and Boulder Canyon.

“The majority of people who take our tours have never been on an e-bike before,” Goldberg said. “The most common comment we get from clients is that they wished they did the bike tour on their first day in town, because it provides them with so much information about Boulder.”

The tours run from June to November. Most groups have about eight riders and a guide.

“Riding an electric bike makes you feel like a kid again,” Goldberg said. “The bikes are so powerful that even those who are not in very good shape can ride all over town without any issues. It really opens up the ability to enjoy the great outdoors and not use up all your energy.”

See for further details and bookings

Learn The Art of Wild Plants and Herbs

Boulder is filled with wonderful things. Many are literally at your feet. Boulder is loaded with wild plants and healthy herbs that grow in abundance across the community. But most of us have never paid attention to the dandelions, purslane, wild spinach and other plants that can be collected and eaten.

Brigitte Mars, a local herbalist, offers walking tours around town that teach people about the native plants and useful treasures that sprout all over our neighborhoods.

The walking tours identify and explain the benefits of more than 50 plants that grow around the community. Dandelions, often considered the enemy of lawn lovers, are actually wonderful plants that benefit the bees. They also offer healthful uses. An herbalist will tell you that dandelions contain antioxidants, fight inflammation, help control blood sugar and can reduce cholesterol.

“You can find wonderful plants anywhere lawnmowers have not gone,” Mars said. “Unless you are a goat, why have a lawn? It’s time to learn how we can feed people and create a better planet.”

For more details, see

Run Ralphie Run

By all accounts, the University of Colorado football team will be in full swing this fall. Games should be open to some fans. This is a total must for anyone, not just because the atmosphere inside Folsom Field is among the best in college sports, but also because the views from the east-side stands will blow your mind.

“The stadium is pure magic,” said Jay Elowsky, a long-time Buffs booster and owner of Pasta Jay’s restaurant on Pearl Street. Elowsky has seen almost every home game over the past 30 years.

“The views are beautiful. You can cheer for the team and enjoy views of the Flatirons and the Continental Divide,” he added.

Photo courtesy of University of Colorado Athletic Department

There always a spectacular pre-game party outside Folsom Field. You can hang there and watch the game on a huge screen outside the stadium. If you do go, be sure to get there early, then walk down toward the field to watch the best mascot in college do her thing.

Watch Ralphie, a huge female buffalo, charge onto the field as the team races behind her. It’s is a sight well worth seeing. Five handlers are used to guide Ralphie around the field. She can reach speeds of 25 miles per hour during her run.

See for ticket details as the season approaches.

Sunset Time

It’s time to toast the end of another great fall or summer day. One of the primary spots to take in the town is atop is a new food hall called Rosetta Hall. Located on the Pearl Street Mall, the new hot spot has a wide range of food and drink options and a rooftop lounge that presents some of the best views around. Snack on charred scallions and ricotta ravioli, some lamb shawarma or maybe Thai red curry. Then toast the success of your adventures with a classic margarita as the setting sun kisses the backside of the Flatirons to end another spectacular Boulder day.

See for details.

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