skip navigation
Small helicopter near glacier

E. James Dixon (middle, INSTAAR) and Craig Lee (right, INSTAAR) using a helicopter for archaeological reconnaissance and survey of glaciers in Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska, July 2001. Photo: R. Ivan.



Flying to Boulder

Fly to Denver International Airport (airport code="DEN"), which is about 50 miles southeast of Boulder. The airport, often called "DIA", has car rental offices, bus and shuttle services, cabs, and restaurants. Ground transportation counters are on the baggage-claim level of main terminal (level 5).

Shuttle Bus services
Boulder SuperShuttle 303 227-0000
Boulder Express Shuttle 888 457-4646, 303 457-4646
Check in at the counter to purchase ticket to Boulder. Shuttles leave to and from the airport hourly from ~5 AM to 12:30 AM. Trip time is a bit more than 60 minutes depending on number of stops to hotels etc. One-way trip fare to hotels is ~ $19; roundtrip is ~ $36. You can be taken to any address in town for an extra ~ $6. Reservations possible from Boulder to the airport, but generally not from airport to Boulder.

Public Bus Service
skyRide to DIA 303 299-6000 then speed dial 1-2-1
Check departure times at the RTD skyRide counter, inside door 506. Use Route "AB" to get to Boulder. Buses leave for Boulder every hour or so between 6:20 a.m. and 11:20 p.m. Trip time is 90 minutes or more, with several stops in Boulder. One-way fare is about $10.

YellowCab 303 777-7777
Because of the long distance to Boulder, cab service is expensive. The fixed rate is ~ $65 one-way, depending on location.

Rental Car
Car rental companies
Some car rental counters may close in mid-evening (9:00pm??), so check for closing time when making reservations.

Driving to Boulder

Denver Int'l Airport to Boulder:
There are a number of viable routes. Here are the two easiest ones:

Option A
Peņa > I-70 > I-270 > US-36
Driving time is about 70 minutes when traffic is light.

  1. Upon leaving the terminal or the rental car area, look for signs marked "Airport Exit" and "To I-70 & I-225 via Peņa Blvd."
  2. Stay on Peņa Blvd until it merges with I-70 westbound. Stay in the left or center lanes to avoid exiting onto I-225 and other cross streets, and continue westbound on I-70 for about 4 miles.
  3. Watch for the I-270 exit on the right, labeled "Westminster/Ft. Collins," that comes at about 14 miles from DIA. It is also labeled Exit 279, "US-36 Boulder." Take I-270 past Quebec, Vasquez, and York Streets, and past I-76 at 18 miles from DIA.
  4. Stay in the left lanes, until you pass under a "US-36 West/Boulder" sign at about 20 miles from DIA. (Do not exit to the right, towards Ft. Collins or Broadway.)
  5. Stay on US-36 into Boulder.

map of route from Denver airport to Boulder


Option B
Peņa > E-470 > US-36
Driving time is about 50 minutes.
This is a toll route, ~$5.25 in cash required, exact change not needed, about 3 toll booths.

  1. Upon leaving the terminal or the rental car area, look for signs marked "Airport Exit."
  2. Stay on Peņa Blvd for only a few miles until E-470 interchange. Take E-470 North/West.
  3. Stay on E-470, which becomes the Northwest Parkway at I-25.
  4. At end of Northwest parkway, follow signs to Highway 36 West towards Boulder.
  5. Stay on US-36 into Boulder.

Map of E-470 and NW Parkway


To Best Western Boulder Inn
(labeled"Hotel" on below map).

Option A

  1. Stay on US-36 into Boulder, go past the Foothills Parkway/Table Mesa/South Boulder Rd exit, and take the Baseline Rd exit to the right, at about 39 miles from DIA.
  2. Go straight through the light at bottom of exit ramp, toward stop sign. Veer left/straight through stop sign. Hotel will be on your right (east) within a few hundred meters.

Option B

  1. Stay on US-36 into Boulder until the first traffic light at Colorado Avenue, about 40 miles from DIA.
  2. Turn right very tightly onto the frontage road paralleling US-36 and head back south about 400 m until you come to the hotel.

Map of Boulder highlighting CU and INSTAAR



  1. Stay on US-36 into Boulder, go past the Foothills Parkway/Table Mesa/South Boulder Rd exit, and take the Baseline Rd exit to the right, at about 39 miles from DIA.
  2. Stay to the right on the exit ramp, and turn right (east) on Baseline Rd. Get in left lane.
  3. Travel to the first stoplight, on 30th Street. Turn left onto 30th street north.
  4. Go through two stoplights until reaching INSTAAR on your right (east) just before Arapahoe Ave. The below map shows Research Buildings RL-1 (71) and RL-3 (73). RL-3 is also called the "ARC" building. Public parking after 5:00 pm is available in the lots adjacent to these buildings. Public parking during the day is available directly west across 30th Street in Scott Carpenter Park.

Map of East Campus showing  INSTAAR

Boulder driving hints

  • US 36 becomes 28th Street.
  • Numbered streets (i.e., 30th St.) run north-south with low numbers to the west (toward the mountains).
  • Campus is to the left (west) at the first light on US 36 in Boulder (Colorado Ave).
  • To get downtown go left at the second light on US 36-28th Street (Arapahoe St.), the third light (Canyon), or the fifth light (Pearl).

color map Boulder Colorado

Driving to Boulder from other locations
Boulder is on US 36 about 30 miles north west of Denver. Interstate highways I70 and I25 intersect in Denver, but there are a couple of local short cuts.

  • From the south, take I25 to US 36 west to Boulder.
  • From the east, exit I70 onto I25 north and then take US 36 to Boulder.
  • From the north, take I25 to Highway 52 west (right turn, go about 10 miles); it dead ends into Highway 119 at the local IBM plant, turn left and take 119 into Boulder.
  • From the west, take US6 exit (left exit) off I70 just past Idaho Springs about 15 miles through Clear Creek Canyon, turn left at the traffic light at Highway 93 and continue about 15 miles into Boulder.

For other driving instructions and maps, try MapQuest.