Living in Boulder has a lot of perks, including easy access to some of the best hiking, biking and outdoor activity spots. If you’re planning a trip to one of the nearby parks or trailheads, keep these tips in mind.
Ease into it
Whether you consider yourself a novice or an expert, choose a trail that matches your current fitness level and ability. Be sure to evaluate distance, elevation gain, ratings, trail conditions and more before committing to a hike. There are lots of free online resources that can help you find a trail that’s right for you. You can also talk to local guides, check out regional maps or stop by the Adventure Resource Center on campus to get recommendations or support. Here are some additional free resources to check out:
Pack the essentials
There are a few essential supplies you’ll want to bring with you, regardless of whether you’re going for a day hike, summiting a 14er or biking on nearby trails. Here’s what to pack:
If you plan on going into the backcountry, consider packing additional items such as a headlamp, navigation device, fire-starters and an emergency shelter kit.
Check the weather
Look at the forecast before heading out, and keep in mind that weather in Colorado can change in an instant. Be prepared for less-than-ideal weather by dressing in or packing layers. This will allow you to cool off when it gets hot and bundle up if it rains or gets colder at higher elevations. Synthetic materials like polyester and nylon are best, because they hold less moisture compared to regular cotton clothing and dry more quickly. It’s also important to wear appropriate shoes that fit you properly, provide adequate support and have good traction. If you’re planning to wear a new set of shoes or hiking boots, break them in a few times before committing to longer hikes.
Leave no trace
Leave no trace principles help minimize your impact on the outdoors. Here are some ways you can help protect our parks and wildlife while hiking:
Use the buddy system
If you’re going for a hike, take a friend (or a few) with you. Accidents are more common than you may think, so it’s a good idea to have someone around to call for help or provide assistance, especially on less frequented trails. If you do decide to go it alone, tell someone where you’re going and how long you expect to be gone. Have a plan in place in case they don’t hear from you. That way if something does happen, they will be able to call for help or search and rescue.