Yup, that’s right its Father’s Day this Sunday, May 21. (That’s also the first official day of summer!) Instead of another fancy tie or shave kit, give Dad some time together on a hike. The hikes listed below are my top Father’s day hikes around Boulder, which means they have mild grades, wider trails, and great trailhead facilities like bathrooms, picnic areas, and ample parking which makes things easier for a family.

Image credit: http://www.play-colorado.com/bike/mountain-bike-trail-highlight-betasso-preserve/

1. Betasso preserve
Betasso is a boulder favorite for mountain biking, dog walking, and of course family day hikes.  A short drive up the canyon, Betasso is a quick getaway into the foothills with ponderosas rising up through rolling grassland. There are cool drainages lush with plants and wildflowers. The Canyon Loop trail is around 3 miles long with mostly mild grades and the most popular trail at Betasso. Betasso is closed to mountain biking on Wednesdays and Saturdays, so if you plan on a hike, Saturday might be better. The Canyon Loop is also good for beginning and intermediate mountain bikers so a family mountain bike trip might be great this Sunday.

Beautiful Mud Lake in Nederland and is a treat for the wildflower and wildlife enthusiasts. There are mountain views and a mountain lake. There is a large picnic pavilion and other picnic facilities. Moose are also a possible site in this area!

Mesa Trail, Photo credit: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_18027039

3. Mesa Trail

The beautiful Mesa trail begins at a crossing with South Boulder Creek filled with trees, shrubs, and song birds. There are several picnic tables and a large parking area. The trail is wide and opens to a large meadow and then connects to several other trails. You can get to the top of Bear Peak and South Boulder Peak from Mesa’s connection to Shadow Canyon Trail too if you’re in for a challenge.
This trail in south Boulder follows Boulder creek under big cottonwoods. The trail opens up to fantastic views of those iconic Flatirons to the west and cow pastures to the east. There are some picnic areas along the trail as well as access to the creek for the furry ones to cool off. It’s a short out and back trail and has almost no grade.

Give Dad the gift of time and get out there! Happy Father’s Day!
Lizzie works as a seasonal for City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, spending her days among the flora and fauna of Boulder both on and off the job. When it comes to knowing what to do and whats going on in the numerous open spaces around Boulder, Lizzie is your girl. After graduating from the University of Texas with a Geography: Environmental Resource Management degree, she came to Salida, CO to work in the San Juan National Forest and surrounding areas on a trail crew. Previously she has worked for Boulder County Parks and Open Space, other trail crews, and as an environmental educator. She has a passion for spreading environmental knowledge and bringing nature straight to the people.