Boulder has no shortage of hiking trails and climbing routes. However, on a nice day, the popular trails in town can be highly trafficked and sometimes too crowded to enjoy. Eldorado Springs, located about 10 miles south, is the place to go if you’re looking for a less crowded, adventurous day in the great outdoors.
The small town of Eldorado Springs is home to fewer than 700 residents. This quaint town lacks some basic amenities, like a grocery store or café, but makes up for it with a relaxing hot spring pool that the Denver Post calls one of Colorado’s best pools in and around Denver. Eldorado Canyon State Park also has some of the best climbing in the world. It’s a mecca with more than 500 technical routes attracting athletes from all over the globe.
Make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks before you head down to Eldorado Springs. Remember, there are no food options in town, other than a gas station before you get off the highway and a small concession stand at the Eldorado Pool and Resort.
Fun fact: Eldorado Springs is the home to the Eldorado Natural Spring Water (bottled), which is considered one of the purest natural springs in the world and has been ranked among the best-tasting water in North America.
Start your morning by checking out Eldorado Canyon State Park. For a day pass, the park admission is $8 per car. The park is open from sunrise to sunset seven days a week. In the park, you can choose from one of the many hiking trails, gear up for one of the hundreds of technical climbing routes, have a picnic, cast a line into the river or just enjoy the beautiful scenery and atmosphere. In the winter, you can enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
There are four main trails in the park. The shortest is the Streamside Trail, which takes you along South Boulder Creek and canyon walls for a half a mile one way. If you’re looking for a trail with great views, check out the Fowler Trail, which takes you just over a half a mile one way. There’s also a trail that takes you up to the Crag Hotel ruins that burned down in 1912. This trail is called Rattlesnake Gulch, proves to be more difficult than the others and can last anywhere from two to four miles. Finally, the longest trail, at 3.5 miles one way, is the Eldorado Canyon Trail.
Local Tips: When visiting both the park and the pool, avoid the weekends and get there early in the morning, if possible. Because these destinations are so popular, they can get crowded on the weekends and parking is limited, especially in the park.
After you’re tired out from your choice of activity in the park, check out the Eldorado Pool and Resort. The pool is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. seven days a week. Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for seniors and children. There are also season pass options available.
The famous bright blue water flows into the pool from the Eldorado artisan spring, where it’s maintained at a comfortable temperature of 80 degrees. You can swim, lounge or have some fun on the slides and diving board. The pool first opened in 1905 and has been a great way to relax and beat the heat in the summer months ever since. This is a great place to spend an afternoon with friends and family.
The main drag through town is a dirt road and the parking is private for residents. There are also multiple trailheads along Eldorado Springs Drive with ample parking if the park is too packed. The trailheads outside the park do require a day fee.