Mix Boulder’s love for the outdoors with its endless creativity and you get all kinds of crazy ways to play outside.
If you’re looking for a creative way to enjoy Boulder’s 300-plus days of sunshine and stay active, let Boulder surprise you. Here are 15 unique outdoor activities you probably haven’t tried yet.
1. Goat yoga
No, not goats doing yoga. You do the yoga. With goats.
Novelty and laughter aside, there’s a real value to doing yoga in a barn or field with baa-ing buddies. Animals can be therapeutic and bring a lighthearted energy to your yoga. It’s a way to practice staying calm and focused in an unpredictable environment. And it can bring awareness to the value of local farms and the animals’ needs, too.
2. Standup paddleboard yoga
This is another kind of yoga: in the middle of a lake, balanced on a floating paddleboard. It’s a real challenge both mentally and physically; you have to stay focused and keep your balance, lest you topple your board and fall into the water. On warmer days, you may actually seek out “failure” for a quick cool down. In fact, it’s easier to fall into the water than onto a hard floor, so this might be the perfect place to practice your headstands.
Find SUP Yoga classes for all levels through Rocky Mountain Paddleboard in Longmont or Boulder.
Yoga not your thing? Rent a standup paddleboard and stay on your two feet for another fun, outdoorsy workout.
Slacklining is a quintessential Boulder outdoor activity and a fun way to hang out in the sunshine and test your balance. In case you’ve never tried it before, it’s kind of like tightrope walking on a flat line often hung between two trees. But make sure you know the slacklining rules first. Gotta protect those trees.
For a unique twist on slacklining, check out the YogaSlackers, which have Colorado roots and regularly teach at the annual Hanuman Festival. One well-known, Boulder-based YogaSlacker is Raj Seymour and he teaches around town.
Check the Colorado Slackline Club for slack workshops or contact Rocky Mountain Slackline. If you stay at the A Lodge, it has its own slackline park. And the city announced in 2018 it was turning Tantra Park into a dedicated slackline park, complete with permanent posts to hang your line from.
If walking around town and the mountains is too boring, try parkour. But make sure you know how to do it safely (and legally) first by booking a lesson at Apex Movement or the Superhuman Academy. You’ll learn how to jump, land, vault and climb. And once you’ve mastered the basics, you can graduate to flipping, flying and tricks. Parkour is a combo of strength, balance, creativity and playfulness.
5. Live-action role play
Get out of the house and think outside of the box when you participate in a live-action role-playing event. LARP (as it’s called for short) brings fantasy to life. People gather to role-play or go on scavenger hunts, usually centered around a storyline or mission. You might dress up or pretend to be an elf or zombie, a mage or warrior and “battle” others with foam swords and plastic shields. Imagine Dungeons and Dragons, but in the flesh. LARP events vary, from theatrical to more of a battle, with various genres, from sci-fi to zombie to steampunk to medieval.
6. Nordic walking
You’ve heard of Nordic or cross-country skiing, but you can benefit from the Nordic poles even without the snow. Nordic walking is a specific kind of walking with special poles, and it claims to help improve your balance, strength, posture and flexibility.
Learn the techniques and exercises at RallySport, which offers multiple group classes every week, including intro sessions.
If the water is beckoning you, try sculling, a no-wake, engine-free form of paddling whereby you propel a small boat with oars on both sides of the craft. Union Reservoir in Longmont has previously been home to the Longmont Sculling Club, but it’s currently on hold (although you can book a private lesson). You can also try sculling on Boulder Reservoir. There are two-person and four-person boats.
8. Yoga on horseback
If you’re not impressed by yoga in the park, how about this: yoga on a horse. Yoga on Horseback is offered in Boulder as a special therapy that people say touches participants both mentally and physically. The teacher will guide you through the postures, focusing on your breath and also your partner: the massive beast you connect and work with. Horses are said to be intuitive and are often used in therapy for people of all abilities and backgrounds.
9. Yoga hikes
Boulder loves its trails, so of course there are yoga hikes. Various companies will take you on trail hikes, often into the mountains, so you can immerse yourself in nature. Along the way or at the end of the trail, you will pause to do some salutations to the actual sun rising above you. The trek through the wilderness is calming, in and of itself, and truly enhances the meditative quality of the practice.
You can also find yoga outdoors at the nearby Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Yoga on the Rocks is wildly popular and not too far from Boulder.
10. Theater hikes
Head to the Colorado Chautauqua for this unique way to get moving outside: Hiking Plays, presented by Arts in the Open. These are theatrical productions done on a hiking trail, with nature as the stage. Hiking Plays are offered June through October. Plays in the past have included “Snow White” and “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”
This hike is not extreme (so it’s appropriate for all levels, including kids). It typically stretches across two miles with a slight elevation gain but nothing too strenuous.
11. Ninja playground
Want to be a ninja? Love “American Ninja Warrior?” Longmont is home to one of Colorado’s best ninja obstacle courses, the outdoor Warrior Playground. It offers a full-scale “American Ninja Warrior” course and training facility for adults and kids. You may find actual Ninja Warrior heroes practicing or teaching here. It’s the real deal. This is a super fun way to test your skills, get fit and have fun outside.
If you want to run in a race but don’t want the pressure, sign up for a Parkrun. These are weekly, free, timed 5K runs. They start at 8 a.m. every Saturday May through September and 9 a.m. October through April at the South Boulder Creek Trail, 5660 Sioux Dive. They’re free to join and there’s no stress. Test your own time and try to improve every week.
13. Calisthenics in the park
Want to work your muscles without the gym? Build strength in North Boulder Park with a killer calisthenics workout. It’s all about bodyweight training; no weights required. You’ll find chin-up bars, dip handles and more. Learn more about this outdoor “gym” online.
14. Swing dance outside the teahouse
Boulder Swing Dance organizes free, outdoor, evening swing dance parties outside the Dushanbe Teahouse in downtown Boulder. Dance outside near Boulder Creek under the summer sky. Need some pointers? There’s a half-hour swing dance class before every dance party. You’ll experience a variety of partner dances, from folk to tango to waltz and salsa. These typically run through the summer and even into the early fall, while the weather’s nice.
15. Powerfit Yoga
Get fit and zen at the same time, while under Boulder’s beautiful sky. Powerfit Yoga classes are held at Boulder’s Chautauqua Park with views of the Flatirons. The events are organized by Fitness for Living, aka FitLiv, which also has outdoor boot camp classes. As FitLiv puts it, “A sun salutation is much more meaningful and vivid when done outdoors. You feel connected to the earth beneath your feet, the morning glow of the Flatirons welcomes your gaze and the scent of grass and song of birds fills your awareness.”