Ramble to the Rayback Collective in Boulder

Red Rocks Trail Boulder Rayback

Take a Scenic Tour of Boulder by Foot, and Earn Your Beer.

Boulderites take great pride in making their neighborhoods their own. Exploring them on foot reveals these special places. One route with an abundance of hidden gems is Boulder Walks Ramble to the Rayback Collective. As program coordinator, I developed this 4.5-mile walk to showcase the variety of paths accessible on foot, through some of Boulder’s most interesting places.

Start at the Main Boulder Public Library, 1001 Arapahoe Avenue. Walk west on the Boulder Creek Path, using the dirt foot trail right next to the creek. This path is more scenic, and you can enjoy the shade trees and the peaceful sound of flowing water.

Walkers stroll along Boulder Creek near the library downtown

Rejoin the paved path on the approach to Eben G. Fine Park, cross the bridge and walk along the gravel path near the water. Walk to the west end of the park and take the underpass under Canyon Boulevard to Settlers’ Park. Go north to the Red Rocks Trail and its short climb up to the spectacular red rock outcroppings, once revered by the original Arapaho inhabitants of the area as statuesque gods.

Follow the trail to the top of the hill, then head down the winding trail to Sunshine Canyon Drive and the Centennial Trailhead. Restrooms are available there. Cross the road and walk through the shelter on the north side of the road to the paved path that heads east to Mapleton Avenue.

Walk east on Mapleton on the north side of the street, enjoying the historic homes and old trees along the parkway. At 9th Street, cross and walk on the east side for half a block, then turn down the alleyway before you get to Maxwell Avenue. Walk east through the alleyway and enjoy the water flowing through the irrigation ditch.

Exit the alleyway at Maxwell and walk north on Broadway to the pedestrian crossing signal at High Street. Cross Broadway and walk east on High Street up the hill past Casey Middle School. Look back at the spectacular view of the Flatirons. At the end of High Street, follow the narrow path between two houses down to Bluff Street. Footpaths such as this provide easy access for walkers through otherwise dead-end streets.

Walk east on Bluff to 20th Street while noticing the beautiful gardens and family-friendly features of this neighborhood. Cross 20th and walk on the east side of the street to Mesa Drive. Turn right on Mesa and walk past the Mesa Vista Retirement Home to Lover’s Hill Park. Stop and enjoy the view – be sure to read the Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr., quote inscribed on the sidewalk there. Walk down the path through Lover’s Hill Park back to Bluff and walk east to Folsom.

Walk north along the west side of Folsom. Turn left onto the Goose Creek Path and follow the path back around to the right. Take the underpass under Folsom. Boulder has developed more than 80 underpasses like this one to make walking and bicycling easy, and to provide flood water channels when needed.

Keep walking east, staying to the right to avoid cyclists, until you come to the small waterway. Turn left to take the north fork of the Goose Creek Path. Follow the path to the underpass under Valmont Road, and emerge from the underpass on the north side of Valmont. The Rayback Collective will be on your right. Stop and enjoy a drink or a meal at the Rayback Collective.