Boulder is the ideal place for so many outdoor sports, hiking being one of them.  Although so many people associate life in Colorado with snow and snow sports, summer in Colorado it one of the state’s best kept secrets.  The hiking here is abundant and there is something for everyone whether you are a seasoned hiker or a newbie.  Today I’m going to offer up a few tips for beginners and offer up some of the top rated hikes in Boulder.

Hydrate and Fuel

As with any exercise hydration and proper nutrition are crucial.  However, with hiking I would take extra caution in this area because it’s not like when you’re at the gym and are able to slip into the locker room for a power bar or hit up the cafe for a smoothie.  When you are hiking, especially if for longer than an hour or two, you’ll need to go prepared with plenty of water and sustenance.  Pack a wearable water bottle and a few portable snacks.  You may be surprise at how strenuous hiking can be, particularly if you are new to it, or are still adjusting to the elevation.

Plan Your Route

Of course planning your route will be essential in having a successful hike.  Fortunately, Boulder County makes it easy to do so.  All of the trails are marked with maps that are pretty easy to read and interpret.  The Boulder County website is an amazing resources for planning out your route at home before you venture out.  You can look at all the trails and the available hikes within each trail.  The site will tell you the elevation, the length of the hike, and how difficult each hike is to the average hiker.

Consider Elevation

The mistake a lot of hikers (new or seasoned) is that they don’t consider how the elevation may affect them.  Most people take 1-3 months to adjust to the elevation and moving around at higher altitudes can at the least make you much more winded than usual, but at worst can cause nausea, light headedness and other more severe symptoms. So if you are new to the area, take it easy on your first hike, Mmmkay?

Go with a Friend

Hiking can be a great solo sport, so if that’s your thing, move on to the next tip.  However, if you are looking to make new friends hiking can be a great and non awkward way to do that.  Boulder has many resources if you are looking to find people to hike alongside.  Some great ones to check out who offer hiking groups and clubs are MOD Moms NorthMeetup.com, and Boulder Hiking Club.  

Evaluate your Gear

This tip is truly for the newbies.  And this tip comes from experience, so don’t take it as condescending.  We all start somewhere!  If you are new to Colorado, you’ll quickly realize that people here who are into outdoor sports love their gear.  It’s not that uncommon to run into someone who has invested more in their road bike than they have their car.  Really.  When it comes to hiking, options for gear are endless.  If you are brand new though, and you see yourself hiking more than a couple times a year, my advice is to invest in a great pair of hiking shoes; they really do make a difference.  Where should you find them?  Why, REI of course.

Top rated hikes in Boulder:

Panorama Point
Mt. Sanitas
Bobolink