Looking back to the day when we had 2 little ones in tow, getting out for a run served two fold – a way to get our daily exercise, and for the kids to venture out further then they would on their own two legs. The outings would become less of a dreaded exercise routine and more of an adventure often times enjoying the local fauna like the grazing cows and local prairie dogs, to stopping by the creek to throw a few rocks in.
But not all trails are built equal. While the trails closer to the foothills can be rocky, narrow and too bumpy for little ones, trails along the plains tend to be smoother, wider and flat with relatively little elevation gain which are great for jogging strollers.
Here are a few options for you and the little one(s) to venture out on. These same trails will also prove to be the better trails for the kiddos to follow along on their bikes once they become old enough to keep up with you!
Bobolink/South Boulder Creek
Close and beautiful vistas of the foothills and Flatirons. The trail from the Bobolink Trailhead winds as it follows the creek, to the south west a few miles till you reach the gated entrance at Marshall road. Grazing cows often line the trail, if not overtake it and a prarie dogs village close to Marshall road will often get the little ones giddy. Although recently parts of this trail have been resurfaced and I noticed that it could get a bit soft in sections.
The Wonderland Lake area is a great place to run with wonderful views of the front range. The Wonderland Lake trail goes around the lake and connects with the Foothills trail that heads north towards the parking area off of Lee Hill Drive. Taking Foothills much further than the trail gets much bumpier and narrower.
Boulder Bike Paths
4.5mi from Eben G Fine Park http://beta.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/25931792/
Any and all of Boulder Bike Paths are amazing for running even in the winter time as the city is right on top of clearing them after a snow. One of the most varied and beautiful pathways is the Boulder Creek trail which follows Boulder Creek running west to east. You can pick up the trail at almost every block along the way including Scott Carpenter Park, The Millennium Hotel downtown’s Central Park and Eben G. Fine Park at the west end of Arapahoe. The last 1.5 miles of the path, turns to natural trail as it follows up along Canyon Blvd. The path is smooth and wide but can become snow and ice packed in the winters.
Boulder Valley Ranch
Many of the trails in the system are suitable for strollers. Parking at Eagle trailhead just north of Boulder Reservoir leads to Eagle Trail to Sage for a nice big loop. Or park at the Boulder Valley Ranch off of 36 just north of Boulder.
The trailhead can be on 75th just north of HWY 52 in Niwot. The trail is and easy 3.9 mile lollipop which features hard-packed gravel and scenic views of the front range and the prairies.
4.5mi out and back http://beta.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/25931962/
The East Boulder – Teller Farm trail between Arapaho and Valmont is the widest and smoothest section here. The trail descends slightly from the Araphahoe trailhead to the north and you can definitely feel the climb as you come back. There is parking at both ends. The East Boulder Trail – Whiterocks again becomes more narrow and rugged the further north you travel.
Longmont – Rogers Grove/St. Vrain Greenway – Golden Ponds
The Rogers Grove/St. Vrain Greenway was the first trail I used to take my first born when we lived in Longmont. There is a concrete path that winds its way along east to west with the St. Vrain. Once you reach the Golden Ponds Park and Nature Area the surface turns to dirt or light gravel easy travel for strollers. The views of Long’s Peak and nature along the creeks are great distractions for you and the kids.
On McCaslin Blvd just south of South Boulder Rd offers great views of the foothills and Flatirons has a few trails in its network around the mesa that extends to the west close to Highway 36. Out and around for a short 3mi loop or extend your run by mixing in a few of the crossing paths.
Coal Creek Louisville
Coal Creek Trail in eastern Boulder County, stretches, uninterrupted for seven miles along Coal Creek from 96th Street in Louisville to 120th Street in Lafayette. The 10-foot wide trail is primarily soft-surface, with only a few sections of concrete in low spots. Aquarius Trailhead parking lot on Highway 42, just west of the Louisville cemetery.