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Stay healthy and have fun outside this summer


Aurelia Pollard/Left Hand Valley Courier Hikers frequently visit Chautauqua, which boasts numerous trails for hikers of every skill level.

Many people agree that there’s no better place to spend summer than in Colorado. During the summer, the trails and lakes are full of people spending their free time outdoors.

Boulder County offers numerous activities from hiking the many trails at Chautauqua Park, cycling and running, to water sports on the Boulder Reservoir. There are activities to do for every age group and every skill level.

Although it’s fairly easy to find a hike to do in Boulder, there are some unique ones that can sometimes be overlooked.

If it’s a moderate to easy hike you’re looking for, try the Flatirons Vista hike in Boulder. The total hike is 3.3 miles, but it has a shorter loop. The trail is easily accessible for bicyclists, runners and horse riders. Feel free to even bring your furry friend on the trail. The trail is located .3 miles south of Highway 128, on Highway 93.

A popular hike at Chautauqua Park is Royal Arch. The hike is rated moderate to difficult and involves a 3.5 mile-trail with a steep inclination and an elevation gain of approximately 1,400 feet. Although more difficult, the trail is highly popular and it’s best to go earlier in the day. Those who complete the hike will be rewarded with a beautiful view over Bluebell Canyon, Boulder and sometimes Denver. The hike starts on the Chautauqua trail by the ranger station.

Another unique hike that’s rated difficult is Heart Lake, at James Peak Wilderness Area. The hike is just under nine miles, with a steep incline over the ridges, but once you make it to the descent it will be easy from there. The trail is lightly trafficked due to its difficulty and reaches a total elevation of 11,000 feet. Heart Lake is a clear lake named for its shape and is surrounded by mountain peaks. Once you reach the destination you will be able to see for miles in all directions. From Boulder, take Canyon Blvd/Highway 119 to Nederland. At the traffic circle in Nederland, turn left/south on Highway 119 to Rollinsville. In Rollinsville, turn right/west on the dirt Rollins Pass Road. It’s eight miles to the trail head at the Moffat Tunnel.

If you prefer being in the water, take a trip to the Boulder Reservoir, where you can do a number of water sports. The 700-acre reservoir is owned and operated by the City of Boulder, and operated as a water supply by the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, for drinking water and irrigation.

Many people can be found boating, swimming, water skiing, tubing, wake boarding or fishing in the water. On land, many people run, bike and even have picnics. Swimming is only allowed at the designated swim area when lifeguards are on duty, and picnic spots can be reserved online.

From May 28 to September 5, the Boulder Reservoir is open from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., but guests cannot enter after 8 p.m. Throughout the summer, entry fees are charged and are $4 for youth (3-18), $7 for adults (19-59) and $5 for seniors (60+).

The reservoir is located at 5565 N. 51st Street, Boulder. For more information call 303-441-3461 or visit Bouldercolorado.gov/parks-rec/boulder-reservoir.

With all the fun summer activities to do outside, it’s important to take care of your physical health. Already temperatures have been soaring into the 90’s at the beginning of summer, and it’s important to bring an adequate amount of water and wear plenty of sunscreen when you’re outside.

According to the Boulder County Health Department, the best way to avoid sunburns or skin cancer is to avoid being in the sun. The main times to avoid the sun are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest, but if you must be outside try to find shade.

Other ways to protect your skin from the sun are by wearing wide-brim hats, sunglasses that prevent against ultraviolet (UV) exposure, light clothing that covers your arms and legs, and clothing that also protects against UV rays.

Sunscreen is a must when you’re outside; try to find a “broad spectrum” sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays. It’s also important to use a lip balm with sun protectant in it. It’s a good rule of thumb to apply your sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outside, and reapplying it every two hours.

For more information on activities to do in Boulder County, visit Bouldercounty.org.


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