Saturday, 27 October 2012

Boulder Loop Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 7.27 km (4.52 miles), terrain rises 70 meters in hills west of town

For more routes see Route List.

Route and photos by Jessica Hauser. The pictures look like deep winter, but that was just October!

Boulder is a very diverse town. Just a few minutes walk from the lively, colorful downtown you can step into the wild and find yourself at the edge of the Rockies. This route will show you through both of these beautiful sides of Boulder.

Start your run downtown, on the SW corner of Boulder Canyon Drive and Broadway. From here you can enter the Boulder Creek Path which goes along the creek all the way from East- to West Boulder.

Run westwards (to your right) on the path. Leave the path onto Canyon Blvd. after you have passed the courthouse - a big boxy, sand-colored building to your right.
Heading westwards through Boulder's residential section
Cross Canyon Blvd. and continue onto 3rd St. This leads you to Pearl St.

Make a left on Pearl and, after a few yards, turn right again onto a small paved path.

Follow this path across Spruce St. until it turns into Green Rock Drive. This quiet little road leads onto Sunshine Canyon Drive at the end.

NOTE: Careful! In the following part of the route, the path is very uneven and not suitable for wet or icy weather. Alternate route below.

If you cross Sunshine Canyon Drive, you will see a hiking trail starting a few yards to your left. This will take you right along the edge of Mt. Sanitas with spectacular views. Follow the trail straight ahead until you see the Dakota Ridge Trail branch off to your right. The Dakota Ridge Trail will take you back to Valley View Drive. 
Along the Sunshine Canyon hiking trail
Follow Valles View Drive and make a right on 5th St. After 3 blocks, make a left onto Maxwell Ave.

Alternate Route:
Make a right onto Sunshine Canyon Drive. Make a left onto 5th and then turn right onto Maxwell Ave.

Maxwell Ave, a very peaceful neighbourhood, ends at Broadway. You will have to make a right there and then turn left onto Mapleton Ave, in order to keep going East.

Mapleton is a beautiful street with some of Boulder's most lovely houses. Go on until 19th St.

Make a right onto 19th and continue all the way down, across Walnut St., Goss St., Athens St. and many more. This will take you right back to Boulder Creek Path.

Turn right onto the path and follow it westwards - and you will end up right where you started your run!

The World's Most Running-Friendly Cities

The voters have spoken
You might have thought that the presidential race between Barrack Obama and Mitt Romney was the big question to be decided by voters these last weeks. But at the same time, another important issue needed a similar big decision: what is the most runner-friendly city on earth?

I posed that question to various runners' forums around the world (RunnersWorld.com, community.active.com and LinkedIn running forums in US, RunningBug in UK, RunnersWorld.de and Laufforum.de in Germany). And thanks to the feedback from many knowledgeable runners (thanks!), we now have the results.

Looking at each forum individually, you'll see that the most popular cities were fairly local, although the Germans and Brits did mention quite a few cities elsewhere. In fact the runners at UK's great RunningBug site mentioned cities all over the world.

For example, the RunningBug runners chose such diverse cities as Cape Town, Miami Beach, Stockholm, San Francisco, Vienna, Budapest, Melbourne (AUS), Munich and Laguna Beach; in addition to British towns like London, Leeds and Brighton.

The American forums mainly mentioned US and Canadian cities, such as Tampa Bay (St. Pete and Tampa), Washington DC, Austin TX, Palo Alto, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Denver, Vancouver, San Francisco, Wilmington NC and Jacksonville.

The German forum runners mainly agreed that there's no unfriendly city to run in Germany (those lucky runners): all German cities have lots of quiet parks, riverside trails, lakes and pedestrian zones. But favorites were Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Bielefeld, and the industrial Ruhr cities of Oberhausen and Duisburg with their Kaisergarten and Grüner Pfad runs. Vienna in Austria also got a few votes, as did Bern in Switzerland and one exotic vote for Mexico City's Chapultepec Park.

My personal favorite, Sydney AUS, didn't make the list. Hey, you all have to head there sometime: Sydney is a paradise for runners!

The Unfriendliest Cities
Some runners voted for the most running-UNfriendly cities: Calcutta (fumes, chaotic traffic, heat), Shanghai (similar reasons), Paris, Orlando, Johannesburg, Rome and Atlanta. Interestingly London landed in both lists, which I can understand: it has lots of loud, stinky traffic, but if you know how to find them, the London parks and canals are among the biggest and most beautiful running routes around.

The Top Running-Friendly Cities Results
So, compiling the above votes, here are the winners:
St. Pete Beach: nothing wrong with this view...
In Munich's Englischer Garten park
1. The number-one spot is a tie between Munich and Tampa Bay. Munich was praised for its gigantic Englischer Garten park, as well as the Isar River trails and parks like the Olympic Park and Nymphenburg. Tampa Bay was popular for its endless bayside trails in both Tampa and St. Petersburg.
Fiaker carriages in front of Vienna's Schönbrunn Palace
2. Number two goes to Vienna, with its long Danube River trails with its Prater Park, and other parks like Schönbrunn.
The Capitol in Washington during a night run
Welcome to Berlin! Typical scene at the Brandenburg Gate
3. At number three, it starts getting complicated, with 5 cities getting the same number of votes: Let's hear it for Washington DC, Berlin, Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Francisco and Hamburg. All of them are also blessed with long, waterside trails and lots of parks. And the National Mall in Washington, with its inspiring monuments, is a run nobody will soon forget.

But let's not forget the other voted-for cities which didn't get mentioned above: Pittsburgh, Brussels, Copenhagen, Bergen (Norway), San Luis Obispo County, Toulouse (France), Bregenz (Austria), Chicago, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Kosice (Slovenia), Weimar, Cascais (Portugal) and Haard (in Germany's Ruhr district).

Thanks for everyone for taking part. May all of you get to put your running shoes down on the streets a few more of these great running towns!