Help our community enjoy and protect shared open space and parks! Read more about our 10 essential reminders for visiting City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks and Boulder and Recreation park areas!

Explore, enjoy and care for our remarkable City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks! Before you head outdoors to enjoy Boulder's 155 miles of trails, read more about our 10 essential reminders to help you enjoy and protect Boulder open space and parks:.

Know Before You Go

Explore Open Space Trails and Trailheads

Learn which trails allow bikes, dogs and horses and see their length, elevation gain and difficulty through our trail search webpage. Explore and search Boulder's 155 miles of Open Space and Mountain Parks trails through our interactive web map. Visit the Colorado Trail Explorer to also see Open Space and Mountain Parks trails and other paths maintained by neighboring open space and public land agencies.

A woman sits on a cliff formation on open space high above Boulder

City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks invites community members to enjoy shared land. But remember: All of us have a responsibility to protect these lands for future generations. Photo by Katie Edward.

Visit Boulder Parks and Recreation Areas

Consider visiting Boulder Parks and Recreation areas! The city manages more than 80 parks and recreation facilities, including playgrounds, picnic shelters, skate parks, sports fields, the Pearl Street Mall, the Municipal Plaza, Valmont City Park, community parks, neighborhood parks, pocket parks, dog parks and more. Search Boulder Parks and Recreation' park areas and recreational facilities.

View Open Space Closures

Visit our closure webpage to learn about more current trail and trailhead closures. Visually see current closures at and Colorado Trail Explorer. Community members can text “OSMP” to 888-777 to receive text updates about muddy trail closures. View current wildlife closures we implement to protect sensitive habitats.

Sign Up for Parks and Rec Alerts

Before your busy summer begins, Boulder’s Parks and Recreation Department (BPR) encourages community members to sign up for its new text notification service to receive information about unplanned operational changes. Text updates will only be sent about changes that impact the rest of that day’s operations. Learn more about this service and sign up today!

Come On a Shuttle or Bike

Leave the car at home! Visit Open Space and Mountain Parks and Parks and Recreation areas on a bus, shuttle or bike. Consider visiting Boulder open space and parks on a RTD bus! The City of Boulder provides a free Park-to-Park shuttle service to and from Chautauqua Park, with several stops around Boulder. There is also FREE shuttle bus service that provide visitors access to Eldorado Canyon State Park and the Marshall Mesa, Doudy Draw, and South Mesa trailheads. Many OSMP trailheads and Boulder parks have bike racks, so consider riding your bike to enjoy open space trails!

Know Open Space and Parks Regulations

Understand open space ules and regulations before visiting shared public lands. View online maps to see current dog regulations and wildlife closure areas across Boulder's open space system. Read Boulder Parks and Recreation park regulations.

Read Open Space and Parks Updates

Learn the latest about open space news, projects and guided hikes by:

Read our E-Bike Guides

Read our guide to learn more about the types of e-bikes allowed open space trails and where you can ride them on open space. Read more about electric micromobility, including e-bikes, inside the City of Boulder. E-scooters, e-skateboards, low-powered scooters and toy vehicles are not allowed on City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks trails. Recreate responsibly. Whether biking or e-biking, be considerate when passing others on a bike. Slow down and communicate before you pass.

Explore Other Activities in Boulder

Boulder is a remarkable place and community! Remember: Shopping in Boulder helps fund your Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks as our work for the community is primarily supported by sales taxes. Learn about the unique and different experiences you can have in Boulder before and after visiting open space. Learn more about fun activities to do from our friends at Visit Boulder:

Visit Other Public Lands

Honor Indigenous Connections to Land

The City of Boulder extends its deep gratitude to Tribal Nations for the opportunity to listen to them as part of ongoing city-Tribal Nation collaboration. As you step onto the land, consider and reflect that for more than 13,000 years, generations of Indigenous Peoples have traversed, lived in and stewarded lands that American Europeans colonized as Boulder.

The Red Rocks formation in The Peoples' Crossing in west Boulder

The Peoples' Crossing is an area in west Boulder that Tribal Representatives named and honors Boulder as a crossroads for Indigenous Peoples who have traversed and lived in the mountains and plains of the Boulder area since time immemorial.

Plan and Prepare

Create a Plan

Take time to plan your visit to Boulder open space and parks areas. Visit our trail search webpage to see a trail's length, its difficulty and whether it's open to bikes, dogs and horses. Considering planning a visit to a Boulder park! See current closures across the open space trail system. See what days and times open space trails are most popular. Consider visiting a place you haven't gone before.

Clouds pass over Mount Sanitas and the Sanitas Valley Trail

Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) has 155 miles of trails and 37 trailheads and 76 access points. One of the best things you can do to have an enjoyable, safe and unique outdoor experience is to plan ahead. But don't forget: Have a backup plan in case the weather or other unforeseen circumstances alter your plan. Photo by Jack Sasson.

Have a Backup Plan

Open Space and Mountain Parks' trailheads are often full on weekends, so you might not be able to find a parking spot. There may also be trail and parks and recreation facility closures that will affect your plan. Adverse weather or emergencies like fires and floods may also occur on open space, so have alternative routes in case you need to leave the area.

Consider the Weather

Look at the weather forecast when creating your plan. Think about leaving earlier in the morning rather than in the afternoon. But remember: Colorado weather is highly unpredictable. If bad weather appears, use your backup plan and head back home.

Wear Good Clothing and Footwear

Having several layers of clothing when visiting open space is important for Colorado and Boulder's unpredictable weather. Ensure your hiking shoes or boots fit well and provide good ankle support. Before embarking on a long hike, wear your new shoes on shorter walks to break them in. Trails during the winter may be icy, so wear traction devices on your shoes.

Bring Water and Food

If you are planning a longer hike, having water and food will help prevent fatigue, dizziness, and dehydration. If you are planning to bring your dog on a hike, always remember have water for your dog.

Remember Sunscreen

Boulder's high elevation exposes you to stronger UV rays, which can cause uncomfortable sunburns. Applying sunscreen will help you stay safe and comfortable during your outdoor adventure.

Charge Your Phone

Make sure your phone is charged in case you need assistance or if there is an emergency. But remember: Cell service may be extremely limited in mountain locations. Try to text 911 if you don’t have enough cell service to get a phone call through.

Share Your Plan

Tell people where you're going especially if you are planning a longer hike or visit to open space. It's important for others to know your route and expected return time in case of an emergency. It can also expedite search and rescue efforts if you become lost or injured.

Know Your Limits

Consider Your Plan

When creating your plan for visiting Open Space and Mountain Parks, consider a trail's elevation gain and how difficult a trail may be. Boulder's elevation and dry conditions can make longer hikes challenging – even for those who visit open space every day. Know your limits and create a plan to have an enjoyable and safe outdoor experience.

The Boulder Flatirons and the mountain backdrop as seen from an airplane.

Be mindful of your abilities and don't take on an outdoor challenge that may be too difficult. Many search-and-rescue responses occur when people overestimate their abilities and don't consider the risks of outdoor activities. 

Don't Take Unnecessary Risks

Be mindful of your abilities and don't take on an outdoor or recreation challenge that may be too difficult. Many search-and-rescue responses come when people overestimate their abilities, and they don't consider the risks of outdoor activities.

Enjoy and Protect Nature

Enjoy Nature

We recognize the special connection our community and visitors have with nature. We invite our community to enjoy shared open space and parks responsibly.

Sunlight comes through a silhouetted tree on Boulder open space

There happens to be something behind “feeling good” outdoors. Scientists have been diving deeper into how our very species needs nature to thrive. Learn more about how nature brings out the best in us.

Protect Nature

Help preserve our special lands for future generations. Follow "Leave No Trace" principles to leave open space just as you found it. Remember to pack out all trash and dog waste when receptacles are full or unavailable. And give back to the land we all love! Volunteer for City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks.

Stay on Trail

When people walk off trail on open space, they widen trails and damage nearby plants. Walking off trail also increases unmaintained “social” trails, which can reduce large habitat areas that many wildlife species need to thrive. Remember to walk through mud.

Read Signs & Follow Regulations

Reading signs and following city open space regulations are crucial in helping our community enjoy and protect open space. Be alert for open space signs, particularly ones that remind visitors not to go off trail in locations designated as wildlife closure areas.

Sign Up for Nature Hikes

Through unique learning opportunities and programs, we hope to inspire an informed community who will take part in local stewardship. Join us and learn some of the stories these lands have to tell. Sign up for a nature hike and other OSMP education programs at Learn more about nature on City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks.

Summer Trail Recommendations

Our “Staff Picks” for summer outdoor experiences brings you recommendations from the people who know the system best. Read our summer recommendations for community members can find the shade, beat the heat, take out-of-town guests and enjoy city open space!

OSMP Trails Challenge

You love hiking. You love OSMP. You love the trails. Challenge yourself to hike all OSMP trails! Some people may choose to hike all of the designated trails, but others may decide to create their own personalized challenge. Here are some personal challenges that have been suggested to us.

Be Inclusive and Make it Better

Welcome All

We are all part of an inclusive community where all people feel welcome, safe, and able to enjoy the benefits of community open space and parks. Visitors of all identities and abilities deserve respect and courtesy while recreating.

OSMP staff members who lead program to help community members experiencing disabilities post for a photograph

We recognize the special importance of connecting with nature. City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks works to increase outdoor access for people of all abilities. Learn about our work to help community members experiencing disabilities enjoy shared public land.

Respect Other Experiences

People visit trails and parks for many reasons, including emotional and physical well-being and spending time with friends and family. Some are focused on specific activities, such as hiking, biking, climbing, riding a horse or spending time with their child on a playground. Respecting others' activities while recreating outdoors fosters a positive outdoor experience for everyone.

Give Back

Consider taking time to give back to the land we all love. Sign up for Open Space and Mountain Parks volunteer projects! The department offers one-day volunteer projects and ongoing volunteer opportunities to help us steward shared open space. Learn more at

Stay Alert

Be Aware At All Times

The outdoors is a rapidly changing environment. Unexpected terrain challenges and natural hazards may be present. Be aware of what's in front of you and your surroundings.

A coiled-up Prairie Rattlesnake next to a rock on Boulder open space

Always stay alert on the trail. For example, warmer weather brings out rattlesnakes as they leave their winter dens. Watch out for them, especially on south-facing rocky slopes. Leash your dogs, and don’t let them explore prairie dog burrows. Photo by Greg Joder.

Respond to Changing Weather

If bad weather begins to appear or if it begins raining, visitors should reconsider their plan and head back to their vehicles. Do not take unnecessary risks if you hear thunder or see lightning.

Look Out For Signs

Wayfinding, safety, and regulation signs are critical in helping visitors have enjoyable and safe outdoor experiences while protecting our shared natural areas. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for signs to keep you headed on the right trail and to avoid entering a sensitive wildlife habitat.

Report Emergencies

Call 911 if someone is injured, if you see smoke or if there is another emergency occuring. Try to text 911 if you don’t have enough cell service to get a phone call through.

Be Mindful of Earphones

Be thoughtful about wearing headphones or earphones. It’s important to hear everything around you, including the incredible sounds of nature.

Demonstrate Trail and Park Courtesy

Inspire Others

Lead by example and demonstrate responsible recreation and good trail and park courtesy behaviors. Inspire others to help everyone in our community enjoy and protect shared Boulder open space and parks.

A OSMP trail ambassador helps visitors in the Chautauqua Meadow

We need your help to inspire others to practice responsible recreation on open space! Consider volunteering as a Boulder Mountain Bike Patrol member, Dog Ambassador or a Trail Ambassador to help us create enjoyable, meaningful and respectful outdoor experiences for everyone. Learn more about ongoing volunteer opportunities at

Slow Down and Communicate

No matter what type of activity you are enjoying – hiking, walking, biking, or riding a horse – remember to slow down, be prepared to stop, say something like “on your left,” and pass safely. Slow down and communicate.

Follow Open Space Yielding Guidelines

Remember these guidelines on how to yield to other trail users:

  • Yield to People Going Uphill. It takes a lot more energy to go uphill than downhill, so help them keep that momentum going!
  • Everyone Yields to Horses. Don’t forget to give horses a friendly “hello,” especially when approaching a horse from behind, to let them know you’re there.
  • Bikers Yield to Hikers and Horses. Colliding with anyone on the trail would ruin everyone’s day.
A triangle sign showing how and when trail users need to yield to others

Be A Good Dog Guardian

Know Dog Regulations

We recognize how important it is for our community to enjoy Open Space and Mountain Parks with their furry friends. But we also want to remind dog guardians of their responsibility to help us protect nature and provide an enjoyable outdoor environment for everyone. View online maps to see dog regulations across Boulder's open space system. View Boulder Parks and Parks regulations, including dog regulations. Consider visting one of Boulder Parks and Recreation's dog parks.

A dog smiles on a Boulder open space trail.

Keep your dog leashed or participate in the city’s Voice and Sight off-leash program. Carry waste bags and pick up after your dog to keep trails clean and safe. Prevent your dog from chasing or disturbing wildlife. Bring enough water for you and your dog to stay hydrated.

Let’s DOO IT

Always pick up after your furry friend. BAG IT, PACK IT and CAN IT. Immediately BAG your dog’s DOO. If a waste can is not immediately within reach, PACK IT (carry it with you) and then CAN IT in a pet waste composting or waste receptacle.  Not only is dog waste unsightly and creates a bad smell for everyone, but it can also harm water quality and native plants.

Leash Dogs

The best way to minimize dog and wildlife encounters and provide enjoyable experiences for people who may not like dogs on Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks trails is to leash your dog. All dog guardians, including Voice and Sight Tag Program participants, must always have a leash while visiting open space with their dog.

Participate in Voice & Sight Tag Program

Would you like your dog to enjoy open space without a leash? Does your dog follow your voice commands? Consider participating in our "Voice and Sight" off-leash trail program. Remember that completing all program requirements may take up to a month before your dog can visit open space without a leash.

Prevent and Be Prepared For Wildfires

Know Open Space Fire Regulations

All ignition sources – including fireworks, smoking and campfires – are prohibited on City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks lands. It is illegal in the City of Boulder to use or possess fireworks of any kind.

Trees line a hill on city open space south of Boulder

Everyone has a responsibility to prevent wildfires and help reduce wildfire risks in our community. Learn about ongoing work City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks is doing to help reduce fire risks in our community.

Know County Wildfire Restrictions

Check and follow all fire restrictions and fire bans in Boulder County. Be sure to visit other county, state and federal public land agency websites to see fire restrictions they have implemented.

Protect Our Community

Demonstrate courtesy and respect for everyone by following all regulations put in place to prevent wildfires. Remember: Call 911 if you see a fire starting or if you see smoke. Try to text 911 if you don’t have enough cell service to get a phone call through.

Use Your Backup Plan

If a fire or another emergency happens, use your backup plan to consider alternative routes to leave the area. Cell service may be limited in mountain open space areas, so consider bringing a print trail map. Don't forget to make sure your phone is charged before visiting open space.

Learn More About Wildfire Risk Reduction

Read more about what City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks is doing to reduce shared wildfire risks in our community. Learn what you can do to minimize your wildfire risk at home.

Respect Wildlife and Plants

Keep Wildlife Wild!

Boulder is unique among the Front Range for the unique and diverse natural areas and wildlife habitats we protect. Please help us to keep wildlife wild! Observe wildlife from a distance, do not follow or approach them, and never feed animals.

A deer sits in a forested area on open space

We recognize the special connection our community and visitors have with nature. We invite our community to enjoy shared open space and parks responsibly. Please help us to keep wildlife wild! Observe wildlife from a distance, do not follow or approach them, and never feed animals.

Stay On Trail

Did you know that City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks provides habitat for 1,046 plants? When people go off trail and create new paths known as "undesignated" or "social trails" they can steadily harm plant habitats. Those trails can also reduce the size of wildlife habitats. Numerous small disturbances can quickly harm sensitive natural resources and have a lasting impact on shared public lands.

Help Safeguard Wildlife Habitats

We are all responsible for protecting the land that feeds and cares for wildlife. Do not enter designated closure areas that help us protect sensitive wildlife areas.

Be Bear Aware

Open Space and Mountain Parks is home to bear habitats. If you see a bear, stay calm and

  • NEVER RUN. Running can make a bear chase you.
  • Keep your distance. Back slowly away facing the bear. Avoid direct eye contact.
  • Slowly and calmly leave the area. Talk aloud so the bear will become aware of you.
  • Be extra careful around a female with cubs. Never approach a cub.
  • Never throw food to distract a bear. This teaches a bear to approach people for food.
  • Fight back if attacked. Black bears have been driven away when people fight with rocks, sticks, binoculars, or even bare hands.
  • Don't litter. Please dispose of all litter in bear-proof trash cans when you are in bear habitat. Remove it from the area if trash cans are full. Your consideration could save a bear's life!

Be Aware of Mountain Lions

Open Space and Mountain Parks is also home to mountain lion habitat. If you see a mountain lion:

  • Do not approach lions. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give the lion a way to escape.
  • Stay calm if you come upon a lion. Talk to it in a firm voice in an effort to demonstrate that you are human and not its regular prey.
  • Back away slowly. Running may stimulate a lion's instinct to chase and attack.
  • Face the lion and make an effort to appear as large as possible. Open your jacket or lift objects to appear like a more formidable opponent. Pick up your children.
  • If the lion behaves aggressively, throw rocks, sticks or whatever you can pick up, without turning your back to the lion or bending down.
  • If the lion would happen to attack, fight back. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. Remain standing and keep attempting to get back up if you are brought to the ground.

Help Protect Bears

Bears have always been a part of life in Boulder. Urban bear activity typically increases in late summer and early fall as bears enter the stage of hyperphagia, a period of excessive eating, to fatten up for hibernation. The city encourages community members, including University of Colorado Boulder students, to be extra vigilant and ensure trash containers are locked. Learn what you can do to help keep bears safe and help make your home unattractive to bears.