Boulder has upped its game when it comes to bike commuting. Formally finished in March 2016, the US 36 Bikeway has been dubbed as a "highway for bikes" by advocate groups who fought for its inclusion during an expansion of the US 36, the highway that connects Denver and Boulder. The 18 mile, 12 ft. wide bike path runs from the Table Mesa RTD Station in south Boulder to 80th Avenue in Westminster (a suburb of Denver). Along the way there are several places to pick up the path from neighborhood streets, parks, and parking areas. Perhaps the best feature of this path is that it uses underpasses rather than intersections at the majority of road junctions. There are also several restrooms and benches along the trail.
What Makes It Great
Many first time visitors are awed by the incredible vista at US 36 from Davidson Mesa, where the city sprawls at the base of the Flatirons with the Indian Peaks rising on the far horizon . Because the bike path parallels the highway, this same view available for cyclists. Of course, the scenery is a bonus for locals, who will use the path primarily for commuting and for workouts. It's a great way to access the communities of Lafayette, Louisville, Broomfield, and Westminster without having to risk the old standard bike routes along busy roads. Because most of the path is uninterrupted by intersections until the east-most sections near Westminster, it's a straight shot to most locations. Given the heavy traffic problems in the city, cycling the bikeway may actually be a quicker way to get to work. Plans to keep the path snow-free in the winter make this a viable year round path.
Who is Going to Love It
Because it was built with an emphasis on functionality, the bikeway is ideal for commuters and those looking to get from Point A to Point B. It's a decent place for a recreational ride as well, though the the paved path is only 20 feet away from the rushing cars of US 36 -- it can be a loud (and sometimes smelly) ride. However, the path itself is set apart from the highway pavement, making it safer and less congested than the bike lanes on public roads. The views between the cities really are wonderful and it's easy to detour to parks like Davidson Mesa along the way. Though leashed dogs are allowed the are discouraged from being on the path, especially when in tow by cyclists.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The western extension of the bikeway starts at the Table Mesa RTD station at 5170 Table Mesa Dr, Boulder, CO 80305. The parking garage is free for vehicles. There are entrance points at Cherryvale Road and South Boulder Creek in Boulder as well as several other points along the way. There are no fees to use the path. Check out an interactive map here.