A little over a year ago the city of Boulder signed off on a deal that would create a tunnel under Highway 93, a 1.1 million dollar project that was slated to be completed in 6 - 8 months. As often happens it took a little longer than planned but as of November 2014, the underpass is completed and opened to the public. And it’s kind of a big deal.
Prior to the tunnel’s completion, bikers, joggers and hikers hoping to connect two of Boulder’s best trail systems had to dash across the busy highway Frogger-style or head a mile and a half farther south to join trails via a crosswalk. Both options were dangerous as Highway 93 is a high-speed roadway that is notorious for accidents. Most times, people just stayed put on either the west or east side of the highway.
With the completion of the tunnel, two sides of Boulder are coming together: the plains trails and the foothills forests. The Marshall Mesa trails to the east have some of Boulder’s best views and connect a series of trails that go as far east as the town of Superior. The Community Ditch trails to the west enter the woods and hills just prior to Eldorado State Park and can be connected further to the South Mesa Trailhead. Community Ditch also connects to Dowdy Draw, Springbrook and Flatirons Vista trails -- all of which create a wealth of opportunities for loops, out-and-backs and adventures of all distances.
Mountain bikers in particular will appreciate the option to connect the trails. While none of the terrain in south Boulder is particularly technical, putting together long rides that stay exclusively on trails (across a variety of terrain) is now possible. The Boulder Mountain Biker Alliance (BMA) was one of the groups that helped to get the underpass funded and developed and routinely has volunteers patrol the area.
Trail runners will also delight in running the well-maintained network, especially since both Marshall Mesa / Greenbelt Plateau and the Dowdy Draw Trails feature some nice hills that smooth off into peaceful, flat and scenic runs.
For a complete list of trails and maps, the city of Boulder’s Open Space and Park website has plenty of information. And for more details and photos of specific trails, please visit RootsRated’s Boulder city page.