Denver to Boulder, Colorado
The Trip is Up Route 36, Also Known as the Boulder Denver Turnpike
How Far is It? About 29 Miles
The journey from Denver to Boulder is unique in that it takes you from a world-class city to a world-class college town in about 30 minutes. The mountains are to the west, and they come closer the nearer you are to Boulder, but you are never in the mountains on this drive (similar to the Denver to Colorado Springs drive).
It is, though, a very pretty journey (as are most trips in western Colorado). No matter where you start in Denver, you will be on busy, often-congested I-25, the major north-west artery through the city. Once you reach the northern end of town, you will take the Highway 36 exit that heads northwest to Boulder and start to leave the hustle and bustle of Denver behind.
Yet, you will never be completely out of civilization. Years ago, Highway 36 was a lonely, open prairie road that made you feel as if you were in the middle of nowhere when you were driving between Denver and Boulder. Now development in the form of large retailers and sprawling apartment complexes are on either side of the highway.
No worries, though. The drive is still beautiful, with big blue skies above and towering Rocky Mountain foothills to the west.
The highway will start out heading north but slowly start to turn to the west before you reach Broomfield, a Denver bedroom community about half way to Boulder. You won't see much of it from the road, but it is a nice town full of expensive homes with gorgeous mountain views.
Past Broomfield, the elevation starts to increase and you'll go up a hill to a parking area overlooking Boulder and the Flatirons, the name given to the peaks jutting out of the ground just to the south of Boulder. It is a gorgeous sight and worth savoring.
From the top of the hill, you'll drop in elevation and the road will soon flatten out. You'll pass some tall student dorms, and cars will be speeding past you, all in a hurry to maybe reach the wonderful pedestrian mall known as Pearl Street or to take a stroll around the University of Colorado campus, one of the prettiest anywhere.
If you do not take one of the two exits, the Foothills Parkway exit or the Baseline Road exit, as you come into Boulder proper, you will then suddenly be in often back-up traffic in town. Everyone you see on the street and in the cars around you will be 20 years old, a little scruffy and very laid back.
The End of the Road
So chill, slow down and enjoy the ambiance for you are now in one of the most affluent, coolest, trendiest, most progressive towns in the U.S.
Just a note that RTD (Regional Transportation District) does have a bus running from Denver to Boulder (and from Boulder to Denver), but there is no train and probably never will be.