2012 Pre-Trip to Boulder and Golden, CO


Start your Event two days early, to acclimatize to altitude and explore the beautiful towns of Boulder and Golden, CO! Home base will be the affordable Quality Inn and Suites, just a couple blocks away from the famous Pearl Street pedestrian mall. We’ll meet you in Denver on Tuesday, August 28th (arrive by noon), and will travel by Van and SUV to Boulder. That afternoon we’ll check into the hotel and head over to Pearl Street. You’ll have the option of either exploring the shops and galleries, or renting a bike and exploring the bike path that runs along Boulder Creek.

Later, we’ll enjoy an early group dinner at the famed (and ornate) Dushanbe Teahouse, and you’ll have the evening on your own as many will still be on East Coast time, and may want to call it an early night.

Wednesday morning we’ll enjoy a complimentary breakfast at the hotel, and will head out early to explore the area. One group will head over to Gregory Canyon in the famed Chautauqua area (aka the Flatirons). There will be a moderate hike along the Mesa trail, and a moderately strenuous hike up the Gregory Canyon trail to Saddle Rock. The second group will head out to the National Center for Atmospheric Research, to explore the Visitor Center (self-guided MP3 tour) and surrounding trails (including a different portion of the Mesa trail!)

We’ll all regroup on Pearl Street for lunch, and again split into two groups for the afternoon. Some folks will visit the Celestial Seasons tea factory, sampling up to 70 teas and getting an amazing guided tour, while others will head over to the Boulder Reservoir for an afternoon of canoeing/kayaking, swimming and volleyball with the gorgeous mountains as your backdrop. The tea tour folks will then explore the nearby Leanin’ Tree Museum of Western Art, and if time allows, will meet the rest of the group at the Reservoir.

We are extremely lucky to be in town on a Wednesday night, to experience the esteemed Boulder Farmer’s Market which runs from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. and has up to 118 vendors including local produce, meats, honeys, and fine arts and crafts. For anyone interested, guided one-hour informational/historical tours are available for $16 in advance from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday evening, dinner will be small group dinners on your own – either from Market vendors, or at one of the many restaurants on Pearl Street. We will provide you with a list of good restaurants in advance from small falafel joints on up to fine dining. Post-dinner plans are still TBD, but may include listening to local music, visiting a local brewpub, etc.

Thursday we’ll be up and at ‘em with an early breakfast and check out. We’ll head to the nearby town of Golden, CO for a variety of activities. NREL (the National Renewable Energy Laboratory) is here, as is the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum and the American Mountaineering Museum. Coors Brewery is also here, as is a Quilt Museum… and all of these places are within walking distance of each other. There is a nice circuit hike up South Table Mountain, as well. Down the road a bit is the Phoenix Gold Mine, where you can tour a real underground mine, and pan for gold in a mountain stream. While in Boulder, we’ll go over the options for Golden, and come up with the best plan for the day.

Then… it’s on to CAMP!!!!

Pre-Trip Transportation and Hotel


Please fly into Denver International Airport on Tuesday, August 28th, and plan your flight to arrive before 12:00 noon. If you have an issue meeting this time, please let Liz know (e.s.friedman@att.net). Flights from most major airports will arrive between 11 and 11:30 a.m., so you should not have a problem. The group transport will depart the airport at 1:30 p.m.  We will provide exact airport meeting place info in early August.

If you miss the transportation, there are a couple ways to get to Boulder via public transportation.

By bus from the airport

The RTD AB bus leaves approximately twenty minutes past each hour.

Click HERE for the detailed schedule.

SkyRide buses leave DEN from level 5 -the same level where you pick up your bags. You can board skyRide at one of two locations: lane 3 outside door 506 at the West Terminal or lane 5 outside door 511 at the East Terminal. Just look for the skyRide sign and RTD shelter. Fare to Boulder is $10, and it takes about 1 hour 20 minutes to get to the downtown terminal at 14th and Walnut streets, from which you can take a cab to the hotel (although it is technically walking distance, it might be difficult with luggage).

By SuperShuttle from the airport

The Boulder SuperShuttle, 303-227-0000, leaves at least every hour at about 10 past the hour between 7:10AM and 11:10PM from gate 504, Island 4, and takes under an hour to get to Boulder Broker Inn, on the south side of town (near 30th and Baseline). Cost is $25, $10 for each additional person. They can also take you directly to your destination. The shuttle desk is on the west side of level 5 (the main level). You can usually make arrangements when you arrive, although it’s better to plan ahead if you know your flight will be in after our transport cutoff.


We’ll be staying at the Quality Inn and Suites, Boulder Creek, CO. We got an amazing group rate, and it includes breakfast.  Rooms have two queen beds, and rooms are double occupancy.

We have reserved a few single rooms as well, and they are available for an additional charge of $151. To register for a single room, you'll need to click on the Pre-Trip Double Occupancy link on the registration page. That will open additional options for the add-ons, including Single Occupancy.

Pre-Trip Details and Schedule


MEET AT DENVER AIRPORT AT 1:00 p.m. (location TBD). VANS/CARS will depart at 1:30 p.m. for Boulder.

Tuesday Schedule at a Glance

2:30 p.m.

Arrival in Boulder; check into hotel

3:00 p.m.

Van departures for afternoon activities

·   Bike ride along Boulder Creek (rental bikes)

Add-on: $25

·   Explore Pearl Street Galleries and Shops


6:00 p.m.

Group Dinner at Dushanbe Teahouse

    Pay as you go

7:30 p.m.

Van back to hotel. Evening on your own (As this is a travel day, we'll make it an early night)

Tuesday Afternoon Activity Details

OPTION 1: BIKE RIDE ALONG BOULDER CREEK: The Boulder Creek Path stretches seven miles from east Boulder, near Valmont Reservoir, to the western end of town where Boulder Canyon and Fourmile Canyon intersect. This trail parallels Boulder creek as it runs east through the heart of Boulder and out into the plains. The trail, dirt and gravel for its upper few miles, is paved from the base of Boulder Canyon until its end at 55th Street. The path is very popular with bicyclists, rollerbladers, joggers and walkers, and the occasional kayaker hiking his boat up to the kayak course. You should expect a beautiful ride along scenic Boulder creek, with many benches and parks where you can stop and rest. Cost: $25

OPTION 2: EXPLORE HISTORIC PEARL STREET’S GALLERIES, EATERIES AND SHOPS: Come enjoy the beautiful Pearl Street Mall, Pearl Street’s East End & West End and everywhere else in between. With over 300 sunny days yearly and upwards of 1,000 businesses (85 percent of which are locally owned and operated) it’s easy to Love the Local™ in Downtown Boulder year-round!  The area is a historic district and many of the buildings are among the oldest in Boulder.

Tuesday Evening Details

At 6:00 p.m. we will regroup and dine at the historic Dushanbe Teahouse.  Note that the Teahouse is two blocks off the Pearl Street Mall, and directly on the Boulder Creek bike path. The menu boasts a wide range of Eastern-European and Asian inspired options for all budgets.

You will be free to stay and explore the Pearl Street nightlife and get back to the hotel on your own (it is a 7-block walk from the Teahouse back to the hotel), but with the time change, early morning, and travel, we plan to make this an early night, with the official transportation returning to the hotel by 8 p.m. at the absolute latest. 


Wednesday Schedule at a Glance

7:30 a.m.


8:30 a.m.

Van departures for morning activities

· Hikes in Chautauqua Area / Gregory Canyon (Moderate Hike - Mesa Trail; Moderate/Strenuous Hike - Saddle Rock / Gregory Canyon Loop)

Pay $5 per car

· Visit National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and easy hike

   - In-Depth tour of NREL

12:30 p.m.

Small group lunch on Pearl Street in Boulder

Pay as you go

1:30 - 4:00 p.m.

Van departures for afternoon activities

· Relax at Boulder Reservoir (boating, swimming, volleyball, etc.)

Pay as you go for boating ($11/hour for kayak; $8.50/hour for canoe, etc)

· Visit Celestial Seasons Tea factory/Museum, and Leanin' Tree Museum of Western Art (meet group at reservoir if finish early)


4:30 - 5:45 p.m.

Optional " Meet the Producers: Boulder’s Farmers’ Market" with Boulder Walking Tours (Cost $25, includes $5 voucher for the Farmer's Market)

$25 (add on)

6:30 p.m.

Dinner on your own (We will have a sheet of recommendations; people can choose. If a small group, we'll all eat together)

8:00 p.m.

Evening activity TBD

Wednesday Morning Activity Details

OPTION 1:  Moderate Hike on Mesa Trail in Chautauqua Area. Although this hike would be considered easy-moderate at sea level, the elevation bumps this up to a moderate hike. The Mesa Trail is the main artery along the foothills of Boulder. This trail runs north-south between Chautauqua Park and Eldorado Springs and is intersected by most of the mountain trails of the area. Although there is no real elevation change from its northern point to its southern point, there is plenty of elevation change along the way. This trail is well maintained and spends some of its time right at the base of the foothills in coniferous forest. All along the trail are beautiful views out over Boulder City and the eastern plains. Note that this will be an out and back hike, with the leader planning a turnaround so the hike gets back to the cars by 12:00 p.m.

OPTION 2:  Moderate/Strenuous Hike on Gregory Canyon/Saddle Rock Loop.  Gregory Canyon provides a somewhat steep and occasionally rocky hike through a canyon lined in spring with wildflowers and is a great place to spot chipmunks and squirrels as well as brush-loving birds. The scenery is great, and the views from Saddle Rock are awesome.  There are a couple options on this 3.1-mile loop hike – hike the steep bit first and have a more mellow downhill, or have a more mellow uphill and a steep downhill.  Please take altitude into consideration. It is recommended to do the steep bit as the downhill, and climb up on the Gregory Canyon side and back down either the Saddle Rock trail or the Amphitheater trail. Or you can do what the scouting group did and hike up the 0.9 miles directly to Saddle Rock, then come back down as an out and back. It will be up to the group as to how they wish to tackle this area. There are many interconnecting trails and the trails are well-marked. Please plan to be back at the cars by 12:00 p.m.

 OPTION 3: Visit the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Easy Hike.  The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is a federally funded research and development center devoted to service, research and education in the atmospheric and related sciences. NCAR’s mission is to understand the behavior of the atmosphere and related physical, biological and social systems; to support, enhance and extend the capabilities of the university community and the broader scientific community – nationally and internationally; and to foster transfer of knowledge and technology for the betterment of life on Earth. The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) sits nestled against Boulder, Colorado's famous Flatirons and the foothills to the Rocky Mountains. NCAR welcomes the public seven days a week to its Visitor Center, which offers educational exhibits and a tour using one's cell phone or MP3 player. The Walter Orr Roberts Weather Trail and other scenic trails of varying difficulty can be accessed directly from the parking lot. Spend a couple hours here visiting an exploring.

Wednesday Lunch

The three groups will reconvene back on Pearl Street at the Information Kiosk to have lunch. There are great sandwich shops, cafes, a gyro/falafel place, and more as options.

Wednesday Afternoon Activity Details

OPTION 1: Relax at Boulder Reservoir.  This gorgeous body of water is just a few minutes away by car from the center of Boulder. From the website, “An activity laden water Mecca, the Boulder Reservoir is a popular destination for residents during the lazy days of summer. Swimming, boating, sailboarding and fishing are the main activities….. The white sandy beach is popular with locals for tanning purposes.”  There are canoes and kayaks available to rent ($11/hour for kayak, $8.50/hour for canoe), and we’ll pay as we go if interested. There are also volleyball nets available to use.  It’s a great place to go to beat the heat – especially after a morning of hiking.

OPTION 2: Tour the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory and the Leanin’ Tree Museum of Western Art.  Don't miss your chance to see the world's most advanced tea production plant. On our 45-minute guided tour, we’ll see first–hand how the finest all–natural ingredients from around the world become your favorite Celestial Seasonings teas. You'll also have the chance to enjoy free samples of every tea they make, and to browse the extensive display of original artwork from the tea boxes in the extensive gallery. Afterwards, we’ll head down the street to the check out the Leanin’ Tree Museum of Western Art. We’ll explore the outdoor sculpture garden, and check out the extensive private western art collection inside. The collection belongs to the owner of the Leanin’ Tree greeting card company, so there is also an extensive greeting card store on the first floor, with unique and beautiful cards. We don’t expect to spend a lot of time here, so we’ll head over to the Boulder Reservoir afterwards if time allows.

Wednesday Late Afternoon Activity

OPTIONAL ADD-ON:  " Meet the Producers: Boulder’s Farmers’ Market" with Boulder Walking Tours.  We are extremely lucky to be in town on a Wednesday night, to experience the esteemed Boulder Farmer’s Market which runs from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. and has up to 118 vendors including local produce, meats, honeys, and fine arts and crafts. For those interested, guided 75-minute informational/historical tours are available for $22 in advance from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m.  Their write-up notes, “Dig deeper into one of the top Farmers’ Markets in the nation! Just as in times of old, the market is a place where the community comes together for food and friendship. You’ll find high quality, Colorado-grown produce, fresh flowers, herbs and spices, perennials, pastries and a select group of local restauranteurs and culinary experts offering their wares. The tour covers 8 long blocks at a leisurely pace (no hills), and we will spend about an hour and 15 minutes together.” Your $22 includes a $5 voucher to be redeemed at the market.  For those not doing the tour, you will be free to explore the Farmer’s Market on your own.

Wednesday Evening Details

We’ll have a list of local restaurants available with reviews and descriptions, so you can choose where you’d like to eat. We’ll split into small groups, as needed, to enjoy the local eateries.  We’re still searching for a great after-dinner activity for the group; more details will be provided as they become available (awaiting various concert and show schedules).


Thursday Schedule at a Glance

7:30 a.m.


8:45 a.m.

Check out of hotel and head to Golden

9:30 a.m.

Arrival in Golden, CO


9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.


Group will have options to explore downtown Golden, both before and after lunch.  Options will include visiting NREL Visitor Center, the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, American Mountaineering Museum, Coors Brewery, and/or the Quilt Museum.  There will also be a circuit hike option up South Table Mountain. Finally, if there is interest, a group will visit the Phoenix Gold Mine, where you can tour a real underground mine, and pan for gold in a mountain stream.



2:45 p.m.

 Depart Golden for Camp


4:30 p.m.

Arrive at JCC Ranch Camp, Elbert, CO

Thursday Activity Options

Places to explore in Golden, CO

Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum. The museum serves as the state repository for Colorado's mineral heritage and promotes its importance and understanding to the university community and the public. It aims to inspire scientific curiosity through education and research while encouraging appreciation of the earth and responsibility for its mineral, fossil, meteorite and historic mining treasures.  The main floor exhibits feature specimens from many Colorado mining districts, other global localities and an introductory video on area geology. The Special Exhibit Room hosts prominent precious metal and invited displays. The main gallery also showcases historic mining murals by Irwin Hoffman. The basement contains numerous exhibits regarding radioactivity, fossils, basic geology, gemstones, meteorites, ultraviolet minerals and underground mining illumination. The outdoor geologic trail features seven outcrops with various geologic and paleontological points of interest, including fossilized dinosaur tracks, logs and leaves.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory. NREL is the only federal laboratory dedicated to the research, development, commercialization and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Backed by 35 years of achievement, NREL leads the way in helping meet the growing demand for clean energy. The NREL Visitors Center showcases technologies that can save energy, improve the environment and lower the cost of energy bills. Visitors of all ages can take a self-guided tour through the interactive exhibit hall and learn about energy from the sun, wind, biomass, and other sources of renewable energy.

American Mountaineering Museum. Nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Golden, Colorado, the Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum opened its doors in February 2008 as America's first and only museum dedicated to the heroism, technology, culture and spirit of mountaineering. From the storied history of the 10th Mountain Division to the daring first ascent of Mt. Everest, learn about Mountaineering's exciting history and meet larger-than-life figures and modern day heroes who have brought the challenge to where it is today. This one-of-a-kind facility will allow visitors to live the ascent of the world's most inspiring mountains through educational displays, interactive exhibits, breathtaking photos and climbers' personal stories. Jump a crevasse, hang out in a port-a-ledge and find your route up Mt. Everest!  Admission fee of $5 payable onsite.

Coors Brewery Tour. Since 1873 the Coors brewery has thrived on a legacy of quality, innovation and customer service. The tour showcases the company’s history and passion for brewing. Your tour takes place in the world’s largest single-site brewery. The brewery experience includes a 30-minute self-paced tour highlighting our malting, brewing and packaging processes. Cool off in the “fresh beer room," where visitors can sip a cold sample and rest on ice-cube benches in a refrigerated room.   At the end of the tour, view old photos, neons, historical beer cans, bottles and memorabilia, and have the opportunity to sample our refreshing products.

Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. When you visit the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, you will explore the scope of quilting, from bedcoverings of the 1800’s to contemporary art pieces.  The museum hosts quarterly exhibits, tailored tours, and programs for adults and youth.  For the researcher and quilt enthusiast, the Sandra Dallas Library contains over 3000 volumes featuring out-of-print literature, technique resources, historic patterns and research documents. Admission fee of $6 payable onsite.

Hike South Table Mountain.   From the trailhead, start climbing up a series of switchbacks. After about 0.5 mile, hikers come to a bench with a view down to the neighborhood and across to Lookout Mountain. After a break, keep hiking up the switchbacks. When the trail ends at a rocky area, hikers should find a way up the rocks to the mesa. At the top of the mesa, hikers can choose from several trails, social trails and even tractor tracks of some sort to hike around the mesa.

One suggestion is to start by heading for the "Castle Rock" in the northwest corner. A series of steps takes hikers to the top for a view of the city of Golden and the Coors brewery below. Search around at the top for old bolts, concrete pieces and other remnants from the foundation of the old funicular, dance hall and other buildings. From the trailhead to the top of the Castle Rock is less than 1 mile, but it has enough elevation gain to get your heart pumping. After enjoying the view, hike around the mesa top for extra mileage and views. When you're done, head back toward the Castle Rock, then south to the trail you climbed up. This is an easy to get to place for a quick after work or early morning hike. There is no tree cover at all, so it is not a good choice for the middle of a hot, sunny, summer day.

Visit the Phoenix Gold Mine in Idaho Springs: This will be a half-hour van trip from Golden.  We’ll get to see a working gold mine and tour it, as well as pan for gold in a mountain stream.  The Phoenix Mine has a stream running right up along the road. It's a typical Colorado mountain stream in a beautiful setting, which picks up gold in the mountains, and brings it down where it can be extracted by panning. Gold panning is a process of separating gold from the sand and gravel that get washed out of the mountains with the gold. It is fairly easy to do with a little practice because gold is heavier than other sediments in the stream. Gold Panning requires patience! You work the pan contents so that the gold settles to the bottom, and wash the lighter stream sediments out of the pan. Mine tour/panning is $15/person or panning only is $8

Pre-Trip Pricing


Includes TWO nights night at the Quality Inn and Suites Boulder Double Occupancy; two breakfasts, all hikes/walks and tours, transportation to and around Boulder, and to camp, and snacks and water on the vans.


Single Room upcharge: $151

Rental Bike for Boulder Creek Bike Path Tuesday: $25

Farmer’s Market Guided Tour: $22

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