Location: At the intersection of Grant and Baseline
Parking: Lot and street parking. Parking fills up fast.
Chautauqua Park is one of Boulder’s most popular parks offering spectacular views, great hiking trails and a large park. The grassy park area is fairly large and a good place to play Frisbee, fly kites or have a picnic. There are also tennis courts and a playground to the side.
The trail head at the west side of the park offers a range of hikes from short hikes through the meadows to all day hike to the top of the Flatirons. There are a wide variety of hikes for all skill levels and available time.
The park amenities include bathrooms located by the Ranger Cottage and picnics tables scattered throughout the park area. Parking can be a bit of a challenge on busy days so get there early. You can find overflow parking in the surrounding neighborhoods. The parks offers nice scenery and is a good vantage point for spectacular pictures of the Flatirons.
Behind the rangers’ station there is a neighborhood of small cabins that were originally summer vacation homes. For a while they were rented out to college faculty and students through out the winter and in the summer months many college tenants camped in the mountains or traveled while summer tourists lived in the cottages for the summer. When winter came around again, the tourists left and the college tenants moved back.
Chautauqua Dining Hall has been around since 1898. Starting as a way to keep the college tenants from starting dangerous cooking fires in their sleeping cabins, today the Chautauqua Dining Hall is a restaurant and often hosts concerts and other entertainment.
Chautauqua Park has been established for more than a hundred years. The park was named after the traveling shows called Chautauqua.
Chautauqua were traveling shows featuring storytellers, musicians, entertainers, preachers, teachers, and a small host of other performers. Chautauquas were named after Lake Chautauqua near Jamestown, New York where they originated.
The height of the Chautauqua movement was in the 1920s when there were over 200 Chautauquas around the U.S. At its peak in the mid-1920s, circuit Chautauqua performers and lecturers appeared in more than 10,000 communities in 45 states to audiences totaling 45 million people.
Chautauqua Park is an excellent choice whether you are interested in scenery, relaxing, hiking, or history.