US 36 Bikeway, riding from Denver to Boulder

by michelle bontrager


Lowell Blvd heading north

Lowell Blvd heading north

Do you ever have an extra 4 hours to just take a bike ride?

Me neither! But a few weeks ago I decided it was time to tryout the US 36 Bikeway (Bikeway) from north Denver to Boulder, a four hour luxury for sure.

I studied Google maps and the new DBTC Metropolitan Denver bike map and decided to enter the Bikeway on Lowell Blvd. There is not a dedicated bath path on Lowell Blvd, bicyclists should plan to ride with traffic until the Boulder Turnpike exit. Lowell Blvd is a multi-lane and a rather wide street allowing room for vehicles to pass you safely.  During afternoon rush hour Lowell Blvd can become very busy. I avoided traffic by leaving at 6:30 am. I was expected back at the shop after lunch!

Cyclists should take the left turn lane right before Hwy 36 in order to turn onto the walking path that runs adjacent to US 36. The walkway veers right, under the Highway, and you will see the bright blue sign indicating that you are entering the Bikeway to Boulder. 

https://www.codot.gov/projects/US36ExpressLanes/bikeway-construction-updates

busy interchange the Bikeway traverses

busy interchange the Bikeway traverses

Route Summary

  • Bright blue directional signs are posted throughout the path.
  • In Westminster, the beginning of the Bikeway, you must cross 2 large, busy intersections. Once these are dealt with the Bikeway is a wide, smooth route into Boulder County.
safely separated by highway traffic

safely separated by highway traffic

Flatirons from Cherryvale Road, Boulder County.

Flatirons from Cherryvale Road, Boulder County.

I followed the Bikeway until it turned into Table Mesa, an established Boulder bike path leading into town. Friendly cyclists gave me directions to my north Pearl Street destination Cured.

A few days later I rode the Bikeway in order to try a different path into Boulder. This time I exited the Bikeway at Cherryvale Road just past Superior. This is a wide, well paved country road that many Boulder cyclists utilize. I found myself on the road to Eldorado Canyon but with the help of my cell phone I made my way back towards Boulder.

Observations about the Bikeway

  • Since it follows US 36 expect noise and sun, there are not many trees along this route. 
  • There are a few RTD park-n-ride bus stations along the route if you need a pit stop
  • It took me two hours to reach the outskirts of Boulder
  • It is very easy to catch the bus back to Denver at RTD’s Boulder Walnut Street station.

I will be utilizing the Bikeway for Boulder visits because it offers the most direct route between our cities. Before the Bikeway option I would have to navigate my way to Boulder through Denver’s northern suburbs past Standley Lake, by the little airport on on Simms, and then through Superior. These suburban roads are becoming increasingly busy as residential sprawl takes hold. Having a dedicated bike path provides cyclists a needed artery through the northern suburbs.