Boulder County, Colorado has plenty of open space featuring several parks in the foothills just west of the city of Boulder. These scenic places are great for hiking, mountain biking or spotting wildlife. The is one of the premier places in the country to trail run which is why many elite trail runners choose Boulder as their training headquarters.
Head west on Baseline Road from the city and you come upon Chautauqua Park, which features interesting jagged mountain outcroppings known as the flatirons. The Mesa Trail is a good choice to get in a trail run, but can be crowded on the weekends.
Later drive up Flagstaff Road to get great views of the city and the University of Colorado.
A few more miles down the road, there is more park area to stretch your legs at the Walker Ranch Loop Trail. Walker Ranch is 3,778 acres - which is the largest parcel in Colorado to be listed as a cultural landscape. The loop trail is 7.6 miles.
During the Winter you are likely to spot migrating elk. Mountain lions, porcupine and mule deer are year-round residents. Walker Ranch is closed to the public. The photo of elk by Walker Ranch was taken with a telephoto lens from the road.