From Denver to Boulder: 4 Best Ways to Get There | PlanetWare (2022)

Written by Carri Wilbanks
Updated Jul 13, 2022

The idyllic city of Boulder sits at the base of the Rocky Mountain foothills just about 30 miles northwest of Denver, and there are a few different ways to get between the two cities, which are two of Colorado's most vibrant urban areas. Many locals commute between Boulder and Denver, or one of the bedroom communities, like Westminster or Thornton, that sit between the two on U.S. Hwy 36.

It takes about 40 minutes, depending on what part of Denver you leave from, to reach Boulder via car when there isn't heavy traffic. The main route between the two cities is Hwy 36, which is also known as the Boulder Turnpike, but it is not the only road to connect the two. When traffic is heavy, or depending on which part of Denver or Boulder you are trying to get to, there are a few other routes to consider.

Driving is just one means of getting from Denver to Boulder. But it isn't always the best. You can also take a bus, which is cheap and doesn't require you to deal with the traffic that often plagues this commute. Or you can catch a shuttle bus, which is especially convenient if you are flying in from Denver International Airport and don't need a car in Boulder itself. And finally, you can book a ride on Uber, Lyft, or even a taxi cab, although the latter is much pricier.

How you choose to get between Denver and Boulder will depend on whether you need a car to get around and your budget. But these four options will help you decide by giving you the transport scoop between the Mile High City and the town affectionately known as the "Boulder Bubble."

On This Page:

  • From Denver to Boulder by Car
  • From Denver to Boulder by Bus
  • From Denver to Boulder by Shuttle Service
  • From Denver to Boulder by Uber or Lyft
(Video) 7 Reasons NOT to Move to Boulder Colorado

1. From Denver to Boulder by Car

From Denver to Boulder: 4 Best Ways to Get There | PlanetWare (1)

Although the traffic can sometimes be a nightmare, if you time your drive to avoid rush hour in the morning and evening, then a drive between Denver and Boulder usually takes around 40 to 50 minutes depending on how far south in Denver you begin and where in Boulder you are ending - the drive is about 30 miles from downtown Denver.

The most direct route from Denver to Boulder is via U.S. Hwy 36, which connects to I-25, the north-south interstate highway through Denver. You'll take I-25 north or south depending on your starting point to Hwy 36 and then continue on the Boulder Turnpike all the way into the city limits.

When you get into the Boulder city limits, Hwy 36 becomes 28th Street running through the city, which is one of the main north-south routes through Boulder. It also provides access to the Pearl Street Mall area, which is the heart of downtown Boulder.

The other main north-south route through Boulder is Broadway (Hwy 93), which runs parallel. If you're looking for the University of Colorado campus, you'll find it off Broadway in a neighborhood known as The Hill.

If you run into traffic on Hwy 36, there is an option to jump into a toll lane for the ride up to Boulder. But the toll lanes are not cheap, and depending on how far you take the toll lane, during peak hours the fee can be as high as $13.

(Video) Driving from Denver, CO to Boulder, CO via US 36

Also note the weather before heading between Boulder and Denver. Although winter driving conditions are usually not as intense as when you are heading up into the mountains, when it is snowing heavily, roads can quickly ice over, and accidents will slow your transport time down as well.

It is extremely rare for the highways between the two cities to shut down due to snow, however. And there are no vehicle restrictions for non-4WD vehicles driving between Denver and Boulder in a snowstorm like you will find between, say, Denver and Vail in winter.

Summer driving conditions are usually smooth, except when there is a wildfire. The area around Boulder has seen many more wildfires in recent years, and these can shut the highways down. Just pay attention to wildfire alerts or smoke in the area.

2. From Denver to Boulder by Bus

From Denver to Boulder: 4 Best Ways to Get There | PlanetWare (2)

The most affordable way to get between Denver and Boulder (and best for the environment) is to catch the RTD bus between the two cities.

If you are coming from Denver International Airport (DEN), you'll want to take the SkyRide (AB2) bus that runs from the airport to Boulder. It makes two quick stops on the way into the city, and then once you are in Boulder, there are seven further stops to choose from, making it relatively convenient to at least get close to your destination. These stops include Downtown Boulder Station and Boulder Junction at Depot Square Station at the north end of the city, where service terminates.

(Video) WHY I WOULDN'T MOVE TO BOULDER, COLORADO (Ranked #1 in Best Places to Live in the U.S.)

When looking into options for public transport on the RTD website, you may see something about the University of Colorado A Line Train. The name is misleading, as this train does not go to the main University of Colorado campus in Boulder but instead, this is a train from the airport to downtown Denver and will not get you anywhere near Boulder. There is currently no train or light rail service out to Boulder from Denver.

If you are coming from downtown Denver and need to catch the bus to Boulder, you can do so from Union Station. You'll want to look for the FF1 bus towards Downtown Boulder All-Stations. The trip takes about one hour.

3. From Denver to Boulder by Shuttle Service

From Denver to Boulder: 4 Best Ways to Get There | PlanetWare (3)

If you don't want to take the bus between DEN and Boulder, you can also book a ride with SuperShuttle or Green Ride to get between the two cities. Taking Green Ride is pretty cool because the Boulder-based company touts itself as a sustainable charter company that is working to offset greenhouse gases. They also promise to get you from Boulder to the airport or vice versa in one hour.

Taking a shuttle from the airport means you'll usually be able to get dropped off directly at your hotel, which can be convenient if you're not staying right next to a bus stop or have a lot of luggage. A shuttle service is also of use when traveling during hours the bus doesn't frequently run.

4. From Denver to Boulder by Uber or Lyft

From Denver to Boulder: 4 Best Ways to Get There | PlanetWare (4)
(Video) JOE ROGAN ON LIVING IN BOULDER COLORADO

Another transport option between Denver and Boulder is to take an Uber or Lyft. While these app rideshare services cost more than a shared passenger shuttle, you can book a shared ride option with both companies that makes your ride time a little longer but is cheaper than taking a private car if you're traveling alone.

Regardless of whether you book a shared ride or not, Uber or Lyft also provide more convenience than a shuttle service, as they don't just make runs between the airport and a hotel but can be called from a restaurant in Denver, for instance, to take you to a restaurant in Boulder.

These are also a good option if you are staying outside of downtown Boulder and need to get from say the airport to a hotel in a suburb that the shuttle doesn't run to. And while Uber and Lyft will be more expensive than taking the bus or a shuttle, they are still cheaper than taking a traditional taxi cab or booking a private chauffeured car service.

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From Denver to Boulder: 4 Best Ways to Get There | PlanetWare (5)Exploring Boulder: Wondering what to do in Boulder? From shopping at Pearl Street Mall to rock climbing in the Flatirons, the options are extensive. See our guide to the top things to do in Boulder for more ideas on how to spend your time. Not sure where to stay? Our article is perfect for first time visitors who aren't familiar with the city or travelers looking for hotels in a specific price range.

FAQs

How much is a shuttle from Denver to Boulder? ›

This is an economical option, with one-way tickets costing $10.50. RTD has an information booth on the baggage claim level of the Main Terminal. The trip takes approximately 80 minutes. www.rtd-denver.com.

How do I get from Denver to Boulder without a car? ›

The best way to get from Denver to Boulder without a car is to bus which takes 42 min and costs $1 - $6. How long does it take to get from Denver to Boulder? The bus from Union Station Gate B17 to Broadway & Regent Dr takes 42 min including transfers and departs every 30 minutes.

Are there shuttles from Denver airport to Boulder? ›

To Boulder

CU Boulder an hour away from the Denver International Airport (DIA) via the RTD SkyRide bus service. Shared-ride service shuttles pick-up and drop-off from Jeppesen Terminal Level 5, island 5, outside doors 505-507 (east side) and 510-512 (west side).

Can you uber from Denver to Boulder? ›

Getting from DEN to Boulder CO

If you like to plan ahead, consider scheduling a ride to Boulder CO in advance. Or you can request a ride on demand from DEN in the Uber app. The route your driver takes might depend on the time of day and other factors, like traffic and how many other riders are making requests.

Does Denver light rail go to Boulder? ›

There is currently no train or light rail service out to Boulder from Denver. If you are coming from downtown Denver and need to catch the bus to Boulder, you can do so from Union Station. You'll want to look for the FF1 bus towards Downtown Boulder All-Stations. The trip takes about one hour.

How much does the Boulder bus cost? ›

Enjoy a day out on the town with a $3 three-hour local pass on HOP and RTD buses, or head out for a scenic Boulder adventure on the trails with seasonal transit services. For a seamless trip, download the free Transit app to purchase tickets and get real-time updates on routes.

How much is a taxi from DIA to Boulder? ›

Taxi fare from Denver International Airport to Boulder

A fixed-rate fare from DEN airport to Boulder costs $89 USD (€75), this price includes airport fees.

Is there Uber in Boulder Colorado? ›

Or you can request a ride on demand from Boulder CO in the Uber app. The route your driver takes might depend on the time of day and other factors, like traffic and how many other riders are making requests. You can have a stress-free ride knowing that the Uber app will suggest the most efficient route to your driver.

How safe is the Denver light rail? ›

Very safe. There is a security officer on all trains.

Do you need a car in Boulder? ›

Having access to a car is helpful if you're planning to head out of Boulder for day trips to nearby mountain areas. You can rent vehicles from all the major rental car agencies at Denver International Airport, and Enterprise, Budget, Avis, and Hertz also have offices in Boulder.

Is Boulder worth visiting? ›

A beautiful city situated in the foothills of Colorado's stunning Rocky Mountain range, Boulder is a colorful travel destination. Best known for it's awe-inspiring natural beauty, many opportunities for outdoor recreation, and booming local industry, Boulder is a lovely city to visit.

Are shuttles running at Denver airport? ›

Free shuttle service operates 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week, every 7-10 minutes. Shuttles pick up at the parking shelters in the Economy lots. NOTE: Economy Lot shuttle stops are subject to change during construction periods and walking distance to Jeppesen Terminal may be increased without notice.

Is Uber or taxi cheaper in Denver? ›

Is Uber Cheaper than a Taxi in Denver? Generally, an Uber is the cheaper way to travel to and from the Denver airport. The further you have to travel, the more likely you are to save with an Uber.

How long is the bus from DIA to Boulder? ›

The trip takes approximately 80 minutes. Uber now has a partnership with RTD (which runs the public buses). You can use the Uber app to plan your route and pay for your bus fare.

How far apart are Boulder and Denver Colorado? ›

There are 24.19 miles from Boulder to Denver in southeast direction and 29 miles (46.67 kilometers) by car, following the US-36 E route. Boulder and Denver are 32 minutes far apart, if you drive non-stop . This is the fastest route from Boulder, CO to Denver, CO.

Is there a train in Boulder? ›

The Regional Transportation District has 4 Train lines in Denver - Boulder, CO with 14 Train stations. Their Train lines cover an area from the North (Westminster) with a stop at Westminster Station to the South (Denver) with a stop at Union Station.

How do I get to Red Rocks from Denver without a car? ›

The best way to get from Denver to Red Rocks Amphitheatre without a car is to tram which takes 43 min and costs $16 - $26. How long does it take to get from Denver to Red Rocks Amphitheatre? It takes approximately 43 min to get from Denver to Red Rocks Amphitheatre, including transfers.

Does Boulder have a light rail? ›

It's a well-known story in Colorado: The Regional Transportation District has not yet built a commuter rail line from Denver to Boulder and Longmont, despite collecting $270 million in local taxes since 2005 for it and other transit projects.

What is SkyRide Denver? ›

RTD makes local and international travel easier than ever. With the new A Line and SkyRide bus service we're providing easy, affordable, and reliable transportation to Denver International Airport with direct access to airline check-in, baggage check, security screening, and baggage claim.

How much does Metro cost? ›

Cost to Ride
MetrorailCost to Ride
Peak Fare*$2.25 - $6.00
Off-Peak Fare*$2.00 - $3.85
Weekend Metrorail one-way fare$2.00
Weekend Senior/Disabled Flat Fare$1.00
9 more rows

How much does it cost to ride the Flatiron flyer? ›

Flatiron Flyer Schedule and Fares

2021 Flatiron Flyer fares: $3.00 local three-hour pass and $5.25 regional three-hour pass. Determine your commuting costs with RTD's fare calculator. RTD's Flatiron Flyer is widely used and trusted by commuters in the northwest metro region!

Is there Uber at Denver airport? ›

Ride Apps like Lyft and Uber offer pickup and drop-off transportation service for passengers at Denver International Airport.

How far is Boulder from airport? ›

What airports are near Boulder? The closest airport is Denver Intl (DEN) (33.41 mi). Another nearby airport is Colorado Springs (COS) (88.84 mi). KAYAK recommends you fly to Denver Intl.

Is Uber in Denver? ›

Reserve a ride with Uber in advance in Denver

Complete your plans today by reserving a ride with Uber in Denver. Request a ride up to 30 days in advance, at any time and on any day of the year.

Does Denver have Lyft? ›

We've got your easy ride across town, Denver. Whether you're driving to pay the bills, take control of your schedule, or meet interesting people, Lyft will help you get there. The Lyft Driver app matches you with local passengers, and lets you earn when you want.

How late does the Denver airport train run? ›

Frequency: trains run every 15 minutes during peak travel times, and every 30 minutes from 3 a.m. - 5 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. (for exact departure and arrival times, please consult the schedule on the RTD website)

Is Union Station in Denver safe? ›

There were 14 reported incidents of violent crime this month. That's less than the 16 last month and less than the monthly average in the last 12 months of 17.8 per month in Union Station. Domestic violence: 1 incident this month, 3 last month. The 12-month monthly average is 2.4.

What is one of the very best ways to get around Boulder besides motor vehicles? ›

The best ways to get around Boulder are by bike and bus. Bike paths and trails meander throughout the city and nearby parks, and you can rent your own set of wheels for between $40 and $60 a day at local bike shops.

Is Boulder a hippie town? ›

Hippie culture definitely thrived in Boulder in the 70s and that vibe is still around, but times change, and so do towns. Boulder's now as much of a tech town and center for scientific research as it is a peace-sign-flashing hippy hub.

What is Boulder Colorado known for? ›

Resting in the shadows of the sandstone slabs of the Flatirons, Boulder, is best known for its outdoor activities, award-winning breweries, and a vibrant downtown that serves as the center of it all. Blending both cityscapes with mountainscapes, Boulder offers its visitors the best of both worlds.

How many days do you need in Boulder? ›

With so many outdoor activities, excellent restaurants, and unique attractions in Boulder, it can be difficult to decide where to even begin. While you could easily spend a week or more in this hip Colorado town, 3 days in Boulder is enough time to hit the highlights.

How do I spend a day in Boulder Colorado? ›

The Perfect Itinerary For Your Day Trip to Boulder, Colorado
  1. Start Your Day Trip to Boulder With Breakfast. ...
  2. Explore the Town. ...
  3. Book a Tour. ...
  4. Visit the University of Colorado, Boulder. ...
  5. See the Flatiron Mountains. ...
  6. Drive Up Flagstaff Road. ...
  7. Eat Dinner in Boulder. ...
  8. End Your Night With a Drink.
19 Jul 2020

Is Boulder a walkable city? ›

Designated as a Gold-level Walk Friendly Community, Boulder has a national reputation as a pedestrian-friendly community. The pedestrian-only Pearl Street Mall and extensive network of multi-use paths and hiking trails are Boulder icons that attract people from all over the country and world.

Where does the Denver airport shuttle go? ›

Denver Airport shuttle services pick up and drop off passengers at Jeppesen Terminal Level 5, island 5. Head outside doors 505-507 on the east side or 510-512 on the west side. Buses: The airport bus stop is at the DEN Transit Center, on Level 1, adjacent to the Westin Denver International Airport.

Where do you catch the train at Denver Airport? ›

Tickets cost $10.50 and can be purchased at machines at each station or on the RTD app. To catch your train, you'll head down to the Transit Center, located on the ground level outside the Westin and accessed at the south end of the terminal.

Where are the shuttles at Denver Airport? ›

Meet your shared-ride airport shuttle at Level 5, Island 5. If you have requested rides through the Lyft or Uber apps, follow signs for ground transportation, then exit the terminal through Doors 506–510 (west side) and 507–511 (east side) on Level 5 near baggage claim and proceed to Island 5 to meet your driver.

How much is a taxi from DIA to Boulder? ›

Flat Rate Charges

Downtown (Zone A) - $56.03. Denver Tech. Center (Zone B) - $62.03. Boulder (Zone C) - $89.03.

Is there Uber in Boulder Colorado? ›

Or you can request a ride on demand from Boulder CO in the Uber app. The route your driver takes might depend on the time of day and other factors, like traffic and how many other riders are making requests. You can have a stress-free ride knowing that the Uber app will suggest the most efficient route to your driver.

How long is the bus from DIA to Boulder? ›

The trip takes approximately 80 minutes. Uber now has a partnership with RTD (which runs the public buses). You can use the Uber app to plan your route and pay for your bus fare.

How late does the bus run from Boulder to Denver? ›

The AB1 bus (Denver Airport Via E-470) has 15 stops departing from Downtown Boulder Station Gate 2 and ending in Denver Airport Station Bus Gates 6,7,8,9 & 10. AB1 bus time schedule overview for the upcoming week: Starts operating at 3:04 AM and ends at 9:27 PM. Operating days this week: everyday.

Is there Uber at Denver airport? ›

Ride Apps like Lyft and Uber offer pickup and drop-off transportation service for passengers at Denver International Airport.

How far is Boulder from airport? ›

What airports are near Boulder? The closest airport is Denver Intl (DEN) (33.41 mi). Another nearby airport is Colorado Springs (COS) (88.84 mi). KAYAK recommends you fly to Denver Intl.

Is Uber in Denver? ›

Reserve a ride with Uber in advance in Denver

Complete your plans today by reserving a ride with Uber in Denver. Request a ride up to 30 days in advance, at any time and on any day of the year.

Does Denver have Lyft? ›

We've got your easy ride across town, Denver. Whether you're driving to pay the bills, take control of your schedule, or meet interesting people, Lyft will help you get there. The Lyft Driver app matches you with local passengers, and lets you earn when you want.

Do you need a car in Boulder? ›

Having access to a car is helpful if you're planning to head out of Boulder for day trips to nearby mountain areas. You can rent vehicles from all the major rental car agencies at Denver International Airport, and Enterprise, Budget, Avis, and Hertz also have offices in Boulder.

Is Boulder worth visiting? ›

A beautiful city situated in the foothills of Colorado's stunning Rocky Mountain range, Boulder is a colorful travel destination. Best known for it's awe-inspiring natural beauty, many opportunities for outdoor recreation, and booming local industry, Boulder is a lovely city to visit.

Are shuttles running at Denver airport? ›

Free shuttle service operates 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week, every 7-10 minutes. Shuttles pick up at the parking shelters in the Economy lots. NOTE: Economy Lot shuttle stops are subject to change during construction periods and walking distance to Jeppesen Terminal may be increased without notice.

Is the hop Boulder free? ›

Fares. The current one-way fare for the HOP is $3.00. The fare also serves as a 3-hour pass, allowing unlimited rides and transfers (including to RTD routes) within 3-hours of issuance.

How much does it cost to ride the Flatiron Flyer? ›

Flatiron Flyer Schedule and Fares

2021 Flatiron Flyer fares: $3.00 local three-hour pass and $5.25 regional three-hour pass. Determine your commuting costs with RTD's fare calculator. RTD's Flatiron Flyer is widely used and trusted by commuters in the northwest metro region!

How much does FF1 cost? ›

Regional Transportation District FF1 (Downtown Boulder All-Station) ride fare is about $3.00. Prices may change based on several factors. For more information about Regional Transportation District's ticket costs, please check the Moovit app or the agency's official website.

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