How Safe Is Boulder for Travel?

Boulder, United States
Safety Index:
85

Boulder, Colorado, is an upbeat town where the mountains and the prairie meet.

It’s ranked the best place to live in America and Colorado by U.S. News and World Report, so that tells you a lot about what a wonderful escape this is for tourists.

The hippy vibe of the ’60s and ’70s is still rich here, with a splash of modern technology and an outdoorsy lifestyle.

Art isn’t just an attraction here, it’s a way of life.

The vibrancy of the community’s artful spirit comes alive at every corner of town.

This is a socially conscious and environmentally responsible town where bicycles are preferred over buses, yet it doesn’t take itself too seriously, as you can have a fortune-telling yak read your fate.

Once you lace up your hiking boots, you’ve got the mystical Flatirons to explore, stargazing so intense it feels like you can reach up and grab one, and hiking trails so plentiful you’ll have a hard time picking just a few.

Warnings & Dangers in Boulder

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : LOW

There's a low risk in Boulder. It's a safe city according to crime statistics. Many activities here include a guide to help you along, so there's a sense of security in that.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

There's a low risk of riding on public transportation with all the city and state permit requirements. There's also a low chance you'll be using any public transportation as this is a city of bicyclists. You'll blend in better if you rent a bike during your visit here. Yes, even in the cold winter months. The city tourism bureau says sometimes the bike paths get plowed before regular streets! There's a free shuttle to and from Chautauqua, and if you must ride in climate control, you can also hop on the Hop bus for $3.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW

There's a 1 in 284 chance of being a victim of theft here. That's low risk compared to other cities of similar size, but don't let your guard down.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : HIGH

One of the biggest disaster risks in Colorado is wildfires and there's a high risk each year. They can burn hundreds of thousands of acres, destroy air quality, and put homes and lives in danger. Snow is another story. An average of 93" falls each year. It's a city well-equipped to deal with snow, so you can determine the risk factor based on your ability to handle snow by bike, foot, or car.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : LOW

Robbery levels are even lower than theft, with a 1 in 284 chance of being robbed. That's another low risk in this hamlet of a mountain community.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : LOW

There's a low risk in this community, but nearby Denver might be at a medium risk just based on its size, being a hub city for travel, and the many businesses that call Denver home. There's no specific target, but bigger cities are going to be bigger targets.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : LOW

The biggest scams to hit the Boulder area generally come after wildfires, according to the Boulder Country District Attorney. Scammers can act like they are raising money to help wildfire victims when they are just looking for quick cash. There's a medium risk of this happening if you visit during or after a massive fire anywhere in the state, otherwise there's a low risk.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

Women have a low risk when traveling here. It's a close-knit community and there are plenty of group activities with trained organizers or leaders to make sure everyone stays safe. With the walkability and bicycle-friendly nature of this town, you'll rarely find yourself alone on a path, trail, or tourist area. The one caution is if you go hiking alone and aren't familiar with the terrain or difficulty of the climb.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK : LOW

The city tests for more than 450 substances in the tap water for the Boulder community. It meets or exceeds all state and federal standards. There's a low risk here. Colorado regularly gets some of the best-tasting tap water votes each year.

Safest Places to Visit in Boulder

No trip to Boulder is complete without a stop at Pearl Street.

Here you’ll walk along brick-paved streets with street performances along the way as you duck in and out of unique boutiques or cafes.

Four blocks in this area are safe for pedestrians as it is shut off to street traffic.

You’ll also find art galleries galore with plenty of places to just sit back and people watch.

The Flatirons are the must-do of the outdoors here.

These are the hallmark (and landmarks) of the Boulder valley.

These sandstone formations slant toward the sky, peaking up above the city and seemingly almost magical when covered in snow.

They look kinda like the fingers of God pointing up toward the amazing Colorado skies.

If you like a little water recreation with your outdoor adventure, just look at a place with the name “Boulder” in the title: Boulder Creek, Boulder Reservoir, Boulder Falls.

If you don’t want to go on the adventure alone, there are 15 tour categories listed on the Boulder tourism website.

Farms, mountains, crafting, health & wellness, food & drink, the list just goes on and on.

Plan ahead which ones you want to tackle, as there’s so much to do in Boulder you might miss your flight home.

Placess to Avoid in Boulder

It’s less about places to avoid and more about places to be cautious of when visiting.

Boulder Creek path in the downtown area can get a little sketch after dark with home panhandlers and homeless people.

Those same panhandlers are in Pearl Street during the day.

It’s important to note the panhandling laws in Boulder (and several Colorado cities) are a bit laxer than in other cities.

In 2015, the ALCU stepped in to defend the panhandlers’ right to first amendment speech and claims panhandling ordinances violated that.

There is a ban on aggressive panhandling, but now that only applies to “intimidating or threatening the people.”

They can approach you more than once or even touch you when asking for a donation.

It’s best to just move along and not engage in conversation.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Boulder

  1. The city hiking trails in Boulder are open around the clock, which might tempt tourists to take a night hike. You should check out the trail in the daytime before even thinking of night hiking. For example, Boulder Falls is a rocky hike, and you could easily twist an ankle in the dark. One note: The COUNTY parks close at dusk, so make sure you confirm you are hiking on a city trail when night hiking. Better yet, take a guided tour and you don’t have to worry about planning and safety measures.
  2. A big draw in this area is the Chautauqua (pronounced: shuh-TAW-kwuh). The dictionary defines a Chautauqua as “of or relating to a system of education flourishing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, originating at Lake Chautauqua, New York.” The Colorado Chautauqua includes outdoor activities, pieces of living history, and historic yet charming cottages and lodges. It’s a one-kind experience.
  3. Boulder is the most dog-friendly city this travel writer has even researched. I don’t think I’ve found a place a dog isn’t welcome, so if you are looking to bring your dog along, this might be the perfect place. Don’t believe me? This is a city SO in love with dogs that the city council adopted an ordinance that forbids calling a human a dog’s “owner”. It must be “guardian.”
  4. Someone might ask you to go forest bathing while you are here. Seems a little odd, right? Especially in the middle of a cold winter! However, there is no water bathing involved. This is an immersive experience where you “bathe” in the sights and sounds of the forest. You leave all technology behind (yes, even your mobile phone) and a leader takes you on a meditative walk to clear your mind and soul.
  5. For safety, and by law, it’s illegal to wear headphones or earbuds while driving. The only exception is if you use one earbud for hand-free calling.
  6. Boulder County has recently adopted a “Text to 911” program that allows people to text 911 if they can’t call. The motto is “Call if you can, text if you must.” This comes in especially handy if you get lost in the mountains and can’t get cell service but might be able to get a text through. You can also use it if you are in a dangerous situation where you can’t talk. Just know that, unlike regular 911 calls, the text does not give your location, so you’ll need to be specific about where you are when you text. Do not send pictures or videos as they won’t go through.
  7. The University of Colorado – Boulder is in this area and it’s a great college, but it does come with the college party circuit and accompanying petty crime. Tour the campus if you’d like, just keep your wits about with basic safety steps.
  8. “When in Boulder…” We realize not every tourist is going to be as eco-conscious as the good people of Boulder, but you’ll want to pay special attention if you have a habit of littering. This is a community bred in the belief of “leave no sign behind” and recycling everything you can. There is a website dedicated to reporting litterers, and you might have someone approach you if you do litter. Just clean up your mess when you are here.
  9. This is a town with many personalities, so everyone is bound to fit in. While it’s got a hippie reputation, based on the surge of hippies that called Boulder home in the 1960s, it’s also home to several tech companies like Google, Lockheed Martin, and Ball Aerospace.
  10. If you don’t want to ask strangers for dining advice, you can sign up for a Local Table Tour. This is a dining adventure where a local person takes you around to different restaurants for three hours and you get to sample a bit of everything.

So... How Safe Is Boulder Really?

Look, when U.S. News and World Report puts a city at the top of the Best Places to Live, it commands respect.

The city is so vibrant and artsy with a flair for the outdoors you just can’t get in many cities, it’s going to come with all the proper safety measures as well.

We can’t discuss this point without addressing the Boulder supermarket shooting in 2021.

Ten people were killed when a gunman entered the King Soopers store.

While it’s a serious, devastating crime for the community, it’s also not reflective of the trend for violent crimes in Boulder over the past few decades.

That was a random act of violence.

It was not in the touristy areas.

Boulder is as likely as any American city for a mass shooting.

There is nothing about that one incident that should make a tourist think Boulder is a bad place to visit.

How Does Boulder Compare?

CitySafety Index
Boulder85
Las Vegas62
San Francisco61
Philadelphia60
Houston59
Brussels (Belgium)60
Shanghai (China)66
Belize City (Belize)37

Useful Information

  • Visas - You'll address your Visa issues at the airport when you arrive in Colorado. Boulder has no requirements above and beyond the United States entry process.
  • Currency - You'll use American currency here. Credit cards are widely accepted and cash is good to have on hand for smaller purchases.
  • Weather - This is a dry climate year-round when it comes to humidity, so you'll want to drink a little more water than normal. Winters can get cold, with average lows in the 20s from November through March with highs in the 40s during that same time. Summers are beautiful with highs in the 80s and lows in the 50s. You'll always want to pack a jacket during the summer and bring lots of cold weather layers in the winter. Most of the snowshoes and ski equipment you can rent while you are there.
  • Airports - You'll want to fly to Denver International Airport to get to Boulder. That's just 45 minutes away on a straight shot down the freeway. There are smaller airports in Colorado Springs (2 hours away) and Cheyenne, Wyoming (1:45 away), but DIA is the choice that makes the most sense for efficiency and cost.
  • Travel Insurance - Winter storms, wildfires, ripple effects delays from East Coast hubs—all reasons to get travel insurance when visiting Boulder. You certainly don't want to miss a chance to visit here, and insurance will provide you with a cost-saving way to visit when the conditions improve.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Boulder Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 1° C
Feb 3° C
Mar 7° C
Apr 10° C
May 15° C
Jun 20° C
Jul 23° C
Aug 22° C
Sep 18° C
Oct 12° C
Nov 6° C
Dec 2° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
8101418222831302619138
Low
°C
-6-5-127121514104-1-5
High
°F
465057647282888679665546
Low
°F
212330364554595750393023

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