[Barker Reservoir. Photo: Mr.TinDC] Secluded just sixteen miles west of Boulder, Nederland is a unique town with a laid-back attitude. It’s home to a number of excellent festivals throughout the year, so Ned’s known for having a rich arts scene. The indie music scene is especially popular, with concerts held nearly every week in the summer.
Downtown is lined with beautiful shops, boutiques, and restaurants. Wild Mountain Smokehouse has excellent barbecue, beers and happy hour.
Life Is Better Up In Nederland
With a town motto of “life is better up here”, there’s good reason to enjoy visiting Nederland at 8,228 feet. It’s secluded seventeen miles southwest of Boulder, next to Eldora Ski Resort and the Continental Divide.
The town of Nederland is a picturesque, funky mountain town. It boasts a vibrant population of locals, with 1400 people in the town and more than 5,000 in the surrounding area.Fishing, camping, skiing and festivals keep people passing through all year. It’s also located on the Peak to Peak Highway, which leads 41 miles north to Estes Park or 18 south to Black Hawk. Some of the top events include the Frozen Dead Guy Festival in March and NedFest in August.
West Magnolia has camping, which is free and only two miles south of town. Open in June or late is Caribou Open Ranch, which has a ghost town and free dispersed camping. Fishing is great at Barker Reservoir, located in town. Visit the official town website.
The town began as a trading post between Ute Indians and European Settlers during the 1850s, and then shortly after became a mining town. Nederland is now known for sports, music, and its absolutely picturesque scenery.
Barker Reservoir – Nederland’s lake sets a gorgeous backdrop to town. It’s open to fishing, but not boating.
Eldora Mountain Resort – 680 acres of exciting and affordable skiing. It’s easy to reach the ski area, only 10-15 minutes from town. There’s a nice mix of beginner, intermediate and expert terrain.
There is a local skate park that’s popular in summer, as well as easy access to a number of parks. The James Peak Wilderness, Indian Peaks Forest, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Roosevelt National Forest are all nearby.
- Located in the Arapaho National Forest near the old Caribou ghost town site is a dispersed camping area with 11 numbered sites. Take CO Highway 72 west out of Nederland. In nearly a mile from the traffic circle, head west on County Road 126. Follow for 5 miles to Five Points (a 5-way intersection). Numbered sites are located within 1.5 miles of Five Points.
- West Magnolia offers free camping and eight miles of multi-use trails. It’s located only two miles out of town on Highway 72.
Mar – Frozen Dead Guy Days – Weekend party in early March, paying tribute to Grandpa Bredo Morstoel, who is cryogenically frozen in town. It’s the biggest party of the year, with food, music, a polar bear plunge, and lots of competition, like the coffin races. The New York Times named FDGD in its Top 10 Best Parties of the Winter, alongside the likes of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras and Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
Jun – High Peaks Art Festival – Free arts festival held in late June. Live music, local food, art workshops and art shows.
Jul – Fourth of July – Begins with a parade down main street, followed by music in Chipeta Park, and concluded by an impressive fireworks show over Barker Reservoir.
Aug – NedFest – Mark your calendars for the last weekend of August. It’s one of Colorado’s largest music festivals with more than a dozen local and national bands. Tickets are required for entrance. This festival has been suspended due to event space issues until further notice!
Sep – Neder-Nederland Race – September 5k and 10k race through town and the surrounding valley. A post-race party is held with food, drinks, and music.
Oct – Oktoberfest – 25 mile Mountain Bike “fondo style” event and Bavarian celebration.
From Denver, you can choose three different routes to be in town at around an hour and the drive is scenic! Try I-70 west to Black Hawk and then take CO-119 to Nederland. Then on the way back take either Highway 72 east to CO-93 in North Golden, or CO-119 out towards Boulder and back on Highway 36.
Things to do near Nederland
- Caribou (11mi)
- Eldorado Springs Pool (24mi)
- Black Hawk (18mi)
- Boulder (16mi)
- Central City (19mi)
- Golden (29mi)
- Idaho Springs (30mi)
- Lyons (31mi)
Camping by Moffat Tunnel in Rollinsville – Tucked away in the Roosevelt National Forest, the Moffat Tunnel used to offer trips through the Continental Divide. Now it’s widely popular for outdoor recreation, mainly camping, hiking, biking and off-highway-vehicles…
Camping at West Magnolia in Nederland – Situated only a few miles south of Nederland, West Magnolia offers twenty-two free campsites surrounded by gorgeous, high-alpine views. There are eight miles of multi-use trails that are open to hiking…