If you’re planning a trip to Boulder, Colorado, it quickly becomes clear that one of its greatest draws is its natural beauty. When it comes to outdoor adventuring, there is something for everyone. Home to a diverse array of natural ecosystems, there’s something for you whether you’re a seasoned hiker or someone who just needs a break from urban living. Overwhelmed by choice? One of our favorite outdoor activities in Boulder is tubing.
And this year, A-LODGE is rolling out a tube rental program, right from the frontdesk!
What is tubing?
Tubing, also known as “inner tubing,” is exactly what it sounds like: an individual rides on top of an inner tube. It’s appropriate for all seasons, as it can be done in the snow or on a body of water, like a river. Boulder’s summer tubing season runs from May to August and the water can get rough during the peak months. Keep in mind the temperature of the water will be cold, so you may want to consider a wet-suit.
While tubing is safe and great for all ages, you want to ensure that you’re taking proper safety precautions. This means being careful about your choice of inner tube, knowing the water levels, and choosing the right route. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and definitely, don’t default to a blow-it-up-yourself inner tube you can grab at the grocery store. Usually, you’ll want to rent an inner tube (which you can do at the A-Lodge frontdesk) and go to a location that’s specifically designated for tubing.
How to plan for a tubing trip
There are a few things you’ll want to consider for your tubing trip: what your itinerary is going to be, when and where you’re going to stop for lunch, where you’ll be launching, and weather. Do your research on the area and choose your location carefully.
If you’re planning on a summer tubing trip, we highly recommend the Boulder Creek tubing area. Here you’ll find one of the best tubing creeks in the U.S. and it is just a short drive from the A-Lodge location. With summer fast approaching and the weather heating up, tubing is a great way to kick off this seasons adventures.
Where to go:
As Boulder locals, we recommend going to Eben G Fine Park area. If you start up at the top of the rapids, right near the junction of Arapahoe and Pearl Streets, you get the best rapids right from the start. You can then run the creek for a few miles all the way to 30th Street and beyond!! Be careful, especially in the second rapid (which you want to run on the right side). When in doubt, get out of the creek and ask questions. On a warm day, you are certain to have company.
What to bring for your tubing trip:
- Sun protection. Don’t forget sunscreen! There’s nothing worse than having a great day on the water only to have the experience marred by a terrible sunburn.
- Your cell phone. It might be tempting to leave your cell phone at home, but you never know what can happen. We recommend investing in a waterproof case or fanny back so you can keep it on your person in case of an emergency.
- Flotation devices. Remember, especially if you’re tubing in a river, you’re going to want to prepare for that. Don’t take any chances! Make sure you’re wearing a life vest, even if it feels like the current isn’t that fast. God forbid anything happens, you will want to be prepared the moment something goes wrong.
- Staying hydrated should still be one of your top priorities, even if your activity is water based. You’d be surprised how quickly you can get dehydrated when you’re doing any outdoor activity.
- If you’re tubing with a group or large family, remember that you can always connect your tubes by rope. This is an incredible help and a great way to prevent getting separated or worse, lost. It’s an incredibly simple thing you can do to make sure that your trip is as stress-free as possible.
- First Aid Kit. Plan for the worst, hope for the best. Ideally, you won’t need a First Aid Kit, but no one has ever regretted bringing one along.
Bring the Whole Family
- Safety, safety, safety! This is essential for people of any age who are tubing, but kids especially: safety first. It goes without saying, everyone should have a life vest, plenty of sun protection, and proper attire. Water shoes, wet-suits, and possibly even a helmet can ensure the trip will go off without a hitch. Avoid letting small children go tubing alone, regardless of river conditions. Stick together, and make sure all tubing is completely supervised by an adult. Ideally, all parties should be strong, confident swimmers, as well.
- Pack a lunch. Tubing is a high energy activity. Be sure to make sure that you have lunch plans. A picnic can be a great option, especially if you plan on doing more tubing throughout the day. You may find that your tube can be outfitted to bring your lunch with you, depending on the length of your trip. (For adults who are going tubing without their families, there are lots of great breweries around the Boulder Creek tubing area, too.)
- Understand that quality is better than quantity. Know when to stop! This is a great family trip, but make sure that you’re not pushing anyone’s limits. Regular check-ins with all members of your parties (especially kids) are essential.
Written by Andee S.