Boulder Creek (Colorado)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Boulder Creek[1]
Boulder creek colorado.jpg
Physical characteristics
 • locationConfluence of North Boulder Creek and Middle Boulder Creek
 • coordinates40°00′15″N 105°24′21″W / 40.00417°N 105.40583°W / 40.00417; -105.40583
 • location
Confluence with Saint Vrain
 • coordinates
40°09′33″N 105°00′35″W / 40.15917°N 105.00972°W / 40.15917; -105.00972Coordinates: 40°09′33″N 105°00′35″W / 40.15917°N 105.00972°W / 40.15917; -105.00972
 • elevation
4,852 ft (1,479 m)
Basin features
ProgressionSaint VrainSouth PlattePlatte

Boulder Creek is a 31.4-mile-long (50.5 km)[2] creek draining the Rocky Mountains to the west of Boulder, Colorado, as well as the city itself and surrounding plains.


The creek is formed by two main tributaries rising along the Continental Divide: North and Middle Boulder Creek; and later joined by South Boulder Creek.

North Boulder Creek forms in a valley between Navajo Peak and Arikaree Peak on the Continental Divide, in the Green Lakes chain of lakes. The creek flows 17.8 miles (28.6 km)[2] past the community of Switzerland Park to join Middle Boulder Creek.

Middle Boulder Creek rises as two forks from the Continental Divide: the North Fork rises in a cirque below Mount Neva and flows 7.5 miles (12.1 km) to the South Fork. The South Fork rises at Rollins Pass on the Continental Divide and flows 5.5 miles (8.9 km) to the North Fork. From the junction of the two forks, Middle Boulder Creek, 13.7 miles (22.0 km) long,[2] flows east through the towns of Eldora and Nederland into Barker Meadow Reservoir, a water supply for the city of Boulder,[3] before joining North Boulder Creek to form the main stem of Boulder Creek.

From its source at the confluence of the North and Middle Boulder forks, Boulder Creek flows down Boulder Canyon and through downtown Boulder. On the east edge of the city, the creek receives South Boulder Creek, which rises at Rogers Pass on the Continental Divide, just south of the Moffat Tunnel. South Boulder Creek flows 40.0 miles (64.4 km) through Rollinsville, Gross Reservoir, and Eldorado Canyon before leaving the mountains and curving past the south and east sides of Boulder to its mouth at Boulder Creek.[2]

After leaving the city, Boulder Creek flows northeast into Weld County, where it joins St. Vrain Creek, and on to a confluence with the Platte River. Its waters ultimately flow into the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.


Boulder Creek is a summer recreational spot for outdoor activities including tubing, fly fishing, and wading. The annual Boulder Creek Festival, held along the creekside civic area between the library and Central Park, opens the summer season on Memorial Day weekend.[4]

Fish species[edit]

Fish surveys from 1990, 1995, and 2006 found the following species of fish in Boulder Creek.[5][6][7]

Common name Scientific name Native to Colorado? Image
Sand shiner Notropis stramineus Yes Notropis stramineus.jpg
Iowa darter Etheostoma exile Yes Etheostoma exile - Iowa Darter.png
White sucker Catostomus commersoni Yes White Sucker, Catostomus commersonii.jpg
Creek chub Semotilus atromaculatus Yes Creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus).jpg
Longnose sucker Catostomus catostomus Yes Longnose sucker.jpg
Fathead minnow Pimephalus promelas Yes Pimephales promelas2.jpg
Longnose dace Rhinichthys cataractae Yes Longnose dace.jpg
Largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides No 1351 largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) 300 dpi.jpg
Bluegill Lepomis macrochirus No Bluegill (fish).jpg
Common carp Cyprinus carpio No Cyprinus carpio 1879.jpg
Yellow perch Perca flavescens No YellowPerch.jpg
Plains topminnow Fundulus sciadicus Yes Plains Topminnow - Fundulus sciadicus.jpg
Black crappie Promoxis nigromaculatus No Pomoxis nigromaculatus1.jpg
Brown trout Salmo trutta No Bachforelle Zeichnung.jpg
Rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss No Female Rainbow Trout in hand.JPG
Cutbow trout Oncorhynchus clarkia × mykiss No CutbowGardnerRiverYNP.jpg
Golden shiner Notemigonus crysoleucas No Notemigonus crysoleucas-1.jpg
Green sunfish Lepomis cyanellus Yes Lepomis cyanellus Raver.jpg
Pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus No Lepomis gibbosus PAQ.jpg
Western mosquitofish Gambusia affinis No Mosquitofish.jpg
Central stoneroller Campostoma anomalum Yes Campostoma anomalum (S1018) (14990370433).jpg
Orangespotted sunfish Lepomis humilis Yes Orangespottednctc.png

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Boulder Creek". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  2. ^ a b c d U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map Archived 2012-03-29 at the Wayback Machine, accessed March 25, 2011
  3. ^ "City of Boulder Water Sources". Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  4. ^ Boulder Creek Festival
  5. ^ Haworth, M. R., & Bestgen, K. R. (2016). Survey of Fishes and Habitat of South Boulder Creek, Colorado, within City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks Property (pp. 1–57, Rep.). Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University. doi:
  6. ^ Bestgen, K.R., & Kondratieff, B. (1996). Fishes, Macroinvertebrates, and Habitat of South Boulder Creek, Colorado, within City of Boulder Open Space Property. 10.13140/RG.2.2.27446.29769.
  7. ^ Steinmann, D. B., & Windell, J. T. (1990). Boulder Creek Fish Survey Application of Rabid Bioassessment Protocol V-Fish and The Index of Biotic Integrity at Boulder Creek Before and After Implementation Of Best Management Practices. E.P.O. Biology University of Colorado.

External links[edit]