Boulder Creek (Colorado)

Boulder Creek is a 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 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 to the South Fork. The South Fork rises at Rollins Pass on the Continental Divide and flows to the North Fork. From the junction of the two forks, Middle Boulder Creek, long, flows east through the towns of Eldora and Nederland into Barker Meadow Reservoir, a water supply for the city of Boulder, 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 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.
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.

Fish species

Fish surveys from 1990, 1995, and 2006 found the following species of fish in Boulder Creek.
Common nameScientific nameNative to Colorado?Image
Sand shinerNotropis stramineusYes
Iowa darterEtheostoma exileYes
White suckerCatostomus commersoniYes
Creek chubSemotilus atromaculatusYes
Longnose suckerCatostomus catostomusYes
Fathead minnowPimephalus promelasYes
Longnose daceRhinichthys cataractaeYes
Largemouth bassMicropterus salmoidesNo
BluegillLepomis macrochirusNo
Common carpCyprinus carpioNo
Yellow perchPerca flavescensNo
Plains topminnowFundulus sciadicusYes
Black crappiePromoxis nigromaculatusNo
Brown troutSalmo truttaNo
Rainbow troutOncorhynchus mykissNo
Cutbow troutOncorhynchus clarkia × mykissNo
Golden shinerNotemigonus crysoleucasNo
Green sunfishLepomis cyanellusYes
PumpkinseedLepomis gibbosusNo
Western mosquitofishGambusia affinisNo
Central stonerollerCampostoma anomalumYes
Orangespotted sunfishLepomis humilisYes