Viele Lake – Boulder Daily Camera

Viele Lake – Boulder Daily Camera


The sight of geese ice skating as they land on Viele Lake relaxes the stress of the holidays, and a walk around the lake relaxes both mind and body. Since the paved wheel-chair accessible path is only seven-tenths of a mile, many walkers stop at the numbered fitness stations for extra exercise after too much Christmas cheer.

The geese take up water skiing once the ice melts on Viele Lake. (Glenn Cushman / courtesy photo)

Although you can do an outer loop around the park, we prefer the inner loop that crosses an inlet of the lake. To do the loop in a counter clockwise direction, turn right from the parking area next to the South Boulder Recreation Center and cross the bridge over the inlet. At the point where the inner and outer paths join, a side path leads up to Gillaspie Drive and Julliard Street. Continue past the children’s playground and circle the end of the lake where a cattail marsh harbors red-winged blackbirds even in winter.

Watch for two benches on your right and the almost-overgrown nature trail that winds uphill through a grove of ponderosa pines and junipers. This small dirt path provides great views down to the lake and out to the Flatirons and foothills and is worth the detour.

For a longer hike, continue up to Gillaspie Drive and walk east to Greenbriar Boulevard. Turn right on Greenbriar and follow the sidewalk to the Greenbriar Connector Trailhead on the left side of the road just beyond Smuggler Way. As its name suggests, this trail connects to several other trails, some of which go up into the foothills.

A graceful bridge spans an inlet of Viele Lake. (Glenn Cushman / Courtesy photo)

To continue circling Viele Lake, return to the main path, which curves east. A small pier juts out over the water in a short distance. Stop for a moment to admire the distant view of Longs Peak with a graceful bridge in the foreground. From here you can either return to the paved walk or skirt the east side of the lake on a small dirt path. When the dirt and paved paths rejoin, another side trail leads up to Fairview High School. On reaching the recreation center, you’ll find a small wetland, tennis courts, volleyball courts, a pickleball court, and a disc golf course.

Benches are placed at strategic intervals around the lake that is probably named for Addie and Albert Viele, who ran a dairy farm at Cherryvale and South Boulder Road from 1884 to 1942. Picnic tables sit under large cottonwoods near the parking lot.

Many years ago a bubbler kept the water unfrozen all winter allowing many duck species, including rare wood ducks as well as a multitude of geese, to flourish. The bubbler was turned off, and the diversity of ducks dwindled to mostly mallards. But there are still geese to give you a giggle when they skate across the lake.

Viele Lake is in Harlow Platts Park next to the South Boulder Recreation Center on the east side of Gillaspie Drive.

Ruth Carol and Glenn Cushman are the authors of Boulder Hiking Trails, published by West Margin Press