Near Nederland rests the Caribou Ranch recording studio, once used by Elton John, Michael Jackson, U2, Billy Joel, Beach Boys and others. Jim Guercio built the studio in a barn in 1971, but fire destroyed it in 1985. The family sold the 1,600-acre site for $32.5 million in 2014 to become Boulder County Open Space. The ranch is closed through June 30 to protect migrating birds and calving elk, but it boasts plenty of beautiful trails, forests, meadows, wetlands and a historical mining complex to explore during the rest of the summer.
Along the way
Stay: Hotel Boulderado offers 160 guest rooms decorated in either a modern mountain or historic Victorian style, 2115 13th St., Boulder, 303-442-4344, boulderado.com.
Eat: Enjoy fresh organic food on the wrap-around porch at Chautauqua Dining Hall at Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark, 900 Baseline Road, Boulder, 303-440-3776, chautauqua.com/dining-hall/overview.
Drink: The European-style gastropub Bohemian Biergarten features traditional cuisine from Germany, the Czech Republic and central Europe and more than 15 euro-centric taps, 2017 13th St., Boulder, 720-328-8328, bohemianbiergarten.com.
Fun: The Flatirons are unmissable. Hike, climb or ogle the natural wonder, bouldercolorado.gov/osmp/flatirons-vista-trailhead.
Hidden gem: The Butterfly Pavilion boasts an indoor tropical conservatory, more than 1,600 free-flying butterflies, Rosie the tarantula, sea stars, bees, beetles, spiders and more, 6252 W. 104th Ave., Westminster, 303-469-5441, butterflies.org.