Directions for Scientific Visitors to Chapmans' Rancho Europa

Includes nearby motel/resort suggestions. Also, let us suggest some activities in the Rancho Europa/Nederland area. See day hikes from our ranch and hikes within driving distance from our ranch. Check out the PUMA (Preserve Unique Magnolia Assn.) Web site for more about the neighborhood and preserving the special environment of the area.

Rancho Europa, 2083 Lazy Z Road, Nederland, Colorado 80466

Telephone: 303-642-1913

Last updated: 14 Oct. 2010

Our ranch is a fine place for small SwRI space science meetings and for testing astronomical instruments in a nearby, relatively dark-sky location.

Our 10-acre ranch, abutting Roosevelt Natl. Forest in the high (8200 ft.) foothills of the Front Range, is 9 miles southwest of downtown Boulder and 5 miles east of Nederland. We're on an open, sunny, south-facing part of Winiger Ridge, surrounded by ponderosa pine forest with open fields below. We're on the north side of Lazy Z Rd. (CR97E) just before it ends at a gate (look for our stone monolith); Lazy Z is a graded, dirt county road reached from Boulder or Nederland via Magnolia Dr. Driving time from Boulder is about 30 min. by the direct route, but we recommend an alternate, more level route (8 min. longer, via Nederland) esp. for flat-landers or for anyone during mid-winter, since Magnolia ascends very steeply the shaded, often icy north-facing side of Boulder Canyon. From Denver International Airport, the shortest route is via the new Tollway (E-470 and Northwest Parkway) to Rte. 36 near Flatirons Mall, then through downtown Boulder and up to the Magnolia neighborhood; driving time from DIA is about 70 min. From Denver, the best route is through Arvada or Golden, then up Coal Creek Canyon on C72. From points west, take the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70 to cross the Continental Divide and then the Central City Parkway (exit #244) to Central City, then to the Peak-to-Peak Highway in Blackhawk, north toward Nederland and Estes Park, but then turn off on Magnolia Dr. just before Nederland to Lazy Z; driving time from the Tunnel to the ranch is about 70 min. When you arrive, turn left (where our circular drive joins) and drive straight up the paved section toward our house.

From Downtown Boulder (Canyon & 11th St.) to Ranch via Magnolia Road

Note: Lower Magnolia is very steep and curvy, not suitable for trailers or other
large vehicles.  Keep right and drive slowly on curves.  Permanent snow and ice
in shady spots during winter: chains or studded snow tires required. Impassable
or much longer driving time after snow.  Check-out alternative route below.

 0.0 miles      0 min.   Canyon at 11th St., Boulder (drive west)
 1.0            1        Boulder City Limits
 3.8            5        Tunnel
 4.7            7        Magnolia Dr. turnoff (turn left; keep right on curves)
 9.4           17        End of pavement (take curves slowly!)
13.7           24        Lazy Z Rd. (turn sharp left from Magnolia at mailboxes)
15.8           28        Chapmans' Rancho Europa (2083 Lazy Z Rd., on left)

Alternate Gentler and/or Mid-Winter Route from Downtown Boulder to Rancho Europa via Nederland

 0.0 miles      0 min.   Canyon at 11th St., Boulder (drive west)
 1.0            1        Boulder City Limits (follow C119 thru Nederland)
 3.8            5        Tunnel
 4.7            7        Magnolia Dr. turnoff (do NOT take)
 8.6           12        Boulder Falls
14.6           20        Barker Dam
16.0           22        Nederland traffic circle (follow 10 o'clock: left,
                          S thru town on C119/C72 S "Peak-to-Peak Hwy.")
16.6           23        Eldora turnoff (do NOT take!  Stay on C119/C72 S)
17.9           26        Magnolia Dr. (top of hill, turn left*)
21.3           32        Lazy Z Rd. (bear right as Magnolia turns left)
23.4           36        Chapmans' Rancho Europa (2083 Lazy Z Rd., on left)
* The Magnolia sign is not prominent (sometimes stolen, hence not there at all).  Magnolia
is the FIRST turn-off south of the Sundance Motel, several hundred feet beyond the crest
of the hill.  It is a well-graded, fairly level dirt/gravel road.  Take curves slowly during
first mile east of C119.

From Denver Intl. Airport to Rancho Europa (via NW Tollway and Boulder)

NOTE:  This new route opened Nov. 2003; it is generally simpler, safer, and
a bit faster than the older routes involving I-70, but it costs about $9 (no toll booths: tolls
are collected by reading the license plate of your vehicle or a transponder, if you have
one).  It is considerably faster (at least 10 min.) for getting to downtown Boulder. 

 0.0 miles         0 min.     DIA parking structure toll booth
 3.9               4          Bear right on E-470 Tollway ramp toward Ft. Collins
 6.1               6          Toll booth (now closed)
15.8              15          Toll booth (now closed)
22.1              20          I-25 interchange; go straight under
24.8              23          NW Parkway toll booth (now closed)
29.8              27          NW Parkway ends; go straight thru 96th St. traffic light
30.3              28          Go straight thru Tape Drive traffic light
30.6              29          Bear right on ramp to US 36 West, toward Boulder*
38.4              36          Take exit ramp to Baseline, keep in left or center lane;
                                turn left at light, then get in right lane of Baseline
38.9              37          Bear right and merge into Broadway; merge into left lane
40.3              40          Turn left (west) at Canyon**
45.1              47          Turn left on Magnolia Rd. (keep right on curves!)
49.8              57          Pavement ends (take curves slowly!)
53.5              63          Turn sharply left on Lazy Z (just beyond mailboxes)
55.6              68          Chapmans' Rancho Europa (2083 Lazy Z Rd., on left)

*  Alternate route (less steep and curvy) to Rancho Europa:  Instead of turning
onto Rte. 36, continue straight across Rte. 36 on Interlocken Loop (an extension
of NW Parkway) through a couple more lights until it T's at Rte. 128.  Turn right
(west) and proceed about 3 miles until 128 T's at Rte. 93.  Turn left (south)
and proceed about 4 miles to the traffic light at C72, then turn sharply right (west).
This is the intersection at 44.2 miles in the "Free Route" description below;
follow those directions to Rancho Europa, another half-hour on mountain roads
(we don't have the exact times and miles from Rte. 36 to Rte. 72; probably
a few miles and a 10 minutes longer than going through Boulder).

**  This is downtown Boulder.  To get to Clark's office (SwRI), drive one block west
on Canyon to 11th (take care at Ped Xing), turn right.  The Exeter Building is ahead on
the left (SwRI is Suite 300; Clark's office is entered thru reception area at end of corridor
on 4th floor).  Drive one block,
turn right on Walnut.  Turn right immediately into parking structure.  Walk west across
11th at Walnut intersection and enter 11th-St.-facing entrance into Exeter Bldg., take
elevator to 3rd or 4th floor.

Free Route: From Denver Intl. Airport to Ranch via Golden and Coal Creek Canyon (also the route from Denver and Colorado Springs via I-25 to I-70)

 0.0 miles      0 min.   DIA parking structure 
 4.5            6        Site of now-dismantled old airport toll booth
13.0           14        Pena Blvd. exit onto I-70 west
16.6           18        (Exit ramp for I-270, Rte. 36 to Boulder: do NOT take!)
21.8           22        (Cross I-25 north of downtown Denver)*
30.8           30        Exit onto State Hiway C58 west toward Golden**
35.8           35        C93, turn right at light
               (save a minute by exiting one interchange earlier, Wash. Ave.,
               Golden: turn right; turn right again at termination with C93,
               less than 1 mile.  Warning: drive <35 mph, speed trap!)
44.2           45        C72 (Coal Creek Canyon Rd., turn left at light)
53.0           57        (Gross Reservoir turnoff: do NOT take!)
55.1           60        Center of Wondervu town, enter Gilpin County
58.5           67        Pinecliffe, RR tracks, re-enter Boulder County
59.3           68        CR97 (100 ft. after fire station, turn R on dirt road)
60.4           71.5      Magnolia Dr. (bear right, drive only few hundred feet)
60.6           72        Lazy Z Rd. (bear right as Magnolia turns left)
62.7           76        Chapmans' Rancho Europa (2083 Lazy Z Rd., on left)

Notes:  (1) This is the best free route. (2) In winter, CR97 (a moderately steep, dirt forest
road) may be
impassable, so continue on Coal Creek Cany. Rd. to the Peak-to-Peak Hwy (C72/C119),
turn R at stop sign, then right again after 1 mi. onto Magnolia Drive; Lazy Z
bears right after 3.4 miles (this detour will add 10 min. to the trip).

* Save 2 min. (in light traffic only, not at rush-hour) by exiting I-70 at Ward Rd.
(C72) 7 miles west of I-25, proceed north 1.5 miles until C72 goes left (west) on
64th Ave. (a major intersection); 1 mile later, C72 turns north on Indiana St.,
at a light,
then in 2 mi. diverts NW to the C93 intersection (2nd of 2 closely spaced traffic
lights).  Proceed straight ahead into Coal Creek Canyon (follow instructions from
44.2 mile mark above).

** Note: there is yet another route, which bypasses Golden: about 1 mile after exiting
I70 onto C58 (and a couple of miles before Washington), exit C58 right onto McIntire
Road.  Proceed north to 54th Ave. (traffic light recently installed).  Turn left (west) and
follow to T at
Easeley; turn right (north) and proceed about 1 mile to stop sign at 64th.  Turn left and
follow divided highway (called "64th Pkwy") to traffic light at C93; turn right, drive to
2nd stop-light (C72), turn left and proceed from 44.2 miles directions above.

From Rancho Europa TO Denver Intl. Airport.

What is described below is a free route (to be avoided during rush hour).  But a more
reliable, safer, but expensive option is to retrace
the route involving the NW Parkway and E-470 (tollways, totalling
about $9) described above *from* DIA.  Take Lazy Z, Magnolia, and
Canyon into downtown Boulder; then follow the directions below "From Downtown
Boulder to DIA via NW Pkwy." 

 0.0 miles       0 min.   Depart Rancho Europa west on Lazy Z
 2.1             4        Bear left (basically straight ahead) on Magnolia Dr.
 2.3             4+       CR97 (turn down to the left)
 3.4             8        Coal Crk. Canyon R. (C72; take left fork, turn L)
 4.2             9        Cross railroad tracks at Pinecliffe
 7.6            16        Center of town of Wondervu
 9.7            19        (Gross Reservoir turnoff: do NOT take)
18.5            31        C93 (turn right toward Golden at light)*
26.9            41        C58 (turn left at light)**
31.9            46        I-70 (C58 ends and ramp merges with I-70 east)
40.9            54        (Cross I-25 north of downtown Denver)
49.7            62        Exit I-70 onto Pena Blvd. (airport exit)
58.2            70        Airport entrance; site of old toll booth
62.7            76        Air terminal

*Slight shortcut in light traffic: Proceed straight through light and continue
to follow C72 to I-70; several turns are detailed in above footnote FROM airport.

**Or take shortcut on Washington Ave., an earlier light (now signed), to C58
interchange (see directions FROM airport).  Or follow 64th Parkway/Easley/
McIntire route through Arvada, described in footnote to directions FROM airport.

From Points West via Interstate 70, Central City, and Peak-to-Peak Hwy.

 0.0 miles      0 min.   Exit from eastbound I-70 (exit #243, just after tunnel east    
                           of Idaho Springs) toward "Hidden Valley, Central City";
                           turn left, pass under I-70, turn left again (just past W-
                           bound on-ramp), proceed under "Central City Parkway" sign.
                           As you descend into Central City, go very slowly due
                           to speed bumps, speed trap, new stop signs. 
 8.0            8        Angle thru downtown Central City, turn R on Gregory ("To 119")
 9.0           11        Where road T's at 119 in downtown Blackhawk, turn L on 119
14.1*          19*       Crest (S entrance to Golden Gate St. Park)*
25.7           34        Magnolia Dr. (turn right; Sundance motel is 1000 ft. too far)
29.1           40        Lazy Z Rd. (bear right)
31.2           44        Chapmans' Rancho Europa (2083 Lazy Z Rd., on left)

Older, Longer, More-crowded Route from Points West via I-70 and Blackhawk.

 0.0 miles      0 min.   Exit from eastbound I-70 (exit #244 from lefthand
                            lane!) on Clear Creek Canyon Rd. toward Golden
 2.9            4        Turn left on C119 toward Blackhawk
10.3           15        Blackhawk (Central City turnoff)
15.4*          22*       Crest (S entrance to Golden Gate St. Park)*
27.0           37        Magnolia Dr. (turn right, before Sundance motel)
30.4           43        Lazy Z Rd. (bear right)
32.5           47        Chapmans' Rancho Europa (2083 Lazy Z Rd., on left)

*Alternate shortcut (but not after snow or heavy rain: Rd 11 along S. Beaver Creek
 is graded dirt) NOTE: Miles/times from exit #244; subtract 1.3 miles and 3 min. if
 starting from exit #243 via Central City.
15.4           22        Crest (S entrance to Golden Gate St. Park)
18.7           26        (N entrance to Golden Gate St. Park: do NOT take)
20.0           28        Rd. 11 (exit right just after Milepost 17; 30 mph dirt road)
24.3           36        Rd. 11 ends at Coal Crk. Cany. Rd. after bridge (turn right)
24.9           37        CR97 (before fire station, turn left, drive slowly!)
26.0           40        Magnolia Dr. (turn right)
26.2           41        Lazy Z Rd. (bear right)
28.3           45        Chapmans' Rancho Europa (2083 Lazy Z Rd., on left)

From downtown Boulder to DIA via Northwest Pkwy and E-470 Tollways

 0.0 miles      0 min.   Broadway at Canyon, drive S, turn left at Baseline
                              (use righthand left-turn lane, then merge right)
 1.6            3        Exit righthand ramp onto U.S. 36 toward Denver
 9.6           10        Exit to StorageTek Dr. (near Flatirons Mall), turn L at end of ramp
10.9           12        96th (last traffic light), begin Northwest Parkway
15.7           17        1st closed toll booth
24.7           26        2nd closed toll booth
34.5           35        1.5 miles after 3rd closed toll booth, exit toward Pena
36.6           37        After bridge, exit ramp toward DIA/Pena East
41.9           43        Enter East or West Parking area, take ticket
42.4           45        Park in Garage, DIA    

Rancho Europa in winter.


(1) SUNDANCE LODGE & CAFE. 800-817-3797, 303-258-3797. Closest motel to ranch (about 5 miles). Clean, simple, rustic, nicely appointed, shower (no bathtub), inexpensive (about $50 per night), attached excellent restaurant and bar, exceptional views of Continental Divide peaks from every room and from the outdoor deck of the cafe, horseback riding after Memorial Day. Located in the country, one mile south of Nederland, a few hundred yards north of the intersection of the Peak-to-Peak Highway (C119) and Magnolia Dr. (which leads east towards our ranch).

(2) THE LODGE AT NEDERLAND (Best Western). 800-279-9463, 303-258-9463. Superior accomodations, downtown Nederland, 55 Lakeview Drive at C119. Rates $75 - $95. Wonderful mountain-style rooms, many with fireplace or wood-burning stove. Continental breakfast; half-a-dozen restaurants within walking distance. A little over 6 miles from our ranch. Center-of-mountain-town environment.

(3) ELDORA LODGE AT WONDERVU. 303-642-7181. Half-a-mile east of "downtown" Wondervu (a tiny village), high in Coal Creek Canyon, 33247 Rte. 72 (8 miles, 18 min. away from the ranch). This is a very nice, small B&B/motel with great views of the Divide. Mountain-cabin decor. It was under very problematical management during the past decade. But it has changed ownership, management, and name in 2006, and is run by a very nice Polish couple. Until repairs and renovations are complete, expect quirky amenities, modest price. [Nearby Mexican restaurant in "downtown" Wondervu and an upscale German restaurant a mile to the east are both recommended.]

(4) NUMEROUS ACCOMODATIONS in (or closer to) Boulder: the elegant old downtown Boulderado Hotel (on the pedestrian mall, 442-4344), the Alps Boulder Canyon Inn (303-444-5445, historic luxury B&B featuring afternoon tea and evening desserts, 12 rooms $122 to $188, toward our ranch in Boulder Canyon), Boulder Mountain Lodge (rustic, by the creek in Fourmile Canyon, 444-0882), the Magpie Inn (downtown B&B, moderately expensive, 449-6528), the large, Millennium hotel (once the Regal Harvest House; in the shopping district east of downtown, tennis courts, 443-3850), the Golden Buff (442-7450, standard in-town Best Western motel), Days Inn (cheaper, 499-4422), and many others. Note: Clark's office is in "downtown", walking distance from Magpie and Boulderado. A luxury hotel, the St. Julien, located one block west from Clark's office, opened in February 2005.

(5) BED & BREAKFAST PRIVATE HOMES IN NEDERLAND (recommended by Visitor's Bureau some years ago; we haven't checked them out). Jackson's Whispering Pines (258-3210). Lakeview B&B (258-3165). Crum's B&B (258-7922). Betty Bloss (258-7666).

(6) OTHER ACCOMODATIONS IN THE MOUNTAINS. Gold Lake Mountain Resort (very secluded cabins, very expensive, fine restaurant, north of Ward, about 40 min. drive from ranch, 459-3544 [rumored to have closed in 2010]). A Nook in the Woods B&B (Coal Creek Canyon, 642-3271). The Goldminer Hotel (and Rocky Ledge Cabin), in Eldora Natl. Historic District (9 miles from ranch, within walking distance of Hessie trailhead to Continental Divide), 100-year-old B&B with hot tub, $55 to $179 (258- 7770).

Day Hikes from Rancho Europa.

Hikes within 40 min. Drive.

Visitor Activity Suggestions.

Chapmans' Info.

Clark R. Chapman's Homepage.

SwRI Boulder Office (Dept. of Space Studies) Homepage.

SwRI Homepage