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7 must-see places in U.S. for nature lovers

hot air balloon in front of mountain range

Photo: Let Ideas Compete/Flickr

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Boulder, Colo.

Boulder is nestled in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies just north of Denver and is renowned for its easy access to the great outdoors. It's one of those places where it's likely your waiter is a semi-professional cyclist and your bartender a pro climber. There are hiking trails accessible along the entire Front Range and bike paths throughout town. Rocky Mountain National Park is just a couple of hours up the road, while world-class climbing crags like Eldorado Canyon are found just outside town. There is a great hostel in town for the budget-minded traveler and more elegant accommodations like the Boulderado and the Millennium Hotel for those with more to spend.