Paved surface also has sections of backed dirt to the side for those who prefer running on a natural surface. Can be crowded at peak times = dodging pedestrians and dogs.
Whether you do the outer loop or cut through the center of the lake on the Viele Lake Bridge
, this excursion is sure to please. You'll be sharing this trail with neighborhood residents walking their dogs, kids from the nearby schools, joggers, and folks on their lunch break. Luckily, this well-loved neighborhood oasis can absorb a lot of users.
From the parking area at the South Boulder Recreation Center, head around the loop in either the clockwise, or counter clockwise direction. The paved path is nearly level and circumnavigates the pretty man-made lake through Harlow Platts Park. Spaced around the lake are numbered fitness stations and explanatory panels so you can add some cross training to your exercise circuit. There are also benches, a covered picnic area, and a few platforms from which to fish.
Bushes and trees line most of the lake's edge, but you can still get expansive views of the Flatirons and hillsides. The trail has numerous access points from the surrounding neighborhoods. A flock or two of Canadian geese chill out near the shores. They are completely unperturbed by the other visitors and you have to be careful not to step in their droppings. On the southwest corner of the park is a fun-looking playground. There is also a 9-hole disc golf course near the tennis courts.
A bit of history: it used to be possible to rent paddleboats and canoes for use in the lake; now you can only BYOBoat (as long as your watercraft is less than 14 feet in length). The park is named after Harlow Platts who worked on Boulder's Parks and Recreation Planning Board for 30+ years.