Summer + Boulder swimming pools

A rundown of Boulder’s summer swim situation as things stand now

By Tatyana Sharpton Jun 2 2020

With the heat turning up quickly, Boulderites look forward to the prospect of switching up their hike and park routines with public pools reopening this summer.

NoBo’s Elks Pool

This past Friday May 29, North Boulder’s beloved Boulder Elks Pool and Patio, a community swim and play hub since 1967, opened for the third time since Boulder County Public Health shut it down twice.

The 25-meter, outdoor heated pool, located at 3975 28th Street, first closed after Governor Polis’s stay-at-home order extended, and the second time, when the safer-at-home guidance verbage shifted. To abide by CDC regulations as well as state ordinance, Elks Pool moves into the 2020 summer season with a focus on fitness and training only.

Swimmers can train and do laps in their own lanes upon reservation. Image: Boulder Elks.

This means you can reserve one of its six lanes for an 80-minute blocks at a cost of $20. This reservation can also include one other member of the family that has quarantined together through Covid-19, such as spouses or siblings.

Typically, Elks Pool held a daily admission charge of $8 per person, but in light of the new Covid reality, the only way for it to continue operating entailed scaling back its occupancy and leading with a reservation-block model.

“At the moment, we’re booked solid until June 27,” Elks Pool manager Rob Reynard tells BLDRfly. “However, we are planning to introduce a new schedule and calendar later this week which will have additional programming and hours.”

This means that if you weren’t able to get a June reservation, you still can. These extended hours will begin at 5:20 a.m. with reservation blocks running until 11:00PM. Currently, the pool operates from 5:20AM until 4:00PM. However, keep your eyes peeled and act fast because both times the pool reopened, reservations booked out in about three hours.

The pool also offers lap packages, as well as packages for professional athletes, and an hour every Sunday from 6:30AM to 7:30AM for Frontliners to swim for free.

“The Elks has been here a long time,” says Rob. “It’s the only step we could take so that the Elks lodge has life in the future.”

Boulder Elks Pool in pre-Covid-19 days. Image: Boulder Families.

City-managed pools + Spruce Pool may reopen end-of-week

While the City of Boulder has five public pools that its Parks and Recreation Department maintains, currently, under Colorado’s “Safer at Home” guidance, city pools must follow the same guidelines as Elks Pool in regard to operating for personal training purposes only.

Spruce Pool — 2101 Spruce Street

Scott Carpenter Pool — 1505 30th Street (under construction)

East Boulder Community Center — 5660 Sioux Drive

North Boulder Recreational Center — 3170 Broadway Street

South Boulder Recreational Center — 1360 Gillaspie Drive

“However,” says Denise White, Boulder Parks and Rec spokeswoman, “we anticipate an update from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to provide new pool operating guidance for other activities soon. We hope this information will allow us to open Spruce Pool for limited service, maybe as early as end of this week.”

With the significant impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had the City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department’s resources, including budget and staffing, Denise tells us that all of the public pool reopen plans will roll out small and grow accordingly.

“For outdoor pools, this could look like limited hours, reserved lane usage only, and limiting pool capacity,” says Denise. “There will also be new protocol for pool visitors such as being required to wear a face covering when not in the pool.”

Once permitted, city intends to begin with Spruce Pool, as Scott Carpenter Pool remains under construction. The Parks and Rec Department has also explored opening Recreation Center pools at its three recreation centers: North Boulder Recreation Center, South Boulder Recreation Center, and East Boulder Community Center, which currently serves Boulder as a Covid-19 Recovery Center.

For up-to-date information on what’s closed, open with limitations, open, and protocols, residents can check

Boulder Reservoir

Another hot spot for Boulderites to play since 1954, the 700-acre Boulder Reservoir, sits at 5565 51st Street in the northern part of Boulder where it stores water for the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District and the City of Boulder.

Just today the reservoir opened up to passive recreation, including walking, running, and cycling, adding to its limited-use repertoire this summer.

The multi-use recreation and water-storage facility first reopened fully on May 6 (excluding swimming), but due to a city-wide order to close all parks and creek bed north of the Boulder Creek Path from the park’s eastern end to the city’s western line, Boulder Res issued an emergency closure on May 20, Boulder Res facility manager Stacy Cole tells BLDRfly.

The closures came as a result of social distancing disregard at Eben G Fine Park, and resulted the reservoir having to shut down all uses except for restrictive access to boating only.

Currently, the Reservoir’s Covid-19-friendly uses include boating and small watercraft for permit holders, as well as existing reservations at Rocky Mountain Paddleboard, an independently owned company that offers rentals and water-space bookings in Boulder, Longmont and Denver.

“With today as our first day open to passive recreation,” says Stacy, “we’re basically monitoring what people are doing and what’s going on before making any other decisions.”

Boulder Reservoir will not permit any reservoir swimming and has shut its South shore to all recreational activity, with beaches, lawns and picnic areas closed. However, the North Shore still remains open for walking, running and cycling.

Stay tuned as we keep track of pool reopenings and update you with more information.

Header Image: Boulder Reservoir. Photo: Stacy Cole.