The small town of Nederland (called Ned around these parts) sits west of Boulder in a beautiful valley that was carved by a glacier thousands of years ago. The first inhabitants of the area were Ute Indians who began trading with European settlers in the early 1800’s, establishing the town as a trading post. Nederland was first called Dayton, then Brownsville, then Middle Boulder, until the silver-rich mine (Caribou MIne) in the town was sold to Mining Company Nederland from Holland. Ned became a mountain ghost town when the Caribou mines declined. Ned’s population grew in the 1960’s when “hippies” brought new life to the sleepy valley. Now Ned’s population is 1,361 and still growing.
Ned is a true mountain town and it sits at an elevation of 8320 ft. That being said, hiking biking, exploring, and traipsing around Rocky Mountain National Park and the Indian Peaks Wilderness are the local pass times.
The best hikes begin at the Hesse Trailhead, Brainard Lake, and Fourth of July Trailhead. From those trailheads, you can get onto the Continental Divide (and feel like you’re on top of the world), or take an easy stroll around beautiful mountain lakes and enjoy the occasional deer, marmot, or beaver.
If the hiking and biking isn’t your thing, check out the Carousel of Happiness– an adorable newly brought to life carousel of 56 whimsical character animals. Perfect for families and only 1 dollar a ride. Open 10a-8p, 7 days/ week.
To grab a bite, head over to Katmandu Restaurant, for authentic Nepali and Indian Cuisine. This food is the talk of the town. Many people from Boulder visit Ned just to grab lunch or dinner here.
When we made it up to Ned, the first thing we did was visit the Savory Cafe. Can’t forget those delicious homemade fries and turkey subs. Try this place out! Friendly atmosphere and seriously yummy.
If you happen to be in Boulder the last weekend of August, check out NedFest
(The Nederland Music & Arts Festival). NedFest is a three-day outdoor music and arts festival on the shores of the Barker reservoir. Dance your buns off with the most fun group of people you’ll ever be with.
Ned is maybe most famous for Frozen Dead Guy Days. This peculiar festival started in 2002 and has a very interesting and unique story. Trygve Bauge took Bredo Morstøl’s (his grandfather) corpse, preserved on dry ice and in liquid nitrogen, from Norway to Nederland. Trygve and his mother, Aud, attemped to preserve the body cryogenically frozen in a shack behind their house. When this was discovered, the town of Nederland added a new provision to its Municipal Code that outlaws all preservation of “whole or any part of a person, body or carcass.” Despite this law, Bredo’s body remained frozen due to the publicity that had arisen. Watch this video to get a sense of how the town of Nederland celebrates the frozen dead guy every March 4-6th.
Suffice it to say, for such a small town, Nederland has a lot going on!
For more info on the upcoming NedFest, visit:
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