Lyons, Colorado: A Thriving Town Rich in History and Nature


Lyons, Colorado, a small town located in Boulder County with a population of just over 2,000, has a rich history dating back to the late 19th century. Founded in 1881 by Edward S. Lyon, the town has survived floods, fires, and economic challenges to become a thriving community known for its natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and vibrant arts scene.


  • Lyons is known as the "Double Gateway to the Rockies" due to its location at the confluence of the North and South St. Vrain Canyons.
  • The town has a strong connection to its history, with several well-preserved buildings and a museum showcasing its past.
  • Lyons is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a variety of activities such as hiking, fishing, and rock climbing.

Lyons, Colorado, a quaint town at the foot of the Rockies, often called the “Gateway to the Rockies,” is about 20 miles north of Boulder. If you plan to visit Lyons, you can look forward to its lively music scene, outdoor events, and outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking along the scenic St. Vrain River. The town exudes an artistic flair with its local artists, craft breweries, and eclectic shops, showcasing its vibrant character.


The Lyons Redstone Museum, housed in the town’s original one-room schoolhouse built in 1881, offers visitors a glimpse into the town’s past. The museum features exhibits on the town’s founders, its early days as a quarrying and agricultural community, and its growth over the years.

One of the most significant events in Lyons’ recent history was the devastating flood of 2013. The town was hit by a 1,000-year rain event, causing the St. Vrain River to reach a record flow of 24,000 cubic feet per second – nearly 500 times its normal volume. The flood caused extensive damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure, but the community rallied together to rebuild and recover.

Outdoor Recreation

Lyons is a gateway to the Rocky Mountain National Park, offering access to a wide range of outdoor activities. The town is situated at the confluence of the North and South St. Vrain Canyons, which provide opportunities for hiking, fishing, rock climbing, and more.

  • Hiking: The area around Lyons features numerous hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging backcountry treks. Some popular trails include the Heil Valley Ranch Trail, the Hall Ranch Trail, and the Button Rock Preserve Trail.
  • Fishing: The St. Vrain River and its tributaries are known for their excellent fly fishing, with rainbow, brown, and brook trout being the most common catches.
  • Rock Climbing: Lyons is a popular destination for rock climbers, with several world-class climbing areas nearby, such as Boulder Canyon and the Flatirons.

Arts and Culture

Lyons has a thriving arts scene, with several galleries, studios, and performance venues showcasing the work of local artists and musicians. The town hosts several annual events celebrating its creative community, including the Lyons Arts and Humanities Commission’s Art Walk and the Lyons Folk Festival.

Main Street houses many unique shops, making this a fun way to spend a leisurely day when you visit Lyons.

The Lyons Redstone Museum also plays a role in preserving and promoting the town’s cultural heritage, hosting exhibits and events throughout the year.

Recent Developments

In recent years, Lyons has faced challenges related to its infrastructure and transportation. In June 2023, a rockslide forced the closure of Colorado Highway 7 between Lyons and Allenspark for nearly two weeks. The Colorado Department of Transportation worked to clear the debris and stabilize the rock face, reopening the highway on June 26.

The town has also been working to improve its resilience to natural disasters in the wake of the 2013 flood. Efforts have included upgrading infrastructure, developing emergency response plans, and working with state and federal agencies to secure funding for mitigation projects.


What is there to do in Lyons, Colorado?

Lyons is one of the best places for outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, and rock climbing. The town also has a vibrant arts scene, with galleries, studios, and performance venues showcasing the work of local artists and musicians.

How do I get to Lyons, Colorado?

Lyons is located approximately 20 miles north of Boulder and 50 miles northwest of Denver. The town can be reached via Colorado Highway 66 from Longmont or Colorado Highway 7 from Estes Park.

What is the population of Lyons, Colorado?

As of the 2020 census, the population of Lyons was 2,209.

When was Lyons, Colorado, founded?

Lyons was founded in 1881 by Edward S. Lyon, who established a sandstone quarry in the area.

What is the elevation of Lyons, Colorado?

The elevation of Lyons is approximately 5,374 feet (1,638 meters) above sea level.


About the author

Shannon Persad

As a seasoned journalist and Colorado native, I bring a deep-rooted connection and comprehensive understanding of Colorado to my work at My appreciation for the state’s rich history, vibrant culture, and pressing environmental issues drives my commitment to exploring its evolving landscape—from the bustling urban centers to the tranquil mountain towns.