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Boulder Valley Ranch Loop

Easy
 4.0 (11) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

This scenic loop through rolling farmland is a highlight of the Boulder Valley Ranch area.


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Map Key

2.9

Miles

4.6

KM

Loop

5,348' 1,630 m

High

5,208' 1,587 m

Low

170' 52 m

Up

166' 51 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

7%

Max Grade (4°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Off-leash dogs must be under voice and sight control.

Overview

This is a pleasant loop, suitable for people of most fitness levels. Because it is so exposed to the sun, it dries out quickly after snowstorms making it a favorite wintertime destination for hikers and runners. Expect to share this popular trail with mountain bikers, equestrians and off-leash dogs.

Need to Know

Very little shade on this route, can get very hot at mid-day.

Description

This loop starts at the Boulder Valley Ranch Trailhead off Longhorn Road. On the north side of the parking lot, open a gate and head right (northeast) on the Sage Trail. Views of the Boulder County foothills open up. The trail meanders through a few shallow ravines and next to a private working ranch. This is a chance to see barns, stables and friendly horses up close. Climb up a short incline and views of the flatirons and a small pond are revealed. After the junction with the North Rim Trail, continue along through open, grassy pastures inhabited by prairie dogs. In the distance to the east you'll see Boulder Reservoir and Sixmile Reservoir. The Sage Trail ends at a gate which is its junction with the Eagle Trail.

From here, take the Eagle Trail down a steep, somewhat eroded slope towards a small dammed pond. The trail passes directly over the dam where you'll often see waterfowl paddling between the marshy cattails. Begin the mile long, gentle climb through fields of tall grass, pausing to look back for more reservoir views. After some westward travel through an area with scattered tall cottonwoods, you'll come to the intersection of the Eagle Trail and the Sage Trail. Luckily, this loop does not climb up the steep mesa, instead, follow the Sage Trail west on level ground next to the farmer's irrigation ditch (built in 1862). This is the only shade in the whole area, so enjoy it! The trail is easy going, flat and wide with a smooth dirt surface. The loop ends back at the Boulder Valley Ranch Trailhead parking area.

Flora & Fauna

Eagles, northern harriers, red-tailed hawks, owls, deer, coyotes, prairie dogs, rattlesnakes, bull snakes. Yucca, cottonwoods.

History & Background

The 1990 Olde Stage wildfire burned this area. The Boulder Valley Ranch is a currently working and historic ranch.

Contacts

Shared By:

Megan W

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 11 votes

#2608

Overall
  4.0 from 11 votes
5 Star
36%
4 Star
36%
3 Star
18%
2 Star
9%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#359

in Colorado

#2,608

Overall
167 Views Last Month
5,809 Since Apr 30, 2015
Easy

83%
8%
8%
0%
0%
0%

Photos

Cattails by Pond #1
Apr 30, 2015 near Gunbarrel, CO
Be courteous to all users of Boulder Valley Ranch!
Apr 30, 2015 near Gunbarrel, CO
Well behaved horses on the Sage Trail
Apr 30, 2015 near Boulder, CO
Prairie dogs are ubiquitous around here
Apr 30, 2015 near Gunbarrel, CO
Pretty much the only shade you'll find on the Eagle Trail
Apr 30, 2015 near Gunbarrel, CO
Heading west on the Sage Trail
Apr 30, 2015 near Boulder, CO

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 33 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Jul 15, 2020
lindsey n.
3.1mi
May 22, 2020
Nick Barendregt
Nice short hike to kill some time in Boulder. Not much traffic on the trail made it more enjoyable. 2.8mi — 0h 47m
Jun 11, 2019
Beth West
Pack approx 11# — 11h 15m
Apr 21, 2019
Gina G
Dec 1, 2017
Charlotte Crawford
Sep 29, 2017
Saranraj Paranjothi
Nov 25, 2016
Juhi Huda