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Caribou Ranch

Easy/Intermediate
 4.1 (22) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Come to Caribou Ranch to experience beautiful wildflower meadows, the DeLonde Homestead, and the famous Blue Bird Mine.


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Map Key

4.8

Miles

7.7

KM

Loop

8,755' 2,669 m

High

8,533' 2,601 m

Low

353' 108 m

Up

365' 111 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

11%

Max Grade (6°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Kids will love exploring the DeLonde Homestead and the Blue Bird Mine along this loop. Informative signs help them imagine what it was like to be a Colorado homesteader during the 19th Century.

This area is closed in spring (usually until July 1) for elk calving.

Overview

This is a pleasant hike for a relatively easy day. Along this hike, you'll be treated to mellow terrain and great scenery as you make your way onto the original Switzerland Trail grade and past the old DeLonde Homestead and Blue Bird Mine.

Need to Know

There are only a few spots that require attention for foot placement.

Description

Park at the Caribou Ranch Trailhead, located on CR 126 a few miles north of Nederland (take a sharp left after reaching the bottom of a steep hill to find the road). From the trailhead, follow DeLonde Trail through a pine forest for about 0.75 miles until reaching the first meadow. Continue on the singletrack to a trail junction with a doubletrack that marks the original narrow-gauge railway grade for the Switzerland Trail. Take a right. At the junction with Blue Bird Loop, you can go either way since the trail creates a nice 2-mile loop of double and singletrack that winds through open meadow and dense aspen-and-coniferous forest on the way to the DeLonde Homestead and Blue Bird Mine Access Trail. Upon reaching the Access Trail, take it north to experience the famous Blue Bird Mine.

After returning to the Blue Bird Loop and reaching the junction with the DeLonde Trail, simply follow it back the way you came to the parking area.

This system can easily be connected with several more miles of trails at the Mud Lake Open Space by using the Caribou Ranch Link.

Flora & Fauna

The trail leads through Ponderosa pine into open meadows that have abundant wildflowers.
The meadows are surrounded with aspen that allow for great fall color.

Contacts

Shared By:

John Scalese with improvements by Nick Wilder

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 22 votes

#643

Overall
  4.1 from 22 votes
5 Star
27%
4 Star
59%
3 Star
14%
2 Star
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1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#125

in Colorado

#643

Overall
572 Views Last Month
8,788 Since Oct 23, 2015
Easy/Intermediate

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Photos

Fantastic fall colors so close to Boulder.
Sep 24, 2016 near Nederland, CO
Sweeping meadows and aspens along historic grounds.
Sep 24, 2016 near Nederland, CO
The fall brings out nice colors in and around the large meadow.
Oct 23, 2015 near Nederland, CO

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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Check-Ins

Oct 13, 2019
Stephen Pack
Oct 4, 2019
Luke Farlow
12h 05m
Sep 28, 2019
Jeff Saxsma
Walked to Homestead and enjoyed changing Aspens along the route 3mi
Sep 22, 2019
Richard Casey
Aug 24, 2019
Kat W
4.8mi — 2h 00m
Mar 6, 2019
Che Hiker
Feb 9, 2019
Kimberly Taylor
w/ kemar 5.1mi
Jan 2, 2019
Jeff Dowdy
Nice easy hike down to DeLonde Homestead. Some snow cover but not enough for snowshoeing. A few cross country skiing groups around though. overall… 2.8mi