The Spring Brook and Goshawk loops are the best of the trail system south of Boulder: decent-but-hike-able climbs, flowing descents, enough technicality to keep you focused, and enough scenery to heal your spirit. There is often wildlife and always wildflowers to see.
The Dowdy Doudy Draw
and Springbrook sections are open to mountain bikes, but the Goshawk Ridge
part is not. Connections to Flatirons Vista North
and Fowler Trail
as well as the South Mesa Trail
connections across the street allow you to create any number of cool routes through the south Boulder foothills and plains.
This is a fee use area. People from outside Boulder County should use the self-service fee stations at the trailhead. This is, in season, active rangeland and you may encounter cattle. Leave gates either open or closed as you find them. Watch for mountain bikes which are active on some portions of this route.
The route starts from the Dowdy Draw trailhead with 0.5 miles of wide gravel up to the restroom area. Continue south for a mile of ascending singletrack (watch for descending mountain bikes!) to the obvious trail junction. Turn right (west) from the Doudy Draw
trail for a 0.3 mile connection to the bottom end of the Springbrook loop.
Option time! Going left on the Spring Brook Loop South
is a gradual climb up 1.4 miles of forested singletrack. Turning right on Spring Brook Loop North
is a mile of gradual climb through view-ridden prairie and forest. At the top end of the loop, climb a short hill up to the dirt Denver Waterboard Road.
Option time #2! Hikeing north (right) along the road is an easy descent along the east edge of the hogback. Look for fossilized ripple marks on the wall to your left. Proceed through an old railway cut with views of Eldorado Canyon and keep going up the road as it makes a big switchback to the west. At a signed junction, switch to singletrack for a climb through forests and then a large meadow to the top of the loop. The descent from the top of Goshawk Ridge
is a wonderfully flowing bit of singletrack forest ending at a bridge across the canal and back to Denver Waterboard Road. Cross the road back to Springbrook and hike whichever half of the loop you didn't ascend.
If you hike the Goshawk Ridge
clockwise instead, cross the bridge first and puff your way up 0.9 miles of wooded ascent through a short swale and some nice switchbacks. Bomb down the grassy meadow trying not to be distracted by the views of Eldorado Canyon and make your way back to the loop junction on the Denver Waterboard Road.
Once you've finished both Springbrook and Goshawk loops, hike the connector back to the Dowdy Draw trail and a final 1.5 miles back to the trailhead. Eight miles and about 1,100 feet of climbing.