Boulder Valley Ranch Loop

Boulder, Colorado 80309

Boulder Valley Ranch Loop

Boulder Valley Ranch Loop Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"When you think of Boulder, no doubt mountains spring to mind, but the fact of the matter is, the city lies mostly on the flats—flats that are every bit as beautiful as the highlands but in a very different way. Though civilization encroaches on portions of this hike, when you drop into the draw near the pond at the loop’s eastern end, you are embraced by unadulterated high prairie. The grasses wave gold or green, depending on the season, and are thick with wildflowers in late spring and early summer.

Birds dip to drink or swim at the pond, and the rounded summits of the foothills line the western horizon. With a bit of luck you will find yourself alone here, and with a bit of imagination, you can transport yourself back to a time when, rather than sprawling suburbia, this was all there was along Colorado’s Front Range. The trail described here links the Sage and Eagle Trails in a relatively flat, easy loop. The path follows a well-maintained roadbed that is used by the rancher who still runs livestock on the property. In addition to domestic animals and prairie dogs, migratory waterfowl and other birds, including raptors, frequent the property."

More Boulder Valley Ranch Loop Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Trail Runs: Denver, Boulder, & Colorado Springs (Falcon Guides)
Adam W. Chase, Nancy Hobbs, Peter Jones
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"As a loop, Boulder Valley Ranch can be run in either direction, but if you go counterclockwise you end up coasting down what seem like bigger hills in the clockwise direction. Either way, the small climbs are relatively gradual, with one exception. From the trailhead, head west on the Cobalt Trail, paralleling Longhorn Road, traversing grasslands as you climb gently past the intersection with Old Mill Trail a half-mile into the run. After just shy of a mile, you’ll top out on Cobalt Trail and pass through two cattle gates to reach Eagle Trail, on the other side of a dirt road."
Best Loop Hikes Colorado (The Mountaineers Books)
Steve Johnson & David Weinstein
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"This gentle and fun loop is located in the Boulder Valley Ranch open space north of town. Extremely popular among Boulder’s fittest, these trails are packed with runners, bikers, and horseback riders. This trail is perfect for a great trail run or an excuse to take lunch outdoors. Four different trails take us through prairie dog colonies, past a natural wetland, and offer some of the best views of Boulder in the area. The counterclockwise direction of the hike makes for a manageable ascent and a leisurely cruise on the return. It can get crowded here, though, so come out early."

Boulder Valley Ranch Loop Trip Reports

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Good, quick place to get to just outside of Boulder. Did this trail with surrounding trails combined so it made for a good long hike. Definitely easy with small up and downs and trails free of any boulders/stones. Completely exposed to sun so even at 9-11am it was quite warm. Good place for off-leash with the dog as there was foot/bike traffic but not an excessive amount. It is an area where the Boulder city green permit tag is supposed to be displayed with dog tags.

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Trail Information

Nearby City
100 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
Day hike
Best spring to fall
City of Boulder Open Space Department
Local Contacts
USGS Boulder; City of Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks Lands Trail Map
Local Maps

Trail Log