Heil Valley Ranch

Longmont, Colorado 80503

Heil Valley Ranch

Heil Valley Ranch Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Another gem in the Boulder Open Space collection of precious jewels, just south of the Hall Ranch Trail. Though shorter and less challenging than the Hall Ranch loop, this trip offers a variety of scenery, including snowcapped peaks, wildlife, and the unique geology of fault and fracture foothills zone with the sedimentary rock of the hogback and the lichen-covered boulders of the hills.

You also enjoy views of Hall Ranch and Saint Vrain Canyon on the northern corner of the loop. Heavy use and erosion have made this more challenging for mountain biking. The much rockier trails now require intermediate to advanced mountain biking skills."

More Heil Valley Ranch Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Mountain Biking Colorado (Falcon Guides)
Stephen Hlawaty
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"Heil Valley Ranch includes all the furnishings of a carefully constructed trail system. Its wide and smooth singletrack climbs moderately through ponderosa pine forests to incredible views of Longs Peak and Mount Meeker, as well as to an overlook of Hall Ranch and the ruddy sandstone hogbacks near Lyons. The ranch’s technically tame terrain makes it ideally suited for riders who haven’t yet mastered the big drops and rocky trails for which the Front Range is famous. More advanced riders will appreciate Heil Valley Ranch as a spinner’s playground, offering ample opportunities for spinning both up and down its smooth-running course."
60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Denver and Boulder (Menasha Ridge Press)
Kim Lipker
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"Heil Valley Ranch has three trails and is part of Boulder’s North Foothills Open Space. The longest trail—and the trail featured here—is the Wapiti Trail combined with the Ponderosa Loop. You’ll travel through stands of ponderosa pines and open meadows full of prairie grasses and seasonal wildflowers. Heil Valley Ranch is an important winter range for elk that migrate from Indian Peaks Wilderness— the only herd of elk along the Front Range that migrate from the Continental Divide to the Great Plains. At the turn of the 20th century, elk were eliminated from Boulder County, but they were reintroduced by 1917."
Hiking Colorado's Front Range (Falcon Guides)
Bob D Antonio
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"One of Boulder’s best hikes, this beautiful loop leads high into the foothills, passing through dense stands of ponderosa pines, open meadows with tall prairie grasses and spring wildflowers, and offers dramatic views north to Mount Meeker (13,911 feet) and Longs Peak (14,255 feet). From the trailhead/picnic area reach the kiosk and follow the sign for the Wapiti Trail. Go left up the short hill and reach a service road. Follow the road north, with excellent views to the north and east. At around the 0.5-mile mark you reach a gate and a spur of the Lichen Loop. Go left on the Wapiti Trail through an open meadow filled with prairie dog mounds. Cross over a bridge and switchback up to an open meadow with open views to the south. Tall prairie grasses are mixed with yuccas, paintbrushes, and cacti."
Run The Rockies: Classic Trail Runs in Colorado's Front Range (Colorado Mountain Club Press)
Steven Bragg
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"One of the finest trail runs near Boulder; due to the fact that it has been open to the public for fewer years than other trails, its running surface is in superb shape and is less eroded. Its distance from Boulder also makes it the perfect place for a quiet run as fewer runners are attracted to it. Grade: An average angle of ascent of five degrees with no especially steep sections. Though most people should be able to run the entire course without stopping, be sure to watch out for loose rocks, of which there are many."

Heil Valley Ranch Trip Reports

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Did not hike this trail--no dogs allowed was posted!!! Did look like a nice area, but couldn't take advantage of the trail because of the no dogs posting.
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Heil is a fave when I don't have time for RMNP. It's good in summer due to shade provided. Moderate. 3+30 to do the whole loop, which at it's farthest point, looks at Hall Ranch. I've seen bears twice here- once a mom and her cub- made me nervous, but if you stay on the trail you are fine. Lots of deer.
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This is a nice trail. The ascent is a steady climb with low to moderate tachnical spots. Good signage leads you directly to the trailhead, and there is ample parking. No dogs! Oh well. Beautiful view down valley at Bear Peak and the flatirons through the beginning, and then a long climb through the woods. The loop at the top is fun, and the view from the vantage point is spectacular, of course. Lots of small rocks scatter the descent and my arms were rocked by the end. Overall fun, quick, and relatively easy.
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We took two hardtails here, and were expecting a good climb up to the loop. It was tougher than we expected, sandy trail with loose football size rocks in places, decent long climb 30+ minutes to the loop. The loop was fantastic, with a stop for a rest at the scenic overlook. Had we planned our time better, we would have done another loop, but we headed down for a fun twisty bone loosening descent. Great stuff, for east coasters, a manageable lung heaver for those in okay shape. Took 2 hours, bring water and a munch.
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This trail kick my ass but it was a blast! Very rocky but not so much taht you couldn't ride over them. The ride down was fast and technical... a perfect way to end the day.
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This is a nice trail for a day hike. It took the two of us to complete it about 4 1/2 hours with minimal rest breaks. The first part of the trail is out in the open, so if it is sunny out it can get hot here. So bring plenty of water and perhaps a hat. After about 3/4 of a mile you enter trees and begin a steady climb up to the loop. We took the loop in a counter clockwise direction, this makes it easier to manage the rock field going down the steep hill vs up. There are several beautiful views of the front range and mountians from the loop. Have fun, we did.

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Trail Information

Nearby City
600 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
6,000 feet
Trailhead Elevation
Top Elevation
Hiking, Horseback Riding
Additional Use
Heil Valley Ranch, Boulder County Open Space
Local Contacts
Boulder County Open Space Heil Valley Ranch; Latitude 40° Boulder County Trails
Local Maps