West Magnolia Trails

Nederland, Colorado 80466

West Magnolia Trails

West Magnolia Trails Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This is a large network of easy trails in gently rolling terrain in an aspen, pine, fir, and spruce forest, with views of South Arapaho Peak, Bald, and Pomeroy Mountains, and the Eldora ski area.

The loops can be confusing, but it is difficult to get lost. They are well used by mountain bikers and have enough snow for skiing only after a major upslope storm. The area was recently thinned, leaving big clear-cut patches, but when you get into the trees, the hiking or biking can be delightful."

More West Magnolia Trails Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Guide to Northern Colorado Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails (FunTreks)
Charles A. Wells
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"The route described here starts at the lesser-used southern end and finishes at the popular West Magnolia recreation area. Here you can camp, hike, mountain bike and snowmobile. ATVs and dirt bikes are allowed on numbered forest roads only. Camping is free but you must camp in numbered sites. All sites are first come, first serve. Road 105 (the southern portion) passes through an historic mining area but much of the land is private. Road 105 passes within 100 feet of the impressive Lone Star Mine, where a significant portion of the structure remains with large pieces of mining equipment scattered on the ground. Champion Mill, with an incredibly intact 10-stamp press, is located within a short hike of F.S. 105; however, the mill is located on private property very close to a newly built home of the property owner. I spoke with him directly. He was very accommodating considering all the problems he’s had with trespassers. He shared with me horror stories about how he’s been shot at and how his property has been vandalized. Despite this situation, he’s still willing to let responsible people hike to the mill from the north side, provided they are quiet, courteous, leave the site exactly as found and don’t hold him responsible for injuries. Anyone making trouble could be charged with trespassing. Absolutely no motor bikes or ATVs are allowed on hiking trails. He asks, too, that you do not drive up the road to his house, which is clearly marked (see photo). Please note: Equipment from this site is scheduled to be removed and displayed at the Nederland Mining Museum soon. Go to our Web site at www.funtreks.com for latest status. Southern half of route is mildly steep and chewed up in a few places and 4-wheel drive may be necessary. Northern half is easier. West Magnolia Road is graded gravel."

West Magnolia Trails Trip Reports

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Drove the route from North to South and thought it was great. Only saw two dirt bikes once I got passed the initial camp sites and was happy my ML SUV was able to make it up and through some of the passes (did use off road mode and raised it). I do believe you need some decent ground clearance and as the other review mentions - going North to South requires a few steep climbs. And it may be that a 2 wheel drive may not make it up (although I am a novice and maybe they would). Spent the rest of the day in Nederland then drove back through Boulder.
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Fun, if short, trail that provides decent variety for all ages. There are more technical trails and more scenic trails nearby but West Magnolia is unique for the fact you it would fit comfortably into a full day of other activities.

For example, if you have passengers in your group that are less mobile (due to age or capabilities) you could stop by Moffat Tunnel in the morning (and before the parking area gets too full) then run West Magnolia—including the easy hike to Champion Mill—and be in Nederland or Boulder for lunch.

Or if your group is more able, start earlier, access one of the trails available via the East Portal Trailhead at Moffat Tunnel, eat lunch after or somewhere along West Magnolia, then still have the afternoon or evening free.

Aside from a few short rocky sections, the trail itself is mostly dirt and subject to erosion so don't let the low rating deceive you. The shaded sections of southern 1/2 of the trail seem slightly underrated and it's unclear when and what maintenance is conducted on that portion, unlike the northern portions (closer to Nederland) which are more heavily accessed for the camp sites there.

On that note, you will encounter traffic: often dirt bikes, ATVs, and side-by-sides traveling south in the morning from the nearest camping areas. There is camping not too far to the south so don't be surprised by four wheelers from either direction no matter which way you run the trail. Passing is never difficult, with wide points and pullouts fairly often.

I have only run the trail from south to north and I personally think this trail that would be the more interesting and easier to navigate as the more difficult sections are uphill above your hoodline. However, there's little reason you couldn't run north to south if that suited you.
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This trail is a lot rougher then I expected from the descriptions i have read. There are some nice smooth singletrack areas but there are also very rough technical areas, think going downhill through a curve, maneuvering over and around huge roots and rocks, or doing the same on a uphill bend.

Don't get me wrong there are some nice smooth sections, but don't expect to get to them without some serious legwork, though some of the views may make it worth it.

West Magnolia Trails Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
400 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
8,600 feet
Trailhead Elevation
Top Elevation
Additional Use
Boulder Ranger District, Roosevelt National Forest
Local Contacts
Latitude 40° Boulder-Nederland Trails
Local Maps

Trail Log