Boulder County Parks are open sunrise (approximately 6 a.m.) to sunset (approximately 8 p.m.)
There are over 100 miles of trail to explore on open space property.
Here are some of its most popular hiking trails.
Note, Heil Valley Ranch and Hall Ranch are the closest ones to the town of Lyons, off Highway 7. And, Rabbit Mountain which is off Highway 36.
Heil & Hall Ranches
Conditions in the Parks due to the October 2021 wildfires will affect access to Trails listed in the “Easy/Moderate/Difficult” List below.
Heil Valley Ranch was severely affected by the Cal-Wood Fire and the south side of the park will be closed through at least Sept. 30. Portions of the north side of the park are open to on-trail use if not otherwise closed due to muddy conditions and can be accessed from the Picture Rock Trailhead near Lyons. Please be respectful of the closed areas due to safety hazards
These HEIL VALLEY RANCH trails are currently closed till approximately September 30, 2021:
Lichen Loop (due to hazardous conditions)
Overland Loop (due to hazardous conditions)
Ponderosa Loop (due to hazardous conditions)
Wapiti Trail (due to hazardous conditions)
Wild Turkey Trail (due to hazardous conditions)
Schoolhouse Loop (due to hazardous conditions)
Grindstone Quarry Trail (due to hazardous conditions)
===These trails are currently open:=== Picture Rock Trail
4/25 Nelson Loop and Nighthawk Trails are open.
8/3 – Equestrian use is not recommended on the Bitterbrush Trail due to inadequate footing on exposed rocks. Please use the Nighthawk Trail.
Boulder County Parks & Open Spaces statement:
The Lyons Recorder asked staff at Boulder County Parks & Open Space for clarification as to how a person could verify which trails were open and which were closed; as well as what can be expected in the near future. Here is their statement 8/4/21:
You can count on boco.org/trails to be up to date on trail status, except for a one- or two-hour buffer between when a ranger physically closes a trail for muddy conditions and when they are able to notify the communications staff. We currently have no muddy trail closures in place. The Picture Rock trail at Heil Valley Ranch is open, as is all of Hall Ranch.
For our longer-term closures at Heil Valley Ranch due to recovery from the Cal-Wood Fire, we are on track to re-open the Wild Turkey and Ponderosa Loop trails this Saturday, Aug. 6, when the helicopters finish their mulching work (barring any unforeseen circumstances). The south side of Heil is scheduled to re-open after monsoon season ends on Sept. 30, but some sections may need to remain closed for rehabilitation (roads, bridges, trailhead amenities).
Bald Mountain Scenic Area
At Bald Mountain Scenic Area, a one mile Pines-to-Peak Loop (190′ elevation gain) takes you to the summit where you can see views of the Continental Divide and eastern plains.
Carolyn Holmberg Preserve at Rock Creek Farm
The 1.5-mile Mary Miller Trail and the 1.3-mile Cradleboard Trail at the Carolyn Holmberg Preserve at Rock Creek Farm take you to Stearns Lake and alongside active agricultural land.
Heil Valley Ranch *
The 1.3-mile Lichen Loop pedestrian-only trail (250′ elevation gain) at Heil Valley Ranch offers views of meadow and forest, and a variety of trees and plants along the way.
The 3.2-mile Canyon Loop (410′ elevation gain) at Betasso Preserve is popular because of the variety it offers – open land and forest, ponderosa pines and Douglas fir trees, squirrels and deer. This trail is closed to mountain biking on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The DeLonde Homestead Trail and the Blue Bird Loop (160′ elevation gain) at Caribou Ranch in Nederland take you on a 4.5-mile round trip through the montane life zone. Closed April 1 to June 30 to protect spring wildlife activities.
Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain
The Eagle Wind Trail is a 3-mile loop (340′ elevation gain) at the Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain that has a 360-degree view of the foothills and neighboring agricultural lands.
For a glimpse of the valley below, take the 1-mile Little Thompson Overlook Trail (380′ elevation gain).
Moderate to Difficult Hikes/Trails
The Bitterbrush Trail (3.5 miles one-way, 920′ elevation gain) and the Nelson Loop (2.3 miles, 320′ elevation gain) at Hall Ranch complete a 9.3-mile trek through wide-open meadows, cool forests, rocky trails and varied ecosystems.
The Nighthawk Trail (4.1 miles one-way, 1240′ elevation gain) is open to hikers and equestrians only.
Heil Valley Ranch *
The Wapiti Trail and Ponderosa Loop at Heil Valley Ranch complete a 7.6-mile round trip journey (830′ elevation gain) through pines and firs, with scenic views and signs of wildlife.
The Walker Ranch Loop takes you through a variety of ecosystems (7.6-miles round-trip, 890′ elevation gain). The diverse landscape at Walker Ranch and steep staircase conditions on the east leg of the loop make this trail a favorite and challenging route for many visitors.
Boulder County Park Rules & Regulations (click here for full details)
==DOGS: With the exception of Hall Ranch, Heil Valley Ranch, Caribou Ranch, and Dodd Lake, dogs are allowed.
==Swimming and wading are prohibited.
==Camping is prohibited in all Parks & Open Space areas.
==Mountain biking and horseback riding are allowed on officially designated trails.
==It is unlawful to take-off, land, or operate any unmanned aircraft system (drone) on Parks & Open Space areas.
Click – to check on Fire Restrictions unincorporated areas of western Boulder County