Hiking Through Boulder Valley Ranch

November 9, 2017

Trail(s): Degge Trail to Hidden Valley Trail to Mesa Reservoir to Eagle Trail to Sage Trail to Cobalt Trail to Hidden Valley to Degge
Location: Boulder Valley Ranch
Fees: Free
Website: https://bouldercolorado.gov/osmp/boulder-valley-ranch-trailhead
Distance: 5.6 miles

On Thursdays, I aim for local hikes.  Today I picked one a mile north of Boulder at Boulder Valley Ranch.  We started at the Foothills Trailhead which actually shows up on Google Maps.

From the parking area, we walked up the road just briefly to find Degge Trailhead on the right hand side.  It had snowed on Tuesday (in Denver just a trace), but apparently in Boulder enough to melt and create a mud pit.  Within minutes, mud was caked to our trail shoes as we passed through a prairie dog colony.

After 0.4 miles on Degge Trail, we turned right onto Hidden Valley and wandered through the field toward a shooting range where we could hear one or two people practicing.  The trail offered a lovely view of the foothills behind us lightly dusted in snow.

After a mile in heavily weighted shoes, we reached Mesa Reservoir, where we followed the raised trail named for the body of water around its east side.  The reservoir was somewhat dry, but seemed like a nice habitat for birds.

From the reservoir, we left the “hiking only trails”, and joined the multi-use trails.  With a right turn on Eagle Trail, we descended a slick hill to a much wider, sun-dried path.  We followed Eagle Trail for 1.4 miles past another pond.  The tranquil water reflected images on its glass-like surface.

Soon we reached Sage Trail where we looped back toward our starting point.  More prairie dogs sure tempted Utani.  She was definitely leash bound today.  We followed Sage Trail for 1.1 miles past a field of cattails and a herd of cattle before we reached another parking area.

We passed through the parking area and joined Cobalt Trail, another “hiker only” option.  The trail passed beneath a 1930’s smelter before it reconnected with Hidden Valley Trail and Degge Trail.  Fortunately I had printed a map of the trail system, and Tanya took the time to navigate, as otherwise, I’m not sure how many small circles we would have made.

While the beginning of the hike didn’t seem terribly promising as we trudged through mud, as we carried on light snow and the sunny weather provided for a picturesque local excursion.  After connecting all the dots on the map, we ended up hiking a 5.6 mile loop before we stopped for some coffee!  ETB


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