Boulder County Open Space
Nestled in the hills above Nederland is a true treasure, the Caribou Ranch Open Space recreational area. It is accessible to hikers, horseback riders and trail runners. Mountain biking is not allowed, which is nice for hikers. You needn’t worry about a cyclist zipping by. Alas, no dogs allowed either.
My wife and I visited the trail over the 4th of July. We had an amazing adventure and the photos are from our hike. I would describe the terrain as easy to moderate. It is mostly flat in nature, even when you are changing altitude. There is a spur hike I will describe that is very worthwhile. The views are stunning in the Caribou Ranch open space and the hike offers a great variety of scenery.
Caribou Ranch Open Space Services
There is a 25 car parking lot at Caribou Ranch with designated disabled spots. A restroom is onsite with His and Hers. There are a few picnic tables scattered about. Boulder County provides information including trail maps. The day we hiked we parked a short ways up the county road, which seemed okay.
Blue Bird Loop
Two trails plus a side excursion at this awesome hiking location. The 1.2 mile out and back DeLonde Trail goes from the parking lot at Caribou Ranch to the 1.8 mile Blue Bird Loop. Follow the loop and you will have an opportunity to hike into a historic mine complex and see a waterfall. The sign for the mine area says one tenth of a mile, but it certainly seemed like more than that.
The miner’s camp is worthwhile. An array of old buildings and aged tracks leading into a mine shaft. We grabbed some fun photographs in this area. We also relaxed near the river, an ideal spot to pull your shoes off and soak your toes. But use caution: the river runs incredibly fast at this location. There is a picnic table as well, so great place to plan for a snack. All in all, this was one of our favorite parts of our day in the Caribou Ranch open space park.
Beautiful Boulder Trail
You will experience a wide variety of gorgeous landscapes, endless vistas and ever changing trail. The initial hike is a winding path through light forest with peek-a-boo views. Then, the loop is around a gorgeous prairie with a beautiful red barn and old homestead. Along the backside, you’ll enter a pine tree forest with delicious scents of vanilla. There are several scenic vista areas and opportunities to get close to a raging river that we frequently heard but didn’t see from the trail.
Recent Caribou History
The open space area was created in a sale from the nearby Caribou Ranch Recording Studio. A wild variety of famous musicians recorded music at the studio. Security on horseback fiercely protected the privacy of the rock stars who came from all over to record amazing records. Boulder secured the open space and the recording studio guests were still able to access the trails. It was a win for everyone. Most recently, the studio fell out of popularity and the nearby property was sold for a record thirty two million dollars. Read more here.