“Proverbially "Run with the Buffaloes" on this Boulder County and CU classic.”
— Tom Robson
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Made famous by Author Chris Lear's Running With the Buffaloes, "The Tank" is an iconic Front Range run. The run is so affectionately named due to the users ability to see a massive water tank from the start, and throughout most of the journey. The water tank also serves as the turnaround for this journey.
Although the view of the tank can serve as a good indicator of your progress, the constant mountain views are what truly set this run apart from others in the area.
Of course, this awesome run does have a few downsides... Due to the presence of clay in the soil, moisture can make for very slippery conditions. Worse yet, the clay will stick to your shoes like glue! Additionally, there is little to no respite from the sun on this wide open trail. Plan accordingly with sunscreen and water.
Starting from the Teller Farm - South trailhead, the Teller Lake section of the East Boulder Trail is a dirt and gravel trail. This flat and easy trail cuts through prairie and farmland. Be aware that this trail offers very little sun protection on hot days. Shade is limited to a few rows of cottonwoods, a row of lilacs along the east side of the trail, and a few scattered trees. On the bright side, because the trail is wide open, it does offer some amazing views of the Front Range peaks.
Once you've reached the Teller Farms - North trailhead, join the East Boulder - White Rocks
section as it runs west, then crosses Valmont Rd. The trail starts off as crusher fines and maintains a width of about 5 feet. About 50 feet down the trail, an 11% grade for 20 feet occurs. This section often gets washed out, creating some tricky little gullies.
After about 0.5 mile, the trail crosses over railroad tracks and turns into road base dirt/gravel. Maintaining a width of about 10 feet, the trail runs along a fenced-off private lake and wetland area. After crossing the bridge at 0.9 mile, the trail begins to open up into prairie land. At this point the trail is on a slight uphill grade. After another 0.25 mile it reaches the base of a hill with two cottonwood trees that provide shade on hot days.
Continue north as the trail winds its way up the hill. After a 90 degree right-hand turn, the trail swings back, headed north as it parallels W Phillips Rd. At approximately mile 1.75 the trail heads directly east, diverging from the road, contours slightly, then heads north as it drops into a small wash. Follow the general contours of the wash as the trail winds north, eventually meeting with East Boulder - Gunbarrel
Turn left onto East Boulder - Gunbarrel
, and head west, uphill to the famed tank. This section rolls through a grassland ecosystem and proves to have some of the best views of the front range, Longs Peak and the Continental Divide.
Once at the tank, head back the way you came!
Flora & Fauna
Bald eagles, Great Blue Herons, Canada geese and many other birds can be seen in the area. Deer are also in abundance. Horses, llamas, and prairie dogs can be seen along this trail.
This trail winds through lush farmland and a riparian area. This makes it conducive to diverse vegetation. Specifically, you're most likely to encounter cottonwood trees and lilacs.
History & Background
Teller Farm is a historic and presently working farm. Irrigation and farming practices have changed since Open Space acquired the land.