Off-leash dogs must be under voice and sight control.
This is a pleasant loop, suitable for people of most fitness levels. Because it is so exposed to the sun, it dries out quickly after snowstorms making it a favorite wintertime destination for hikers and runners. Expect to share this popular trail with mountain bikers, equestrians and off-leash dogs.
Features: Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Need To Know
Very little shade on this route, can get very hot at mid-day.
Generally good surface, but bike and horse traffic can cause ruts especially after rain. There are usually smoother parts near the edges.
This loop starts at the Boulder Valley Ranch Trailhead off Longhorn Road. On the north side of the parking lot, open a gate and head right (northeast) on the Sage Trail
. Views of the Boulder County foothills open up. The trail meanders through a few shallow ravines and next to a private working ranch. This is a chance to see barns, stables and friendly horses up close. Climb up a short incline and views of the flatirons and a small pond are revealed. After the junction with the North Rim Trail
, continue along through open, grassy pastures inhabited by prairie dogs. In the distance to the east you'll see Boulder Reservoir and Sixmile Reservoir. The Sage Trail
ends at a gate which is its junction with the Eagle Trail
From here, take the Eagle Trail
down a steep, somewhat eroded slope towards a small dammed pond. The trail passes directly over the dam where you'll often see waterfowl paddling between the marshy cattails. Begin the mile long, gentle climb through fields of tall grass, pausing to look back for more reservoir views. After some westward travel through an area with scattered tall cottonwoods, you'll come to the intersection of the Eagle Trail
and the Sage Trail
. Luckily, this loop does not climb up the steep mesa, instead, follow the Sage Trail
west on level ground next to the farmer's irrigation ditch (built in 1862). This is the only shade in the whole area, so enjoy it! The trail is easy going, flat and wide with a smooth dirt surface. The loop ends back at the Boulder Valley Ranch Trailhead parking area.
Flora & Fauna
Eagles, northern harriers, red-tailed hawks, owls, deer, coyotes, prairie dogs, rattlesnakes, bull snakes. Yucca, cottonwoods.
History & Background
The 1990 Olde Stage wildfire burned this area. The Boulder Valley Ranch is a currently working and historic ranch.