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Boulder, CO: Caribou Ranch Loop

Nestled between Nederland and the Indian Peaks Wilderness area, this 4.3-mile lollipop trail reveals mountain vistas en route to a 19th-century homestead.

Rating

Take a walk through history on this 4.3-mile lasso loop that tours Caribou Ranch, home to the 19th-century Blue Bird Mine and the site of a ’70s-era recording studio that brought Elton John to town. The well-marked, easy-going trail makes for scenic hiking year-round, and if you visit during the week, you may have the place to yourself.
From the large parking area, follow the DeLonde Trail through a forest of ponderosa pines and intermittent aspen groves. After half a mile, the trail opens up, offering beautiful views of the surrounding mountains before merging onto old railroad grade. At mile 1.2, bear right at the trail fork for a tour of the renovated DeLonde Homestead. Once you’ve checked out the house, barn, and creek-side overlook, hop on the Blue Bird Loop, which travels north past a spur trail to the Blue Bird Mine. After 2.3 miles, the path merges back onto railroad grade and reconnects with the DeLonde Trail for the return trip to the trailhead.
Note: Caribou Ranch is closed April 1 through June 30 to protect migratory birds and elk calving and rearing.
-Mapped by Sarah Curry, Ben Fullerton, and Kim Phillips

To Trailhead

Take CO 119 west to Nederland, CO. At the traffic circle, exit onto W. 2nd St./CO 72 (Peak to Peak Scenic Byway). In 2 miles, turn left on CR 126. In 0.9 mile, turn right into parking area.

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