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Hall Ranch

 182 votes

Length

11.8 Miles 18.9 Kilometers


95%

Singletrack

Elevation

1,750' 534 m

Ascent

-1,750' -534 m

Descent

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

23%

Max Grade (13°)

6,679' 2,036 m

High

5,464' 1,665 m

Low

Conditions


All Clear 3 days ago
Dry History

Getting forecast...

A favorite for Boulder area riders - scenery, singletrack, technical sections... it's got it all!

Mike Ahnemann

Overview

Hall Ranch has something for just about everyone. The most commonly ridden trail (Bitterbrush) has a challenging technical Rock Garden that only fit expert riders can clean bottom to top. The Nelson Loop up top has some beautiful views of the Arapahoe range and Longs Peak in addition to beautiful, flowy singletrack. And intermediate riders can find some suitable terrain by starting on the Antelope Trail, that also leads to the Nelson trail, but bypasses the technical rock garden on Bitterbrush.

This trail is one of the most popular trails within 40 minutes of Longmont/Boulder, which means it can get very crowded, especially on weekends. There can also be significant horseback traffic, so be prepared for frequent stops along the descent as you yield to uphill riders, horses, and hikers. It can be frustrating because the descents are so much fun - but be courteous... it's a challenging trail for horses, and they can be easily spooked.
Dogs: No Dogs

Need to Know

Alternative ride options:

You can also ride a short section of road to link up with Picture Rock trail and Heil Ranch for a big day in the saddle.

Or you might choose to relax after your ride by hanging out in the park by the creek in Lyons and taking a dip to cool off, or by tossing back a pint or two at the popular Oskar Blues brewery in town.

Description

The most common way to ride the trails at Hall is to start from the Bitterbrush trailhead, so that's how we've mapped it for this description. There are two parking lots at this trailhead, and toilets, so most people (including the horseback riders) start here. However, this is also the most difficult way to ride Hall. Intermediate and beginner riders might choose to start from the smaller trailhead to ride up the Antelope Trail.

Starting on Bitterbrush - Lower Section, the singletrack begins right at the end of the upper parking lot. There's a nice sign there to help you get your bearings. Climbing starts almost immediately, but the trail starts off mostly smooth. Before long, you'll start riding up and over some small rocks, and the trail will get rockier as you climb.

About 3/4 of a mile in, the well-known rock garden starts. From here, it's a steep climb with frequent big technical moves over rock formations. You won't need to be a trials rider to clean this section, but you'll need to be a skilled mountain biker with enough fitness to keep your heart from jumping out of your chest.

There's a bench at the top of this section with a nice view - a perfect spot for a quick snack if you need it. Otherwise, continue down a short descent and merge onto the singletrack (Bitterbrush - Upper Section) coming up from the Antelope Trail. Settle in for a mostly grandual and smooth climb for about a mile and a half up to the Nelson Loop.

The Nelson Loop can be ridden either direction, although clockwise seems to be the most common. You'll climb further to the highpoint at about 6700' where there's a hiker's only trail heading back down to the trailhead and another bench to rest on. Here you'll be rewarded with 360 degree views. Notably, you'll see Mt. Meeker and Longs Peak. The rest of the loop from this point is a fantastic descent.

Now it's downhill almost the entire way back down to where you merged onto the Antelope Trail. You can either merge back onto Bitterbrush - Lower Section and re-trace your steps, or add a quick out and back by continuing on the Antelope Trail down to its start and riding back up to the Bitterbrush junction. Antelope is a mostly smooth, intermediate trail - it's a fun detour if you've got the energy.

Once you start heading back down Bitterbrush - Lower Section, you'll bounce your way back down through the Rock Garden, and it's almost all downhill from here back to your car.

History & Background

From multiple points along the Nelson Loop, you'll see small spur trails leading down to the what once was the historic Nelson Ranch. You can ride/walk right down to the remains of a home and a grain silo.

More than 20 different families lived and operated businesses in the area that we now call Hall Ranch. Some prospected, some farmed, and some quarried sandstone. In the mid-1940s, Hallyn and June Hall began ranching on what became known as the Hall Ranch. For more than 50 years, this property was a working foothills ranch. The Hall family expanded their land ownership and grazed livestock throughout the property. They also operated other businesses including logging and rock quarrying.

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Check-Ins

Apr 17, 2018
Alexander Thomas
Nelson loop was amazing. The lower section of bitterbush coming from the trailhead was super technical with large rock formations, fun downhill though 11.8mi
Apr 15, 2018
Nathan Frakes
11.8mi
Mar 22, 2018
Zoë Taylor
Mar 18, 2018
Alex Scott
Mar 11, 2018
dave van tol
Parked in Lyons, rode up Antelope, 2 laps around the loop, back down Bitterbrush. Beautiful ride.
Mar 7, 2018
Dax Burgos
3.9mi
Mar 4, 2018
Dax Burgos
3.9mi
Mar 2, 2018
Elena Diaz
Was able to ride pass the rock garden to the 1st bench. Closed on top: extremely muddy!

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Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 182 votes

#1

in Hall Ranch

#31

Overall
  4.4 from 182 votes
5 Star
48%
4 Star
45%
3 Star
7%
2 Star
1%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#1

in Hall Ranch

#13

in Colorado

#31

Overall
1,449 Views Last Month
44,979 Since Nov 19, 2012
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

0%
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12%
67%
20%
1%

Photos


 
Yep, it's a Black Diamond all right. We also saw TWO Diamondbacks, intertwined, doing a mating dance in the middle of the trail Saturday. Pretty cool. Jul 21, 2015
Incredible stuff. I'll be back for sure. Jul 25, 2015
This is a regular trail for me and my riding buddies. Always a good time and probably one of the best and flowiest trails in Northern Colorado. May 10, 2017

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