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Heil to Picture to Hall and Back

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 4.4 (26) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A fantastic way to link together the Heil and Hall ranch trail systems for one big ride.


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Map Key

33.1

Miles

53.3

KM

90%

Singletrack

6,805' 2,074 m

High

5,356' 1,632 m

Low

3,633' 1,107 m

Up

3,634' 1,108 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

23%

Max Grade (13°)

Dogs No Dogs

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

Overview

This is one of the best ways to link up Heil and Hall ranches for 3,800 feet of climbing over rugged singletrack and absolutely ripping descents. Combine two of the best trail systems north of Boulder for this great, longer ride.

Start at the Heil Ranch parking lot off of Lefthand Canyon Rd. It is also possible to start in the middle from Lyons or at the Picture Rock trailhead.

I really like riding all loops in a clockwise direction. Be sure, however, to ride up Antelope Trail and down Bitterbrush - Upper Section when doing the Hall Ranch section!

Need to Know

During July and Aug. start early and bring lots of water. This can be a really long, hot ride if caught in the blazing sun.

For a bail out option, start in Lyons.

Description

Classic start from Heil Ranch parking lot.

Here are the turn by turn directions. Further down are trail descriptions.

Basically, ride the Heil and Hall Loops in the clockwise directions but make sure to ride up Antelope Trail and down Bitterbrush - Upper Section when doing the Hall Ranch section!

Heil Ranch Section
1) Climb 2.57 miles up Wapiti Trail
2) Turn left onto Ponderosa Loop riding in a clockwise direction
3) At the overlook/bench, stay to the left to continue on Wild Turkey Trail
4) Head down Picture Rock trail for 5.5 miles

Picture Rock to Hall Ranch Connection
5) Turn right on the pavement (Red Gulch Rd)
6) Turn right on Old St Vrain Rd then another right onto 5th Ave and ride past the town of Lyons
7) Turn left onto Apple Valley Rd just before the bridge
8) Make your first left onto Antelope Drive and ride to the end/parking area

Hall Ranch
9 ) Climb one mile on Antelope Trail
10) Stay straight/right on Bitterbrush - Upper Section
11) I like to do the Nelson Loop clockwise, but it can be done in either direction
12) Head back down Bitterbrush - Upper Section after completing the Nelson Loop lollipop
13) Instead of heading down Antelope Trail turn right to briefly climb, then descend the rocky, technical Hall/Bitterbrush - Lower Section

Connection from Hall Ranch back to Picture Rock
14) Left on the paved road then make your first right onto Old St. Vrain Rd
15) Left onto Red Gulch Rd to Picture Rock trailhead

Heading back from Picture Rock through Heil Ranch
16) 5.5 miles up Picture Rock
17) Continue climbing left onto Wild Turkey Trail
18) Left onto Ponderosa Loop for a short climb
19) Final descent on Wapiti Trail to the Heil parking lot

Heil Ranch:
This trail climbs, mostly gradually, right from the trailhead. You'll start out on a rough dirt road, but don't worry - the singletrack starts just up ahead.

Once you hit the singletrack, it's a steady climb for about 2.5 miles, all the way up to the junction with the Ponderosa Loop. The trail mostly runs through a heavily forested area, so there's plenty of shade. You're likely to see deer or other wildlife along the trail - maybe even a black bear.

The area is extremely rocky, but the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance and others have done a lot of work to clean up the trail, make it flow better, smooth out the rocks, and keep it sustainable.

Halfway around the loop, you'll find a scenic overlook with a park bench - perfect for a breather and a snack. The overlook provides a far-off view of Hall Ranch below - which you can ride to by joining up with the Picture Rock trail.

Picture Rock:
The trail was designed and built by professional trail builders with a goal of making a sustainable trail that would entertain advanced riders, but still be rideable by most. The upper section of trail is quite rocky, just like the rest of Heil Ranch, and it can take quite a bit of energy to ride in either direction.

Descending from the connection with the Wild Turkey Trail at Heil, be prepared for about 2.5 miles of constant small rocks with some larger obstacles thrown in. Some beginner riders may have a hard time with this section.

About halfway down, you'll reach an old grain silo at the side of the trail, and the riding becomes smoother and generally easier from here. For advanced riders, the remaining section down to Lyons is flowy, fast, and very fun.

Hall Ranch:
The most commonly ridden trail (Bitterbrush - Lower Section) has a challenging technical rock garden that only fit, expert riders can clean bottom to top. The Nelson Loop has some beautiful views of the Arapahoe range and Longs Peak in addition to beautiful, flowing singletrack. Intermediate riders can find some suitable terrain by starting on the Antelope trail, that also leads to the Nelson Loop, but bypasses the technical rock garden on Bitterbrush - Lower Section.

Contacts

Shared By:

Jeremy Brodhead

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 26 votes

#438

Overall
  4.4 from 26 votes
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in Colorado

#438

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Photos

Check out my Trail Boss video from Bitterbrush at Hall Ranch.
Mar 2, 2017 near Lyons, CO
Dropping down the back side of Hall Ranch, just after the Antelope connector.
Oct 31, 2016 near Lyons, CO
Riding Hall Ranch With Some New Friends
Aug 21, 2018 near Lyons, CO
The last drop before the finish on Bitterbush
Oct 22, 2017 near Lyons, CO
Climbing the rock garden section of Bitterbrush can be a humbling experience.
Oct 31, 2016 near Lyons, CO
Hall Ranch at sunset... some of the best riding on the Front Range.
Nov 16, 2015 near Lyons, CO

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 29 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

May 10, 2020
Levi Roberts
Aug 17, 2019
Quang Huynh
Jul 5, 2019
Tata Ridesalot
Jul 5, 2019
Tanya Grossman
Jul 1, 2019
Luke Danhof
May 18, 2019
Charles S
Super
Nov 10, 2018
Sarah Niemeyer
33.1mi
Nov 4, 2018
Jeff Wang
One of the sickest rides that I've done (granted I just moved to Boulder). So fucking sick. Lower bitterbrush destroyed me. 31.8mi — 4h 30m