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Walker Ranch

Difficult

Trail

7.8 mile 12.6 kilometer loop
90% Singletrack
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 1,516' 462 m
Descent: -1,510' -460 m
High: 7,335' 2,236 m
Low: 6,446' 1,965 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 45% (24°)

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Map Key

A classic loop near boulder with a nice mix of technical riding, flowy descents, and scenery.

Michael Ahnemann

Electric Mountain Bikes Not Allowed

Features -none-

Dogs allowed on leash.

Overview

Walker Ranch is one of the rides that every Boulder-based mountain biker has ridden. It's a great ride for someone visiting, offering fun singletrack and great scenery. And it's located up Flagstaff road, which is worth the drive on its own!

This is a fairly challenging ride despite its somewhat short distance. There's a mix of fast flowy singletrack, technical rocky sections, and even a somewhat difficult hike-a-bike down steep steps to a creek.

Need to Know

Nobody seems to agree which direction is best. I prefer counter-clockwise as mapped, but others are adamant that clockwise is best. And another option is to ride one direction until you reach the hike-a-bike, then retrace your steps and ride the other direction to the hike-a-bike. This allows you to skip the steep walk with your bike, and makes for a longer ride.

A third option is to start at the other parking spot northeast of the main lot (see map) and ride counter-clockwise, out to the hike-a-bike and back. That other lot is a bit harder to get to though by car.

(Note: another Boulder rite of passage is to ride "Super Walker" which involves riding up the paved Flagstaff climb you'd otherwise drive up to reach the trailhead. It's a few thousand feet of elevation gain and definitely not for everyone!)

Description

Riding counter-clockwise as mapped, you'll start out with a nice fast descent for quite a while. The trail is fairly wide for most of this descent, and it's tempting to really fly, but keep an eye out - there are many dry sandy spots along the way, and some short rocky sections that pop up quickly.

Once the descent is finished, you'll cruise along the creek for a bit on a nice flat cruise. But that doesn't last long before you find yourself climbing steeply again. The climb is all rideable, but sections are quite steep, and you'll be on the point of your saddle trying to keep traction. There are also a couple of more technical rocky sections that add a nice challenge for some, or a short walk for others.

Keep climbing your way up until you hit a couple of switchbacks, then emerge near Gross Damn road. This is a nice spot for a quick rest, as you take in nice views from the only open part of the trail. Keep riding along, and you'll twist along the hillside trending downhill.

Eventually, you'll dive back into the woods. Enjoy a fun flowy descent for a while here. There are some switchbacks, but the surface is mostly tacky dirt. Plenty of traction so you can let it fly here. Just watch out for folks coming up - the ones who prefer the clockwise direction!

Things will get a bit more technical with a couple of very steep sections down sandy rock - rideable, but you might be behind your saddle for a few feet here and there.

You'll then come to the hike-a-bike section. It's a set of stairs leading down a couple hundred feet to the creek. It's rocky and steep here - definitely not rideable unless you have some serious trials riding skills. And it can even be a bit tough to keep your footing. Not the most fun part of the ride. But when you reach the creek, there are some great spots to soak in if you need to be refreshed by the COLD water.

From here, climb up a loose two track for a bit, then take a left to get on the last bit of singletrack. In this direction, the singletrack flows a bit over mostly flat terrain, then climbs very steeply on tight switchbacks which are another fun challenge for some, or a walk for others.

Finally, you'll pop out of the trees for another 1/2 mile of mostly downhill singletrack over some technical rocky features to get back to where you started.

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Check-Ins

May 16, 2020
Tyler Smeenk
So good! fly fished as well, rode counter clockwise 7.8mi — 2h 20m
May 7, 2020
jon J
1h 45m
Apr 29, 2020
Brad Cordell
Apr 26, 2020
William Stephen
Tough steps section with some hike a bike. Awesome downhills 9.1mi — 1h 28m
Apr 22, 2020
Blake Johnson
Great ride. 7.9 Miles of difficult trail. About half downhill half uphill. Some great flow and minimal people. 7.9mi — 2h 00m
Apr 18, 2020
Colin Ristig
Oct 12, 2019
Jen Trask
hard stuff. 7.8mi — 3h 00m
Sep 28, 2019
Sean Brady

Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 212 votes

#1

in Walker Ranch

#100

Overall
  3.9 from 212 votes
5 Star
24%
4 Star
51%
3 Star
19%
2 Star
3%
1 Star
2%
Ride Rankings

#1

in Walker Ranch

#35

in Colorado

#100

Overall
1,108 Views Last Month
49,868 Since Jun 17, 2013
Difficult

0%
0%
7%
1%
90%
2%

Photos

Great technical features abound on the south side of Walker Ranch.
Mar 19, 2017 near Coal Creek, CO
A rider gets after it on the Boulder Creek descent!
Apr 7, 2017 near Coal Creek, CO
Going fast on decomposed granite at Boulder's Walker Ranch.
Apr 21, 2017 near Coal Creek, CO
This ride can be hot, but it's always pleasant by the creek.
Jul 20, 2013 near Coal Creek, CO
Bridge crossing South Boulder Creek.
Oct 18, 2015 near Coal Creek, CO
Sunset at Walker Ranch.
Jun 28, 2017 near Coal Creek, CO

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