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.
The area is extremely rocky - the ground is covered with many softball to basketball-sized rocks. But the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance and others have done much work to clean up the trail, make it a little easier, and keep it sustainable.
Hike this trail about 2.5 miles to the junction of the Ponderosa Loop
. You can connect this to multiple loops at the top of Heil, or to the Picture Rock
trail, which leads down to Lyons and Hall Ranch.
History & Background
The 5,200-acre open space making up Heil Ranch trails and the newer Picture Rock
trail are part of a large land purchase made by Boulder County Parks and Open Space in 1993 and 1994. The area housed large quarry operations from the 1890's to the 1960's.