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Caribou Ranch

Easy/Intermediate
 4.0 (26) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Come to Caribou Ranch to experience beautiful wildflower meadows, the DeLonde Homestead, and the famous Blue Bird Mine.


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Map Key

4.8

Miles

7.7

KM

Lollipop

8,755' 2,669 m

High

8,533' 2,601 m

Low

353' 108 m

Up

365' 111 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

11%

Max Grade (6°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Kids will love exploring the DeLonde Homestead and the Blue Bird Mine along this loop. Informative signs help them imagine what it was like to be a Colorado homesteader during the 19th Century.

This area is closed in spring (usually until July 1) for elk calving.

Overview

This is a pleasant hike for a relatively easy day. Along this hike, you'll be treated to mellow terrain and great scenery as you make your way onto the original Switzerland Trail grade and past the old DeLonde Homestead and Blue Bird Mine.

Need to Know

There are only a few spots that require attention for foot placement.

Description

Park at the Caribou Ranch Trailhead, located on CR 126 a few miles north of Nederland (take a sharp left after reaching the bottom of a steep hill to find the road). From the trailhead, follow DeLonde Trail through a pine forest for about 0.75 miles until reaching the first meadow. Continue on the singletrack to a trail junction with a doubletrack that marks the original narrow-gauge railway grade for the Switzerland Trail. Take a right. At the junction with Blue Bird Loop, you can go either way since the trail creates a nice 2-mile loop of double and singletrack that winds through open meadow and dense aspen-and-coniferous forest on the way to the DeLonde Homestead and Blue Bird Mine Access Trail. Upon reaching the Access Trail, take it north to experience the famous Blue Bird Mine.

After returning to the Blue Bird Loop and reaching the junction with the DeLonde Trail, simply follow it back the way you came to the parking area.

This system can easily be connected with several more miles of trails at the Mud Lake Open Space by using the Caribou Ranch Link.

Flora & Fauna

The trail leads through Ponderosa pine into open meadows that have abundant wildflowers.
The meadows are surrounded with aspen that allow for great fall color.

Contacts

Shared By:

John Scalese with improvements by Nick Wilder

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 26 votes

#730

Overall
  4.0 from 26 votes
5 Star
23%
4 Star
58%
3 Star
15%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
4%
Recommended Route Rankings

#146

in Colorado

#730

Overall
61 Views Last Month
16,877 Since Oct 23, 2015
Easy/Intermediate

55%
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Photos

Fantastic fall colors so close to Boulder.
Sep 24, 2016 near Nederland, CO
Sweeping meadows and aspens along historic grounds.
Sep 24, 2016 near Nederland, CO
The fall brings out nice colors in and around the large meadow.
Oct 23, 2015 near Nederland, CO

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 96 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Oct 2, 2022
Stephen Pack
Jul 22, 2022
Gina G
Mar 13, 2022
Allison Klein
With snow shoes
Nov 7, 2021
Nicole Priesmeyer
Oct 23, 2021
MUrt ErKal
With Mike
Aug 18, 2021
Ali L
Nice loop with old mining buildings. 4.8mi — 1h 30m
Dec 20, 2020
Kim Chrislip
Snowshoe out to the old ranch and back. Super windy. 3.1mi — 1h 00m
Oct 1, 2020
Tyler Kilpatrick