Walker Ranch

Walker Ranch Summer Heritage Evening is Saturday, July 16. Learn more.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a cultural landscape, Walker Ranch also offers a diverse array of ecosystems to explore.

Trails

Walker Ranch Loop

7.6 miles
Leashed Dogs Allowed Bikes Allowed Hiking Allowed Horses Allowed
Moderate
Equestrians are discouraged from using the eastern leg due to extremely steep staircase conditions

Walker Ranch Link

1.1 miles
Leashed Dogs Allowed Bikes Allowed Hiking Allowed Horses Allowed
Easy

Meyers Homestead Trail

2.5 miles
Leashed Dogs Allowed Bikes Allowed Hiking Allowed Horses Allowed
Moderate
trail profile graph

Resident Ranger Tweets

Rules & Regulations

Day use only Pets on leash
Bikes on designated trails only No open fires
No hunting or firearms No camping 

All Rules & Regulations


Picnic Areas

  • Several picnic tables located near each trailhead
  • Large group shelter located at Meyers Homestead Trailhead.

Restrooms

  • Located at all three trailheads

Parking

  • Ethel Harrold parking lot can accommodate 18 cars
  • Meyers Homestead Trailhead can accommodate 39 cars and 2 horse trailers
  • Walker Ranch Loop parking lot can accommodate 28 cars

Fishing


The Wall

  • Walker Ranch Loop includes a 500-foot cliff-like section of stone steps that is not recommended for horses.

Documents, Field Guides & Plans




Summer Heritage Evening

Saturday, July 16, 5 - 7:30 p.m.
Enjoy an evening at the homestead. Visit with costumed volunteers as they demonstrate late 1800s rural games and chores such as doing laundry the old-fashioned way, woodworking, and meal preparation. Meet animals up close with the help of a petting zoo. All visitors can participate in chores and games! Please bring a blanket if you plan to picnic since there are no tables at the homestead.

On-Going Activities
• Button Making
• Croquet, Children’s Games
• Laundry
• Log Hewing, Shingle/Shake making
• Calf Roping, Marbles
• General Store; stick horses
• Meal Preparation
• Old Fashioned Milk Shakes
• Butter Churning
• Live Music, singalong
• Homestead Hearth
• Pony Express Petting Zoo

Special Activities
• Guided Tour - 5:30 p.m. & 6:15 p.m.
• Knot Tying - 6:15 p.m.

The event is free and open to all ages. Dogs and bicycles are not permitted on the site.

Contact Sheryl Kippen for more information.



Other Upcoming Walker Ranch Heritage Days

  • September 25 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Fire Mitigation Forestry Project

Walker Ranch Fire Mitigation Project Map

Phase One is 25 acres along the north-west property line. Ladder fuels and tree density will be reduced by removing small (2-12" diameter at 4.5') ponderosa pine infested with dwarf mistletoe, and Douglas-fir. This will reduce the amount of available fuel in the event of a fire and raise thresholds for extreme fire behavior.

The project will have little impact of park visitors. All trails will remain open but visitors may hear equipment and see increased activity in the project area.

The Sheriff's Office Fire Management staff will use chainsaws to cut trees. This work will occur during daylight hours, including weekends. Wood generated from this project will be removed from the forest and made available through public firewood sales. The Boulder County Youth Corps will pile the slash from this project to be burned during winter months.

The project area was designated for fire mitigation forestry treatments during the Walker Ranch Management Plan update in 2013. The four planned phases of this project will link forest treatments along private and county open space lands, decrease potential fire intensity and create opportunities for fire suppression.

Contact Stefan Reinold, 303-678-6202 for additional information.

Residential Fire Mitigation & Defensible Space Resources


Flora & Fauna

Along Colorado's Front Range the sweeping grasslands of the Great Plains rise to meet the rugged peaks of the Southern Rocky Mountains. Where they meet we find the Foothills—a zone of geological and biological transition. Foothills ecosystems, such as the one that comprises the 2,880 acres of Walker Ranch, provide a variety of habitats for a rich diversity of wildlife.

White Wildflowers

  • Blazing star (Liatris punctata)
  • Fleabane (Erigeron spp)
  • Nodding onion (Allium cernuum)
  • Yarrow (Achillea lanulosa)

Yellow Wildflowers

  • Blanket flower (Gaillardia aristata)
  • Gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa)
  • Hairy golden aster (Heterotheca villosa)
  • Heart-leaf arnica (Arnica cordifolia)
  • Western wallflower (Erysimum asperum)
  • Whiskbroom parsley (Harbouris trachypleura)

Orange & Red Wildflowers

  • Indian paintbrush (Castilleja spp)

Pink Wildflowers

  • Mountain ball cactus (Pediocactus simpsonii)
  • Wild geranium (Geranium caespitosum)
  • Fleabane (Erigeron spp)

Purple & Blue Wildflowers

  • Horsemint (Monarda fistulosa)
  • Chiming bells or bluebells (Mertensia spp)
  • Harebells ( Campanula rotundifolia)
  • Lambert's locoweed or Colorado locoweed (Oxytropis lambertii)

Green Wildflowers

  • Western ragweed (Ambrosia psilostachya)

Shrubs

  • Boulder raspberry
  • Common chockecherry
  • Oregon holly grape
  • Mountain mahogany

Trees

  • Aspen
  • Douglas fir
  • Narrowleaf cottonwood
  • Ponderosa pine
  • Rocky Mountain juniper

Mammals

  • Abert's squirrel
  • Black bear
  • Bobcat
  • Coyote
  • Elk
  • Golden-mantled ground squirrel
  • Least chipmunk
  • Mountain cottontail
  • Mountain lion
  • Mule deer
  • Northern pocket gopher
  • Raccoon
  • Red fox

Birds

Reptiles

  • Bullsnake
  • Western terrestrial garter snake

Fish

  • Rainbow trout


Geology

Walker Ranch is underlain by one of the oldest rock types in Boulder County: Boulder Creek granodiorite, dated at about 1.7 billion years old. This rock formed from molten material that cooled and hardened very slowly beneath the earth’s surface, and then was forced upward, probably during ancient periods of mountain building.

Over time, these ancient mountains slowly eroded away, exposing the granodiorite. Around 65 million years ago, uplift of the Rocky Mountains you see today began, forming the great peaks and creating the area’s rich mineral deposits.

Since the great Rocky Mountain uplift, erosion has been the dominant force sculpting Walker Ranch, as it continues to carve the landscape.


History

Woman Making Cornbread

Homesteading

Settler James Walker, from Missouri, moved to Boulder in 1869. He and his wife Phoebe filed a homestead claim for 160 acres in 1882. The next year, he moved his wife and young son into the newly built ranch house.

Expansive Ranching

Over the next 80 years, the Walker family amassed over 6,000 acres. When the property was sold in 1959, it was one of the largest cattle ranches in this region of Colorado.

Walker Ranch Homestead

The homestead consists of original buildings from the 1880s, except a newly reconstructed ranch house. The original ranch house burned to the ground in 1992 and has since been rebuilt using environmentally friendly techniques while remaining faithful to 1880s architecture, design, and materials. The homestead is closed to the public, but group tours may be scheduled by contacting Sheryl Kippen at 303-776-8848.

Wildfire

In 2000, the Walker Ranch/Eldorado Wildland Fire burned through 1,062 acres and lasted five days. Remnants of this fire can be seen today in the form of burned trees that are still standing.



Contacts

Parks & Open Space
303-678-6200

Staff Directory
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Parks are open sunrise to sunset
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