Walker Ranch

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


Walker Ranch Loop

7.6 miles
Leashed Dogs Allowed Bikes Allowed Hiking Allowed Horses Allowed
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

Meyers Homestead Trail

2.5 miles
Leashed Dogs Allowed Bikes Allowed Hiking Allowed Horses Allowed
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.


  • Located at all three trailheads


  • 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


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

Walker Ranch Winter Heritage Days

Sunday, January 29, 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Pioneer settlers had a lot to do preparing for and surviving Colorado’s long winters. Learn about typical winter chores when you explore the Walker Ranch Homestead. You’ll see a working demonstration in the blacksmith shop and smell food being prepared on the wood stove. Be prepared for cold, windy weather, and to walk in snow.

Winter Heritage Day at Walker Ranch

On-Going Activities
• Blacksmithing
• Victorian Board Games
• Meal Preparation
• Learn About Old Fashioned Candy
• Button Making
• Make a Valentine
• Pretend Play General Store

Scheduled Activities
• Guided Tour (1:15pm & 2pm)
• One Room School Session (1:30pm & 2:15pm)

Dogs and bicycles are not permitted at the event. Please contact Sheryl Kippen for more information.

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)


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


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


  • 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



  • Bullsnake
  • Western terrestrial garter snake


  • Rainbow trout


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.


Woman Making Cornbread


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.


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.


Parks & Open Space

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