Caribou Ranch Open Space 

Caribou Ranch

The 2,151 acres of Caribou Ranch offers a variety of landscapes to explore including wetlands, meadows, streams and forests.

 Your Visit

Resident Ranger Tweets


Trails

Trails

Blue Bird Loop

1.9 miles
Dogs Prohibited Bikes Prohibited Hiking Allowed Horses Allowed
Moderate

DeLonde Trail

1.2 miles
Dogs Prohibited Bikes Prohibited Hiking Allowed Horses Allowed
Easy

Picnic Areas

  • Several picnic tables located near trailhead

Restrooms

  • Located at the trailhead

Parking

  • Parking lot can accommodate 25 vehicles and one school bus
  • Horse trailer parking is available at Mud Lake ¾ mile east of Caribou Ranch

Keep in Mind

  • Bikes and dogs are not permitted
  • Caribou Ranch is closed annually from April 1 through June 30 to protect spring migratory birds and elk calving and rearing

 Map & Directions

 Plants & Animals

The montane forests of the Southern Rocky Mountains are found at the higher altitudes of 8,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level. Characterized by cooler temperatures and more precipitation than at lower elevations, this life zone is dominated by dense conifer forests, but also includes meadows, ponds and streams. Due to its altitude, snow can linger into late spring or early summer and many beautiful wildflowers come into bloom later in the year than at properties in the plains and foothills.

Mammals

  • American beaver
  • Black bear
  • Chickaree
  • Coyote
  • Elk
  • Least chipmunk
  • Little brown bat
  • Long-tailed weasel
  • Meadow vole
  • Moose
  • Northern pocket gopher
  • Nuttall’s cottontail
  • Snowshoe hare
  • Yellow-bellied marmot

Birds

Amphibians & Reptiles

  • Striped chorus frog
  • Western terrestrial garter snake

Plants

White Wildflowers

  • Cutleaf daisy (Erigeron compositus)
  • Mariposa lily (Calochortus gunnisonii)
  • Milkvetch (Astragalus spp)
  • Mouse ear chickweed (Cerastium spp)
  • Northern bedstraw (Galium boreale)
  • Porter aster (Aster porteri)
  • Wild onion (Allium geyeri)
  • White fairy trumpet (Ipomopsis candida)
  • Yarrow (Achillea lanulosa)

Yellow Wildflowers

  • Blanket flower (Gaillardia aristata)
  • Blackeyed susan (Rudbeckia irta)
  • Cinquefoil (Drymocallis sp, Potentilla sp)
  • Common sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
  • Golden banner (Thermopsis divaricarpa)
  • Gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa)
  • Hairy false golden aster (Heterotheca villosa)
  • Heart-leaf arnica (Arnica cordifolia)
  • Senecio (senecio sp)
  • Sulphur flower (Eriogonum umbellatum)
  • Tall false dandelion (Agoseris glauca)
  • Western wallflower (Erysimum asperum)
  • Whiskbroom parsley (Harbouria trachypleura)
  • Yellow stonecrop (Amerosedum lanceolatum)

Pink, Orange & Red Wildflowers

  • Fairy trumpet -Scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregate)
  • Lambert’s loco - Colorado loco (Oxytropis lambertii)
  • Pinedrops (Pterospora andromedea)
  • Pink pussytoes (Antennaria rosea)
  • Scarlet paintbrush (Castilleja miniata)
  • Shooting star (Dodecatheon pulchellum)
  • Wild geranium (Geranium caespitosum)

Purple & Blue Wildflowers

  • Colorado columbine (Aquilegia coerulea)
  • Greenleaf (low) penstemon (Penstemon virens)
  • Common harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)
  • One-sided penstemon (Penstemon secundiflorus)
  • Smooth aster (Aster laevis)
  • Tall chiming bells (Mertensia ciliata)
  • Wild iris (Iris missouriensis)

Green Wildflowers

  • Green gentian – Monument plant  (Frasera speciosa)
  • Prairie sage (Artemisia ludoviciana)
  • Fringed sage (Artemisia frigida)

Shrubs

  • Common juniper
  • Kinnikinnick
  • Wild rose

Trees

  • Aspen
  • Douglas fir
  • Limber pine
  • Lodgepole pine
  • Ponderosa pine
  • Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus sscopulorum)

 History

The Blue Bird Mine

Blue azurite, often found in silver ore, gave Caribou Ranch's Blue Bird Mine its name. In the 1870s, miners flocked to work at the Blue Bird, as well as other mines in the area. In 1905, Blue Bird became a tourist destination on the newly completed Eldora Line of the Switzerland Trail of America.

The Name

The origin of the name Caribou is said to have come from William Martin, a prospector, who discovered the Caribou mine. Martin had been mining in the Cariboo Range in British Columbia and saw a connection with the two places.

Historical Buildings

  • Blue Bird Mine Complex – includes a bunkhouse, remains of a log building, mining company house, chicken coops, smoke house, the foundation of a mill, mine shafts, and tracks for ore carts
  • DeLonde Homestead – a modified homestead that reflects several periods in the ranch’s development

Van Vleet

In 1936, Lynn W. Van Vleet purchased the Ranch and established the first Arabian horse breeding operation in Colorado. In addition to sponsoring public Arabian horse shows, the Van Vleet Ranch hosted two Warner Brothers films, Arabians of the Rockies and Sons of Courage.

Stagecoach Film

Portions of the 1966 film Stagecoach were filmed at Caribou Ranch and featured Ann-Margret, Red Buttons and Bing Crosby. The film was a remake of the 1939 western with the same name. If you are interesting in watching a promotional video for the film, contact Sheryl Kippen.

Music

In 1971 a barn was converted to a recording studio on private property near the open space. This studio, called Caribou Ranch, attracted artists such as U2, Billy Joel, Chicago, Elton John, Rod Stewart, and many others. The studio closed after a March 1985 fire destroyed the control room.


Contacts

Parks & Open Space
303-678-6200

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Parks are open sunrise to sunset
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