A six-mile trail is being planned through Tolland Ranch that will provide a connection between West Magnolia and Jenny Creek Trail.
The trail is planned to be approximately six miles in length and provide a connection between two public trails on US Forest Service (USFS) lands. The West Magnolia trail system is located east of Tolland Ranch and the Jenny Creek Trail is located west of Tolland Ranch. This connectivity will link trail users traveling from West Magnolia to the Continental Divide and into Winter Park.
Eldora Mountain Resort (Eldora) is located north of Tolland Ranch. The resort leases land from the Toll family that is part of the larger conservation easement where many of their Nordic trails are located. At the time of the acquisition, the centerline of a 200 meter-wide (650 foot-wide) planning corridor was identified and recorded within which our planning team has been working for the past three field seasons to work through a variety of issues and build support for the final location. The easement also conveyed many other rights and restrictions.
The eastern section of the trail is planned to begin at the western end of the Schoolbus Trail (“Social 23” on USFS map), which is part of the West Magnolia system. Consistent with the easement, a gate or other control feature will be located here to close the trail to use in the winter when Eldora is open. Proceeding west, the trail will climb the northeastern aspect of Buckeye Mountain to a ridge.
The middle section of the trail is located below and along a ridge between Buckeye Mountain and the Blackhills Mine. It affords magnificent views to Tolland itself, Mammoth Gulch, James Peak, and other prominent features along the Divide.
The western section of the trail descends toward the Blackhills Mine and then northwest into Deadman’s Gulch, located in Eldora’s Nordic area. From Deadman’s Gulch, the trail will join up with the Jenny Creek Trail. The exact location of the alignment is still being worked through with Eldora and USFS since Eldora’s planned Alpine expansion will affect this area.
In January 2015, Boulder County acquired a public trail easement across Tolland Ranch. At the time, Boulder County had partnered with the Colorado State Forest Service and Great Outdoors Colorado, with coordination by The Conservation Fund, to acquire a larger conservation easement of approximately 3,334 acres of the property from the Toll family. The majority of the property is located immediately south of Boulder County in Gilpin County and includes a segment of South Boulder Creek between the East Portal and the Peak to Peak Highway.
Construction Documents: Construction documents are expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
Cultural Resource Survey: Several historic structures are in the area. A cultural resource survey is occurring to document these resources and provide considerations for management.
Funding: The project will receive funding from the Mike O’Brien fund, but additional grants and funding are needed. Boulder County will apply for grants in 2019.
Planning Issues: Work is still required to resolve the Jenny Creek access with Eldora and USFS. And there is an additional potential connection with the West Magnolia system envisioned in the USFS trail plan that requires additional multi-agency planning.
Construction: Construction on sections of the trail are planned to begin as early as 2020. It is expected that construction will take several years to complete given the short field season and backcountry location.
On April 26, 2018, staff gave an update to the Parks & Open Space Advisory Committee on the status of the Tolland Ranch Trail and other trail projects.