A trail is being planned through Tolland Ranch that will provide a connection between West Magnolia and Jenny Creek Trail.
Tolland Ranch Trail Planning
The trail is planned to be approximately 5.3 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.
Parks & Open Space would like to thank and acknowledge the Toll family for their on-going partnership. Without their support and assistance, this trail connection across their property would not be possible. The value of the family’s legacy of stewardship of Tolland Ranch and the South Boulder Creek parkland area is immeasurable.
Parks & Open Space would also like to acknowledge and thank Eldora Mountain Resort for their continued partnership in helping to make the Tolland Ranch Trail a reality.
Permitting: Parks & Open Space is currently working through a Special Use zoning approval with Gilpin County. Once approved, a grading permit can be issued and construction can begin. A hearing before Gilpin County’s Board of County Commissioners is scheduled for some time in June. Their Planning Commission recommended approval on May 11, 2021.
Construction: Construction of the main trail is expected this summer once permits are issued and ground conditions are favorable. It is expected to take several summer seasons to complete the work and hopefully will open in 2024.
Funding: Boulder County received a Colorado the Beautiful grant and a significant donation from the estate of Mike O’Brien.
On-going Planning Issues: Work is on-going with the US Forest Service to best integrate the trail with the West Magnolia system and to formalize the desired alignment of the connection to Jenny Creek Trail.
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.
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.