An oasis of calm in the midst of urban life, Carolyn Holmberg Preserve offers a tranquil setting for both humans and wildlife.
Carolyn Holmberg Preserve at Rock Creek Farm
- 15 cars and 2 horse trailers at Stearns Lake trailhead.
- Stearns Lake trailhead can be accessed from Dillon Rd and 104th St. There is no access from 287 through Rock Creek Farm.
The Carolyn Holmberg Preserve connects with the Rock Creek Trail.
- Shelter near Stearns Lake trailhead available on a first-come, first-served basis
- Located at Stearns Lake trailhead
Documents, Field Guides & Plans
In the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains is dry, windy, and expansive. Receiving only small amounts of precipitation, the 1,136 acres of Carolyn Holmberg Preserve is dominated by grasses. The scarcity of water prevents larger shrubs and trees from growing, except along waterways. However, the soils are rich, allowing a wealth of other plants to thrive. These plants, in turn, support a variety of animal species.
- Black-tailed prairie dog
- Desert cottontail
- Red fox
- Striped skunk
- Western harvest mouse
- American avocet
- American kestrel
- American widgeon
- American white pelican
- Barn swallow
- Burrowing owl
- Canada goose
- Common goldeneye
- Common merganser
- Common nighthawk
- Great blue heron
- Great horned owl
- Mourning dove
- Northern oriole
- Northern shoveler
- Red-tailed hawk
- Red-winged blackbird
- Ring-necked duck
- Snowy egret
- Song sparrow
- Swainson’s hawk
- Western grebe
- Western kingbird
- Western meadowlark
- Channel catfish
- Tiger muskie
Plants & Trees
- American vetch (Vicia americana)
- Cattail (Typha latifolia)
- Curlycup gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa)
- Scarlet globemallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea)
- Peachleaf willow
- Plains cottonwood
When gold was discovered near Gold Hill, miners streamed in to seek their fortune. Most people left broke and disillusioned. Some, however, started a new life farming.
Two of those pioneers were Mary and Lafayette Miller. They came west in 1864 and purchased an 80-acre parcel of land on Rock Creek that included a hotel and tavern and a stage station. They also ran a cattle ranch and meat market in the area.
During the past century, this open space property has been used to raise crops and livestock, and was also home to a dairy farm. Boulder County purchased a portion of Rock Creek Farm in 1980 for agricultural preservation and as a buffer between the growing communities in southeastern Boulder County.
The property is dedicated to Carolyn Holmberg, a former Parks and Open pace director who died in 1998.
Renting the Goodhue Farmhouse
The Goodhue Farmhouse, rehabilitated in 2004, was originally built nearly 100 years ago. It is closed to the public, but is available to rent to municipalities, environmental and historical nonprofits, and other nonprofits that partner with Boulder County government.
Learn more about renting the Goodhue Farmhouse.