Walker Ranch
Walker Ranch

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.

Trails
Walker Ranch LoopHiking Allowed Dogs Allowed Bikes Allowed Horses Allowed
7.6 miles – Moderate
Equestrians are discouraged from using the eastern leg due to extremely steep staircase conditions
Walker Ranch LinkHiking Allowed Dogs Allowed Bikes Allowed Horses Allowed
1.1 miles – Easy
Meyers Homestead TrailHiking Allowed Dogs Allowed Bikes Allowed Horses Allowed
2.5 miles – Moderate

Walker Ranch Trail Profile

Parking

  • 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

Picnic Areas

  • Several picnic tables located near each trailhead
  • Large group shelter located at Meyers Homestead Trailhead.

Restrooms

  • Located at all three trailheads

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

Fishing at Walker Ranch

Stream fishing is allowed along South Boulder Creek

Walker Ranch Winter Heritage Days

Sunday, January 29, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Walker Ranch Winter Heritage Days 01Pioneer 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.

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 for more information.

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.

Mammals

  • 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

Reptiles

  • Bullsnake
  • Western terrestrial garter snake

Fish

  • Rainbow trout

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)

Shrubs

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

Trees

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

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.

Homesteading

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 at 303-776-8848.

Wildfire

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.

Contact Us

Parks are open sunrise to sunset

Connect With Us