Hessie Trailhead 

Hessie Trailhead

The Hessie Trailhead is a busy access point to US Forest Service lands and popular trails.

 Your Visit

Hessie Trailhead

The Hessie Trailhead is operated by the US Forest Services (USFS) and is a popular access point to USFS lands including:

  • Indian Peaks Wilderness
  • Devils Thumb
  • Lost Lake
  • King Lake
  • Woodland Lake
  • Diamond Lake trails

Visit USFS Hessie Trailhead for more information about recreating at these locations.

Park only between signs


Limited, designated parking is available along the Fourth of July Road (CR 111). Parking is only allowed between signs. Violators will be fined $50 or towed.

Please consider using the free shuttle service.

Alternative Destinations

The Hessie Trailhead is a very popular destination and extremely congested on weekends. Consider these other destinations in the area:

East Portal Trailhead (Moffat Tunnel)

  • USFS
  • Access to the South Boulder Creek Trail
  • Hiking, biking and equestrian use
  • Dogs allowed

Sourdough Trail Trailhead

  • USFS
  • Hiking, biking and equestrian use
  • Dogs allowed

Brainard Lake Recreation Area

  • USFS
  • Day use fee required
  • Hiking, biking and equestrian use
  • Dogs allowed
  • RV, bus and trailer parking

Mud Lake

  • Boulder County
  • Hiking, biking and equestrian use
  • Dogs allowed on leash

Caribou Ranch

  • Boulder County
  • Hiking only
  • Closed April 30 – June 30

 Shuttle Service

Free Summer Shuttle Service

The shuttle service is canceled for the rest of the summer.

 Map & Directions

 Project History


  • Boulder County acquires David (Hessie) property from private owners for possible future land exchange with USFS.


  • Boulder County and USFS conceptualize development of parking area on David property along Fourth of July Road and above Hessie to address safety concerns on Fourth of July Road.


  • Public outreach on parking area concept includes public meeting in Eldora, public comment period, and update to Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee (POSAC). Commissioner Toor also holds meeting with town to discuss the shuttle concept.


  • Boulder County conducts Shuttle Feasibility Study that includes stakeholder meeting.


  • Design alternatives for parking area developed in collaboration with USFS.
  • Range of potential changes/impacts to Fourth of July Road studied.
  • A shuttle system and fee parking in the Hessie area are among the solutions considered.


  • Parking area concept is analyzed in more detail. This concept would also require changes to the steep, narrow section of Fourth of July Road beyond Hessie to accommodate the addition of significant additional traffic or the use of signals and/or flaggers on high-use days to more safely control one-way travel.
  • Following a series of public meetings, BOCC approves road widening with designated on-shoulder parking and a free shuttle service pilot program as a more sustainable and cost effective solution for reducing unsafe congestion on the county road.
  • Road widening occurs and shuttle service is provided for the summer.


  • Plans are being made to continue shuttle service in 2013


Parks & Open Space

Staff Directory
Submit a Question