Hall Ranch, Bitterbrush and Nelson Loop Trail is a 10 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Lyons, CO that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.
The Bitterbrush and Nelson Loop Trails are fairly difficult mountain bike routes that form a lasso trail near Lyons, CO. Unlike many of my other trail guides, this one is definitely a little more strenuous and technical. If you are riding a bike, prepare for steep climbs and rapid descents. There are some tricky corners and numerous rocks and roots in the trail. There is also great scenery, lots of wildlife, and a heck of a roller-coaster ride. Although this trail is good for hiking, many hikers choose Nighthawk Trail, which runs off of this trail and takes a similar route. HISTORY: In 1885, Edward Lyon settled the land that later became Hall Ranch. The sandstone quarries just to the east of Hall Ranch are made up of 52 smaller quarry pits, and these were also established by Edward Lyon. Electricity was first introduced to the region around 1912 when the Longmont Aqueduct, which supplied water from Longmont Reservoir to the power plant, can still be viewed on the north side of Hall Ranch. The name Hall Ranch was first applied to the land in the early 1940s when Hallyn and June Hall purchased a chunk of the surrounding land. WILDLIFE: Hall Ranch is rich in wildlife. It is considered a crucial nesting habitat for numerous birds. Predatory birds such as golden eagles hunt here and are always on the lookout for a feast of prairie dog or squirrel. White tailed deer and rabbit are also commonly seen from the trail. One of the better places for observing wildlife at Hall Ranch is in the meadow at the junction of Bitterbrush and Nelson Loop. In addition to the cute and cuddly critters, don't forget that rattlesnakes love sunning themselves on the trail. Leave them alone, and they're usually pretty docile. GEOLOGY: The oldest rock in the area is about 1.7 billion years old and the youngest is approximately 62 million years old. The rocks are a mix of sandstone and granite.
Definitely a moderate hike but a great workout. Good views here and there. Deer everywhere. Lots of bikers on Nelson. Overall though great hike.
Overall good hike on Nighthawk Trail. Sunny and very hot when I was there, but there was a few shady spots to escape the sun here and there. Great views of Long's Peak.
enjoyed nighthawk trail. no bikes or dogs... a few horses and not crowded. nice view. not strenuous. then had a well earned lunch in Lyons
Beautiful hike but a lot of bikes
Did the big 10 mile loop yesterday. It was so hot and there was no shade. The trail it's self was nice though:) next time I'll just go when it's cooler outside.
Very nice trail to work on biking over rock features.
A nice slow and steady hike. Can't bring your dog which is a bummer.
Great trail. Great workout.
I love this trail, the rock gardens are fantastically challenging. You have to hit lines perfect to not end up pushing your bike.
Great trail run , wish I had mountain bike for the way back , tough workout
Took my horse up Nighthawk trail was a bit too rocky there is no shade and I guess I'm a little spoiled but I won't be going back. Where are the trails around here with trees that provide shade?
Great trail, lots of fun to mountain bike. I just moved out to the area from Kansas, so I had to get used to the trails being all uphill for at least half the ride. But once I got into shape for the mountains, the rock garden is by far more fun than any trail I rode in the Kansas City area.
Did the Nighthawk trail at Hall Ranch. Nelson Loop was closed due to muddy conditions- all the rain we had in May! Bikes are not allowed on Nighthawk trail which made it pleasant to hike.
Nighthawk trail is long, 9.4 mi,but easy. I highly reco it cause the views are outstanding. The trail was muddy at various spots but nice thing with this trail is that even on a Sat there was hardly any1 on the trail. Given the awesome views, I was a little surprised that there were v few hikers- compared to the circus of ppl at Sanitas, which imho is most hyped trail and not that special really.
Nighthawk trail starts pretty easy, winds around to other side & climbs via easy swiItch backs, looping around to a pretty meadow. The views are spectacular throughout the trail. Past the meadow, where the trail is flat, trail climbs again through some trees where you get bit of shade. Otherwise, the trail is pretty open and sun gets hot. Don't forget sunscreen, hat & water! At the end you see breathtaking views of Meeker and Longs Peak, still covered in snow. (See pics)
There were several horseback riders on the trail and one has to avoid all the horse poop on the trails.
The Nelson loop was closed, otherwise one can take the loop and down Bitterbrush trail for change of scenery on way down. I went down Nighthawk trail, total 9.4 miles. I really enjoyed this easy but long hike. Weather was glorious, views just awesome and NO crowds. Luckily, I did not run into any mountain lions or rattlesnakes. Saw deer tho.
Beautiful scenery all around from the start. Trail conditions were good, and it wasn't terribly busy since most people present were biking on the multi purpose trail.