Heil Valley Ranch Trail

MODERATE 15 reviews

Heil Valley Ranch Trail is a 9.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Boulder, CO that offers the chance to see wildlife 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.

9.8 miles 1312 feet Loop

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

horseback riding

forest

views

wildlife

Enjoy biking, hiking, or horseback riding on the Wapiti and Ponderosa Loop Trails at Heil Ranch northwest of Boulder. Boulder has not been voted America's #1 Outdoor City for nothing. Heil Valley Ranch Open Space is one of the many reasons for Boulder's worldwide reputation. Although the name of this guide is Heil Ranch, the two trails featured here are the Wapiti Trail and the Ponderosa Loop trail. Together, they form what is known as a lasso trail. This trail is an ideal proving grounds for intermediate mountain bikers. You will find plenty of roots, rocks, ruts, corners, and hills to keep the ride exciting. But none of it is too technically or aerobically demanding. After each rigorous climb, there is usually a relatively flatter area. And great pains have been taken to limit the erosion and rutting on the trail so that none of the bumps are too demanding. Equestrians love this trail, too. With plenty of shade, lots of wide spots along the trail, and a courteous community of trail users, hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers coexist quite nicely. And the trail is easy to reach by utilizing the North Foothills Highway (Hwy. 36) north of Boulder; then turn west onto Lefthand Canyon Drive. Shortly after that, keep your eyes peeled for a Heil Valley Ranch sign that indicates a right hand turn. From there a dirt/gravel road leads you to the trailhead where there is ample parking for cars, trucks, and horse trailers.

1 month ago

2 months ago

mountain biking
5 months ago

mountain biking
6 months ago

ride was great but to many people had to stop alot to let them through

7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Extremely easy trail; meh views. Did it as a shuttle hike with 1 car parked at Picture Rock TH in Lyons and started at Geer Canyon Wapiti trail up to Ponderosa and Wild Turkey to Picture Rock TH. Approx 9.4 miles. Lots of mountain bikers, gets irritating stepping aside for them constantly. Lot of runners as well. Not as picturesque as the Hall Ranch next door.

hiking
9 months ago

Really enjoyed this hike today. I wanted to take the Wapiti Trail to the two loops at the end (Wild Turkey and one other) but they were closed. Still got a good hike in by tacking on the Lichen Loop after the 5 mile (there and back) Wapiti Trail. Beautiful views. The trail is very well maintained, but was muddy and snowy.

hiking
1 year ago

Saw lots of wildlife on this trail. Mainly deer and coyotes.

trail running
1 year ago

Really great trail to run. A major part was closed due to flooding a couple of weeks ago. Can't wait to go back

hiking
2 years ago

Loved this hike. I took wapiti to the ponderosa loop. Beautiful overlook at the top. Not very many places to stop and sit and not a lot to see until you get to the too but a great hike for exercise. Saw a black squirrel and some sort of lizard but not much else. Weekday wasn't busy at all.

hiking
2 years ago

Still a nice hike but it is now closed to dogs -- on or off leash. This is a change from when most of the guide books which include this hike were written.

mountain biking
3 years ago

Nice technical climb at the front end with a loop at the top that is being reworked with fun whoop-de-dos and twisty turns. Be sure to stop for a breather and take in the beautiful scenery.

mountain biking
4 years ago

My favorite way to ride it: Up the Picture Rock trail to the upper part of Ponderosa. Near the lookout jump on the Wild Turkey (my favorite part of Heil) and then down the Picture Rock... SO fun and great mix of baby head rocks and super fast swoopy corners. A nice climb rewarded with technical sections and tons of dirt time!

hiking
4 years ago

Nice cool hike on Wapati Trail last Saturday afternoon with a storm blowing in. They're (Boulder Youth Corps? ) doing a lot of work on this trail with nice results for hiking. (Judging by the mountain bike tracks some of the new efforts are slippery when wet.) I'm grading it down a bit because it is heavily used by mountain bikes and there are no passing lanes built in. We spent a lot of time standing on slopes off trail to let bombers coming down the hill pass.

mountain biking
6 years ago

My Experience

The Wapiti Trail and Ponderosa loop was one of the Trails I had found in books, and had planned to ride it, however I soon learned from riders on the forums that there were new trails linking to this Trail, and they all suggested the following:
Up Wapiti Trail Left onto Ponderosa Left onto Wild Turkey Left onto Picture Rock, 5.5 miles downhill Turn around at Lyons and head back up Picture Rock 5.5miles Left onto Wild Turkey Left back onto Ponderosa and finally another left back onto Wapiti for the downhill to the trail head.

This Trail is a hell of a sweet trail, that actually looks more difficult to ride than it really is. Although I would rate this trail as being moderate, there are a few technically demanding stretches that are just waiting to tear your bike apart. The nice thing about this trail is that it is 98% singletrack, the trails I took, added up to more than 22 miles of sweet singletrack. Just like the Hall Ranch trail, this beauty offers everything a mountain biker could wish for, but saying that, it does seem to be missing something, what it is I dont know, I just did not get the same buzz as I did from Hall Ranch, But something tells me that this trail gets better the more you ride it.
I am very glad that the local chapter pointed out that there were now two new trails linking the Wapiti Trail, because it is without doubt that it is the Wild Turkey and especially the Picture Rock Trail that makes this loop a real beauty and must ride trail in the Boulder / Lyons area.

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : 2 mountain bikers, 1 horse rider and 1 large group of hikers
Wild Life : 3 huge wild Turkeys
Scenery : scenic trail, lots of open places with great views
Other : To get the most out of this ride, combine it with Wild Turkey and Picture Rock Trail

My Trail Rating : 8.5 / 10