Hall Ranch, Bitterbrush and Nelson Loop Trail

MODERATE 68 reviews
#12 of 110 trails in

Hall Ranch, Bitterbrush and Nelson Loop Trail is a 10 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Lyons, Colorado 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.

DISTANCE
10.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1620 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

kid friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

horseback riding

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

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.

hiking
15 days ago

1 month ago

Good views and varying terrain. Lots of mountain bikers make it a little crowded for walking/running.

hiking
1 month ago

This is definitely one of my favorite trails! We saw mule deer, prairie dogs, lots of birds and heard a wild turkey (didn't see it unfortunately). There wasn't too many strenuous inclines but the sun is relentless so bring a hat and sunscreen. Beautiful views!

mountain biking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

This is a fantastic hike/workout! The reviews that complained about bikes are incorrect, there is a huge portion of the trail Nighthawk, that bikes are NOT allowed!!!! I believe Bitterbrush is the one that allows bikes..
Always see lots of wildlife..highly recommend doing this trail and taking it all the way to Sleepy Lion/Button Rock trail.. about ten miles! Gorgeous snowy views at the top and Takes you to the pretty Longmont Reservoir and dam .. This is one of my favorite local trails...

hiking
2 months ago

Nice trail. Quite a bit of bike traffic. we caught it on a gorgeous day in February!

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike!!

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike- lots of different elements to this hike! Fantastic workout

3 months ago

Great hike today (1/28). About 70% of the trail was covered with snow and ice, but you won't have a problem with good hiking shoes - no need of micro-spikes.

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

6 months ago

horseback riding
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Definitely a moderate hike but a great workout. Good views here and there. Deer everywhere. Lots of bikers on Nelson. Overall though great hike.

hiking
8 months ago

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.