Walker Ranch Loop Trail

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Walker Ranch Park

Walker Ranch Loop Trail is a 8.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Boulder, Colorado that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.3 miles Elevation Gain: 1,650 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Walker Ranch is a fantastic loop that can be taken both clockwise and counter. Going counter clockwise starts you off on a fantastic downhill, just be careful for hikers and dogs. Once at the bottom, you will start a moderate but tiring climb that eventually opens up at the top into an area with a parking lot, which is where the real fun starts! From this point you will experience what some would argue is 2 miles of the best downhill you will ever ride. This is followed by a short portage down some very steep steps, followed by another moderate climb back to the trail head. If you still need more, just turn around and start again going the opposite direction.

hiking
off trail
rocky
14 hours ago

It’s pretty difficult. It gets a little tricky cause it’s not marked the best when you get down by the river the 2nd time. It’s hard because you start going downhill and lose a ton in elevation then have to gain it all at the end. It’s pretty but does drag towards the end! Beautiful views though and lots of differently landscape views! Reward yourself after by hitting up Avery’s for a beer.

hiking
2 days ago

Got there this morning at 7 AM and the lot was probably 2/3 full, by the time I finished 2 and a half hours later it was completely full. This is a gorgeous but long hike that goes through a number of different biomes, length-aside is not as difficult as some of the hikes in Boulder but isn’t a total walk in the park either. Absolutely would recommend

2 days ago

Hiked 5/29: lots of parking at trailhead at 8:15 am, packed at noon. People will try to rush you out so they can have your spot which is annoying after 4 hours of exerting in the heat - give me two seconds of rest please!! As for the trail, I chose the "better view" path as recommended by previous posters and immensely enjoyed going CLOCKWISE... aside from the stairs, it was 7 miles of downhill, with 1 mile of uphill at the end. no regrets! bikers were mostly respectful and kind, with just a couple rude jerks who didn't announce themselves or slow down. such is life of a shared trail - get over it or don't go I guess! hummingbirds and butterflies everywhere, lots of variety in terrain, and overall a wonderful trail!!

hiking
2 days ago

Beautiful hike that has a mix of everything! Got there at 8:30 on a Saturday and the main and upper parking lots were full. Lots of exposed areas so bring sunscreen. Not much room to socially distance on some areas of the trail and watch out for mountain bikers. Went counterclockwise which I enjoyed but the 7th mike is a steep uphill climb. Finished in 2 hours and 45 mins. at a moderate/fast pace. Next time I would try to get there earlier as it was very busy.

hiking
3 days ago

pup and i hiked this trail for the first time today and i found it to be one of the most stunning trails i have experienced in boulder! a combination of sun/shade/water/wildflowers/vistas/challenge made for a wonderful few hours in nature. the only bothersome part were the few mountain bikers going tremendously fast and not announcing themselves on narrow parts-just felt disrespectful. many other bikers/hikers super considerate, especially where social distancing was concerned.

hiking
4 days ago

5/28/20 - loved this hike! 4.5 Stars! I have certain criteria that I feel make for a great hike and this one had it all! Great views, wildflowers, rivers, shade, sun, uphill and downhill, a great workout and not too crowded! I didn’t even get on the trail until almost 1 PM on a Thursday and I went ahead and did the full 9 mile loop and only saw a handful of people every now and then. You really can’t go wrong with this hike… It has everything a person could want. I would not rate this hike as hard… I actually thought that it was fairly moderate. I started at 1pm and finished at 4pm. I don’t typically like to do the same hike twice, but for this one I will make an exception.

hiking
5 days ago

Really gorgeous trail. You get a nice view of the foothills and some wildflowers, and then it takes you down in the forest along a river. Wish I had started earlier in the day so I could complete the loop. I made it 2 miles in before turning around because it started to rain. Went at noon on a week day and did not run into a lot of people.

hiking
6 days ago

Really pretty. It was a nice hike. The only annoyance was there gunshots heard for about 1 mile of the hike.

hiking
6 days ago

I'm not sure if I agree with others that going counter-clockwise is more moderate. It's definitely true, however, that going clockwise means you have to climb up the steep staircase about 1/3 of the way through rather than down, but you gain your elevation one way or another. Clockwise provides better views, in my opinion.

hiking
8 days ago

Went for this hike yesterday! Every bit of it was absolutely beautiful! Views and river in parts. Definitely will get your heart rate up in section but felt wonderful and was well worth every bit of it! Got there about 8:30am and it was still pretty crowded. Parking lot was full, short wait for another car to depart. Overall, it was an excellent hike and experience!

8 days ago

I hiked this trail in January of this year. It is a nice trail to take visitors. I will hike the trail again when boulder removes the mask requirement. Reminder, the trail is outside.

hiking
9 days ago

This trail was great! We went today and event thought it’s labeled difficult, it’s definitely a trail you can handle. Plenty of shade, plenty of running water. We went counter clockwise ( right side) and I think going that route is what made it a little more of a moderate level. For a hard level I would recommend going clockwise (left side). Have fun! Take lots of photos !

hiking
9 days ago

One of my favorite trails in the Boulder area. Loved being able to pop into the State Park with some beautiful scenery. Can’t wait to go back!

hiking
9 days ago

This is a great all in one trail. If you are looking for something to get the best of all worlds, this is the trail for you.

mountain biking
10 days ago

This is not a trail for a newby mountain biker like myself but I had good company thay were very supportive the whole way!! It was really challenging but it was worth it all! I loved everything !

hiking
11 days ago

Great trail!!! Did it today with my fiancee and our dogs. The weather was great. Lightly traveled. Some mountain bikers and runners along the trail.

hiking
12 days ago

Always enjoy this loop! It was good to see everyone wearing their masks even though we’re in nature.

hiking
12 days ago

This trail has it all. Beautiful vistas, water features, various eco systems, and tons of ponderosa pines (smell the trunks on a warm day - you’ll get vanilla or butterscotch! They are the ones with the longer needles). We stopped and dipped our feet in the river. Wasn’t too busy on a weekend. Most people respected the face mask at the trailhead and when passing others rule.

hiking
13 days ago

Did my birthday hike here and I absolutely loved it! Such a beautiful hike, the river is absolutely breath taking! We went clockwise and the ending was a little dreadful as it was pretty elevated and we ran out of water. But it was definitely worth it! Watch out for bikers cause with how steep some parts are, they’re going pretty fast! I’d definitely recommend bringing a lot of water beings how I ran out after 5 miles. (I had 2 liters)

hiking
13 days ago

Did this hike on 5/19 for the first time and it was very dry and not too crowded, although we started around 9:30 am. It was mostly pretty gradual and a few steep parts, but very beautiful, plenty of shade and water down by the river. It took about 3 hours with only a few stops for water and to cool off. Face masks are required at the trail head and six foot distance while on the trail. Would recommend the counter-clockwise direction, to avoid a large hill at the end. It didn't feel like 8 miles. Will definitely be doing it again.

hiking
rocky
13 days ago

Did this hike on 5/17 and it was awesome. One of my favorites. The trail is long, but I feel like it had a good mix of hard and easy parts. Lots of shade and being by the water is nice for those parts. Did it in 4 hours, but I was taking pictures. Views are beautiful, trail is clean and dry. There are quite a few mountain bikers so just be careful. Also, they are requiring face masks or a covering for when you pass people. Just a heads up. Enjoy, you'll feel accomplished after.

hiking
14 days ago

Gorgeous trail, takes you through multiple types of landscapes. We hiked it clockwise (the more strenuous route, according to other reviews). Took us under 3 hours at a nice steady pace, but you’ll feel the burn by the end!

hiking
bugs
no shade
15 days ago

Great trail! Mostly everyone was wearing masks and courteous when passing.

hiking
rocky
15 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

SO fun! took us ~4 hours hiking counter-clockwise, but we took our time and stopped at the water/for views/etc. Got there around 3:30 and left at 7, wasn’t too busy. Beautiful views, some steep hilly spots but not too bad. Highly recommend

This is an incredible but strenuous hike. I'd recommend starting the trail by going right, as it will save you a massive climb at the end when you're headed back to the parking lot. If you head this way, there will be lots of shade and a beautiful river for a good portion of the first half of the hike. The trail opens up and gets a lot more sun as you continue on though. Pretty popular bike trail, so keep an eye out for them. Considering there are parts of this hike that don't provide any shade, be sure to bring plenty of water. If you bring a dog with you, I'd highly recommend splashing around in the river with them to cool off at some point!

hiking
17 days ago

8.8/10 Went clockwise , would recommend this way to avoid steeper inclines on final stretch. Crosses river multiple times for pups. Overall, a great, semi leisurely hike barring a 100 yard section of boulders near river.

hiking
18 days ago

I have hiked this loop many times but today had so many bikers with NO trail etiquette! They need to enforce some kind of ruling where bikers go opposite direction of walkers because there will end of being an accident with out rules. At least you could avoid near misses if they are coming at you!

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