Snowshoe or Cross-Country Ski at Caribou Ranch

Colorado Caribou Ranch Open Space

Added by Brynn Schmidt

Awesome quiet spot for skiing and show shoeing within 40 minutes of Boulder. There is a beautiful loop trail that takes you through forest, open fields and around the old DeLonde homestead. Perfect for when you have about a half day to commit to an adventure in a gorgeous location.

The Caribou Ranch Open Space is about two miles north of the town of Nederland. From Nederland, at the town’s roundabout, head west on CO 72 for about two miles. Turn left onto CO 126 at the sign for Caribou Ranch Open Space. Follow the dirt road for about .8 miles until you see the large parking lot.

The trail starts at the parking lot for Caribou Ranch Open Space. Start out on the DeLonde trail and for about 1.2 miles you wind through the trees with occasional views of the surrounding mountain areas. The trial then meets up with the Blue Bird Loop and you enter more open land with incredible views. You can head either direction on this trail as it loops around the old homestead and through more forested land. The trail is a lolipop loop and is at a relatively high elevation of about 9,000 feet. Just be sure you are accustomed to the altitude.

It is a great historical location and you can read along the way about the Switzerland Trail and the train system that went through the area, as well as the history of the homestead. It has a unique and long history from the original homesteaders to a horse ranch with Arabian horse breeding and where films were made to the land purchase that renamed it Caribou Ranch. The ranch was also used for a period of time as a recording studio for bands such as U2, Elton John and many others.

The area is open most of the year, making for excellent summer hikes, fall hikes with incredible aspen color and snowshoeing/skiing in the winter. It is closed for a period of time in spring to protect wildlife in the region and migratory birds. There are moose in the area and there is a good chance you might see one. Just keep your distance.

And for those of you who love to hike with your dogs, you have to leave them at home for this one. No dogs are allowed and no mountain biking either. Also, this is Boulder County Open Space land and is open from sunrise to sunset. If your car is there after sunset, you will get ticketed.

Pack List

  • Layers of clothing in winter
  • Snowshoes or cross-country skis
  • Camera - so scenic and awesome barn photo opportunities
  • Water and snacks at least for food
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Hiking, Skiing, Snowshoeing

Skill Level:



Autumn, Winter

Trail Type:



4.2 Miles

Elev. Gain:

750 Feet



Family Friendly
Picnic Area

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How to Get There

3 months ago


This is an amazing loop to do on snowshoes (can also hike this loop during the summer months from Mud Lake trail). Not crowded, plenty of snow, and a well packed trail. Try it... you will enjoy!

3 months ago

Added by Brynn Schmidt

I love wilderness/beaches: photography, hiking, camping, backpacking, and hanging out with my guys while they climb. Mom, wife and co-founder of non-profit organization serving in Gabon and DRC, Africa. Find me on Instagram

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