I took some time off to check out TIMBBERLINE FALLS which was the hike we were scheduled to hike tomorrow and I don’t like it. Both campgrounds were in complete chaos. The campsites are full of families with kids kicking balls around, running into the roads, cyclists were all over the Peak to Peak Highway and in addition getting to Timberline Falls is a lot further from Nederland than I thought. I would like to stay within the Nederland/Caribou Theme for this 4th of July.
Caribou Ranch Open Space is Boulder's highest open space, well above 8000 feet. The Caribou Ranch Open Space provides a nice level trail with minimal elevation gain. Additionally, Caribou Ranch features a wide variety of wildlife not commonly seen in the other Boulder open spaces including Moose, Elk, the Short-tailed Weasel, and Beaver. A herd of at least 175 Elk use the area as transitional range in the spring and fall, with Elk calving and rearing in the spring.
Caribou Ranch is home to the Delonde Homestead, set in a meadow that includes Beaver ponds. An old ranch road pulls off of Blue Bird Loop to the homestead. There are picnic tables near the homestead. The trails of Caribou Ranch Open Space not only wind through excellent wildlife habitat, but also take you on a historic journey into the mining era of the 1870s, past an old homestead, and along a scenic railroad route of the early 1900s. This moderate trail starts in a ponderosa pine and Douglas fir forest. The area also features the Blue Bird Mine, though the mine complex can not be directly accessed. A small trail segment leads off of Blue Bird Loop up to the mine.
The heavy density of Aspens makes Caribou Ranch an excellent spot for fall aspen color tree viewing, certainly some of the best near Boulder and Nederland.
No dogs are permitted in Caribou Ranch.
This is a easy 7-8 mile stroll through a very pleasant area...very nice memories of the mid 70's.
Directions to Mud Lake TRAIL HEAD
From Denver, take US-36 into the city of Boulder or 93 from Golden. Take CO-119/Canyon Blvd west for 17.1 miles, to the town of Nederland. You will see Barker Meadow Reservoir on your left. At the town's round about, you will take CO-72 (Peak To Peak Hwy) Take gravel road CR-126. Do not take the Caribou Ranch Rd. which is the first road you'll come to when you're driving out of town. Take a right at the SECOND sign that says Caribou Open Space and the look for the parking lot for MUD LAKE.
We’ll pick up the trail near the information board and walk about 150 ft to where the trail connects with the Mud Lake Trail. We’ll hang a left and hike alongside Mud Lake until we connect with the Tungstun Loop Trail for a few hundred ft when the Tungstun Loop Trail connects with the Kinnickinnick Loop. This loop is around 1.1 miles. Take a left at the Kinnickinnick Loop until we arrive where we started at the Tungstun Loop. We’ll take a left at the trail sign and hike .5 miles to connect with the Caribou Ranch Link for another 5 miles to the Caribou Ranch Open Space. The Caribou Ranch Open Space Loop and the Blue Bird Loop is a 5 mile loop. The Delonde Homestead is where we’ll explore this “ghost town” and have lunch.
On the way back we’ll follow the Caribou Ranch Open Space Trail to the Tungstun Loop where we’ll take another left to connect with the Mud Lake Trail and back to where we started from.
After the hike we’re heading back to Nederlands but not until I show you something very special which inspired my youth!!! The Caribou Ranch Recording Studio! My aunt was a recording producer at Caribou so I spent 4 of my high school years up in Nederland and had the best time a kid could ask for. Spending time with musicians such as Dan Fogleberg, Joe Walsh before he became a member of the Eagles and Gerry Beckley from the group AMERICA are memories I’ll never forget. I was there when Elton John had an argument with Stevie Wonder who was going to drive into Nederland! Of course we all know Stevie Wonder is blind. Sir Elton was recording an album titled, "Caribou".
So, what we need to do is head on back on the Peak to Peak Highway until we see a sigh which says Sugarloaf Mountain. Remember the group Sugarloaf (Green eyed Lady)? Take a left there and wait until we’re all together. What you’ll see from this perch could have been and maybe should have been a Colorado Woodstock!!!
Rose of Cimmarron by POCO
Most of the key players on the West Coast/Colorado country rock circuit had crossed paths many times by then. They’d jammed and sung informally, sat in with each other’s groups, and written songs together. They’d caroused with the womenfolk, told many a tall tale, and shared mass quantities of controlled substances (thus making “Rocky Mountain High” a double entendre). I used to watch a lot of people from this overlook when I was a kid…very good people! We’ll have to park on the side of the road and should stay just for a short time.
Part of the Plan by Dan Fogleberg
From here we’ll continue to travel on the dirt road back to the Peak to Peak and into Nederland. Drive slow on the way down and look to your right and you’ll see a gateway made of wooden logs. This is the gateway to the Caribou Ranch Recording Studio. Many of you may have a CHICAGO album with a picture of the band sitting on a wooden gate. It’s the same!!!
We’ll continue into Nederland and meet at the
Please read about this incredible carousel and how it found its way to Nederland, CO. This carousel has gone through more innovations, reconstruction and maintenance than the Alamo. Once we get reunited we’ll go shopping in Nederland. If you take a look at a MJ shop by the name of the Canary Sings, this was Joe Walsh’s studio apartment while he was working on his solo album Barnstorm. We'll definitely check out the Pioneer Bar where most of these musicians hung out together, had Friday night concerts and had a Peaceful Easy Feeling!
Let's hang out in Nederland, listen to some music in Chipeta Park, and then head on down to Barker Reservoir for the firework display which I believe begins at 9 PM.
Have a great day everyone!