Hike of the Week: Left Hand Canyon and Boulder Valley Ranch
Even if you’ve been around Boulder County just a little while, you probably have noticed a lot of places and businesses called Left Hand: Left Hand Brewery (a favorite of the writer’s), Left Hand Creek, Left Hand Canyon, etc. These places and the town, school, and mountain called Niwot are named in honor of the Arapahoe Native American, Chief Niwot; Niwot when translated means “left hand.” Chief Niwot and his people wintered in Boulder Valley and he welcomed those coming to Colorado for the Gold Rush, and he played a key role in attempting to keep the peace between the white settlers and the native tribes.
With that being said, the Hike of the Week is in Left Hand Canyon and Boulder Valley Ranch. Left Hand Canyon is northwest of Longmont off of Highway 66 and more specifically off of 75th and Hygiene Road. Left Hand Canyon provides access to 4×4 vehicles trails in the canyon, as well as Boulder Valley Ranch hiking, biking, and horse-back trails. The great thing about hiking in Boulder Valley Ranch is that like Chautauqua, with the intersecting trails, one can tailor his/her hike to whatever he/she likes. For a longer hike (about 4 miles) take this route:
- Take Cobalt
- to Eagle
- to Degge
- to Hidden Valley
- to Mesa Reservoir
- back to Eagle (be sure to go towards Cobalt)
- Cobalt back to the trailhead
As you’re hiking keep in mind that you may encounter coyotes, mule deer, rattle snakes and other wildlife on the trail, and keep your eyes open to enjoy the birds of prey that you may see soaring in the sky above. Also, you can find the old foundation of a homestead ¾ of a mile southwest from the trailhead. If you are interested in four-wheeling in Left Hand Canyon a helpful website which will give you an overview of difficulty and closings due to the September 2013 flood is TrailDamage.com.
Some things to keep in mind:
- No restroom facilities are available, but there is a parking lot available in Left Hand Canyon and Boulder Valley Ranch.
- Stay on the trail and pack out your trash
- Visit here for specific information and restrictions.