There are few things as inspiring as a bluebird winter day here in Colorado, perfect for getting out and exploring, and that is exactly what I found when I arrived at Caribou Ranch Open Space earlier this week. Rich with history, this area is home to the former route of the Denver, Boulder and Western Railroad that ran from 1904 to 1919 and a place that miners once flocked to for work. You might even spot the DeLonde Barn on your way around the Bluebird Loop trail, which was once home to a recording studio that attracted many of the musical greats including Elton John, Rod Stewart, and Chicago.


Caribou Ranch is a really great place for an afternoon out. Set just a few miles north of Nederland, it is easily accessible even after a recent snowfall, and offers a variety of outdoor activities to please just about anyone. There are about 4.5 miles of trail to be found at Caribou Ranch that can accommodate hikers, snowshoers, cross country skiers, and equestrians (sorry, no mountain bikes or dogs allowed here).

While there is not an incredible amount of snow at the moment, you might consider tossing your snowshoes in your trunk (just in case!), but you can leave your skis at home until we get another round of snow up that way. If you find that you work up an appetite on your trek you can stop off back in Nederland for a hearty meal or even just a cup of hot chocolate to warm up. The visitor’s center is also really helpful here with answering any questions you might have about the area.

Keep an eye out for wildlife here as elk, black bear, mule deer, mountain lions, coyote, bobcat, beaver, bat and short-tailed weasel have all been spotted here, though majority won’t be showing up until later this spring.


What to Bring:

  • layers (if the wind picks up it can get quite cold through here!)
  • sunglasses
  • camera
  • good pair of hiking shoes
  • water
  • snowshoes (just in case!)

Getting There:

From Nederland, follow CO-72 for about 7 miles. Turn left into CO Rd. 116 and follow for about 3 miles to the trailhead and parking lot.