October 23 Update: Initial look at Heil Valley Ranch from Boulder County Parks & Open Space presentation to POSAC – Read more. The Lefthand Canyon fire is 100% contained. The CalWood fire is 55% contained.
The CalWood Fire is the largest fire in modern Boulder County history and the Lefthand Canyon fire poses danger to the communities of Ward and Gold Hill. Our hearts go out to everyone who has lost their homes or has been evacuated or impacted. If you have a chance to help in any way (put up your mountain bike buddy who is evacuated, donate some time/money to help), now is the time to be that kind of hero! BMA is not designed to be an emergency response organization, but we’re going to do our best to provide some resources in this mess (to help you understand what is going on, how you might help, and, yes, where you might still be able to ride if you need a break from it all).
Boulder County Parks & Open Space (BCPOS) reports that the CalWood Fire has burned significant forest acreage at Heil Valley Ranch, particularly in the area surrounding the upper parking lot. However, early reports indicate that all major structures and equipment on the open space property have survived the fire. That includes the ranger’s residence, the Altona Schoolhouse, the Corral Trailhead, and the bathrooms and shelter at the main trailhead. Numerous outbuildings and historic structures are assumed to have been lost, as well as bridges and signs. We don’t have an update on the trails yet, but a full safety and resources damage assessment will begin after fire operations have deemed it safe for staff. Please honor the closures, rangers and fire personnel remain on site.
This extreme fire danger has led the USDA Forest Service’s Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests to enact a temporary closure of all National Forest land in Clear Creek, Jefferson, Gilpin, Boulder, and Larimer counties, effective at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 21. This decision will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change.
Where can I ride?
First, things will likely change daily. Don’t be surprised if you get to a trailhead and have to head somewhere else (or home).
Ok, so as of 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday Oct. 21, here is what is OPEN:
- Betasso Preserve
- Walker Ranch
- Rabbit Mountain
- Boulder Valley Ranch
- Marshall Mesa / Doudy Draw
- The trails in East Boulder County
- Erie Singletrack
- Teller Farms
- Coal Creek Trail
- Get out your gravel bike
What we know is CLOSED:
- Heil Valley Ranch (duh, it’s on fire)
- Hall Ranch
- Joder Trail & Buckingham Park
- Anne U. White (can’t bike there, but if you fancied a hike)
- Caribou Open Space (also can’t bike there, but nope, closed)
- All US Forest Service lands/trails in Boulder County including, but not limited to:
- West Magnolia
- East Magnolia
- Brainard Lake/Camp Dick (Sourdough, South St. Vrain, Buchanan Pass, etc.)
- Ceran St. Vrain
- Lefthand OHV
BMA is standing by to assist BCPOS with repairs to Heil. You can support our efforts by joining or renewing your BMA membership.
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