Magnolia Non Motorized Trails Project
The best backcountry riding experience close to the city.
Magnolia Non-Motorized Trails Project
After years of solid partnership with the Boulder Ranger District (BRD), a $40,000 planning grant, and a ton of hard work, the US Forest Service (USFS) has approved an expansion of designated trails around the Nederland area that is on scale with the Buffalo Creek system.
In partnership with the USFS, BMA, the Nederland Area Trails Organization (NATO) and other stakeholders will spend several years bringing this vision to fruition. Learn more on the official USFS Magnolia Implementation page.
Sugar Magnolia and Aspen Alley Intersection Reroute
The 450 feet of Aspen Alley is in a drainage and water flow has caused a deep rut. Work will include realigning this trail segment slightly to the south and out of the drainage. The 926 connector to the road is a duplicate and will be decommissioned. BMA has contracted professional trailbuilders to help with this section and there will be machine work.
This short trail extension will connect the Aspen Alley/Whoop-di-does trails to the Observatory trailhead, allowing users to access the main parking lot without traveling on the road. BMA has contracted professional trailbuilders to help with this section and there will be machine work.
BMA and Contour Logic installed trail signs in the West Mag lower system in November! Gone are the days of random trail numbers or no markers at all.
A brand-spanking new one just opened on June 7 in West Magnolia! BMA is super excited to bring you… New 34 (official name TBD). It’s super flowy and fun and chock full of rocky bike-optimized alternative lines. And while we were up there last week, we also improved the trail intersection of Re-Root and Hobbit 1.
Professional trail builders alongside volunteer crews have been working to add BRAND NEW singletrack to the West Magnolia trail system.
What is the Magnolia Non-Motorized Trails Project?
The Magnolia Non-Motorized Trails Project is a a USFS-designated 44+ mile, non-motorized stacked loop trail system with improved connectivity and sustainability that conforms to environmental and recreation standards and includes:
- New restrooms and expanded parking at Front Range and West Magnolia trailhead
- Connectivity to the Toll Conservation Easement Trail, a 12-mile trail that will connect Magnolia to Jenny Creek and the traverse to Winter Park
- Connectivity via singletrack trail to the Town of Nederland
- Winter grooming opportunity for Nordic skiing and fat tire biking
- Improved signage with an app-based trail map to assist in determining your ride
Why are some trails being obliterated?
The USFS determined that about 20+ miles of existing user-created social trails are redundant, unsustainable, on private property, in a wildlife sensitive area, and/or in critical habitat.
Where is it located?
The trail system is located just south/southeast/east of Nederland on 6,000 acres branching out from the Peak to Peak Highway in areas known as East Magnolia and West Magnolia.
When can I ride it?
The project will be completed over the course of the next seven to ten years. The area will be open to biking, with partial closures, depending on construction and safety issues, in limited areas.
What is the cost?
The estimates vary, but BMA believes the total cost to be between $1-2M.
How will it get accomplished? What is BMA’s role?
- Through partnerships with the USFS, community groups such as the Nederland Area Trail Organization, Boulder Nordic Club, Boulder Area Trails Coalition, and others, money is being raised through grants and donations to accomplish the plan.
- The USFS will contract with professional trail building companies, youth trail crews, and volunteer groups to build and improve the trail systems as proposed by the USFS.
- BMA expects to fundraise up to 20% of the project costs over the next three to seven years, totalling $200,000 to $400,000.
Why is this important?
- This change, initiated by USFS internal policy, is unavoidable. By collaborating constructively, good things can happen. Many of us know, love, and care for the trails and unique opportunities around Nederland – not just in the Magnolia area.
- BMA wants to preserve what is awesome, address the problems identified by the USFS, and add new, even more awesome opportunities into the mix, creating a system that is easier to navigate and offers more large loops for riding.
- Get involved. Join BMA, participate in the implementation process, volunteer or fundraise, and experience firsthand how BMA is engaging with the USFS, the citizens of Nederland and Boulder, and BMA’s 1000+ members.
How do I view the USFS documents of the final approved system?
Here are all the USFS docs for the final approved system.
Where can I find the final trail system map?
Here is the final trail system map.
- Trail Signs: BMA installed sign posts and USFS trail signs in the lower West Mag system. A couple signs weren’t created or were printed incorrectly and will be updated in 2021. The biggest change is that Hobbit is now one longer trail incorporating the old Hobbit 1, Hobbit 2, the east section of Hobbit 3 and New 34.
- New 34: BMA opened a brand new trail on 6/7 connecting the high point of Lookout to the high point of Hobbit 3. This trail is a mile long and flows through the forest with many bike-optimized alternative lines. This trail was completed with Contour Logic, Gumption Trail Works, Rocky Mountain Youth Corp, and BMA and US Bank volunteers.
- Re-Root/Hobbit 1 intersection: In June, BMA realigned these trails to reduce intersections from three to one for increased intuitive navigation, to discourage off trail use, and to bypass an eroded section of trail. Contour Logic and volunteers built 660 feet of new trail and reclaimed 500 feet.
- Hobbit 1 Intersection: In October, we extended Hobbit 1 to the center parking lot and the Observatory trailhead. This short segment adds connectivity and more intuitive navigation.
- The CalWood Fire and subsequent national forest closure aborted our fall 2020 projects. We have moved the Handshake extension and the Aspen Alley/Sugar Mag realignment to spring 2021.
- Short Stack: This new trail opened on 8/24/2019 connects Observatory to Hobbit 2. Short Stack is about 1/3 of a mile long and gently climbs through a clear-cut hillside from Observatory then descends to the mid-point of Hobbit 2. Offering great views of the mountains to the west, it’s a beautiful way to get non-motorized users off the road and creates a smaller loop in the system.
- New 34: BMA started work on a new trail connecting Lookout to Hobbit 3.
- ReRoot Trail Extension: ReRoot Trail’s eastern point ended on Haul Road, not the Magnolia Road trailhead at the Peak to Peak Highway. BMA built a new trail to extend to the existing ReRoot Trail at the first climbing turn on Aspen Alley.
- Hobbit 2, Hobbit 3 & School Bus Trail Intersection: BMA cleaned up intersections so that Hobbit 2, Hobbit 3, and School Bus are all connected by singletrack trail. This made navigation more intuitive, and is part of the initiative of the Magnolia Non-Motorized Trail plan to reduce total intersections.
- Hobbit 1, 2 and 3 improvements: NATO and BMA fixed steep, eroded sections making them fun and ride-able in both directions in keeping with the planned character for the Zone 1 trails close to town to be quick rides and easily accessible to the intermediate rider.
- SuperVü: NATO built SuperVü in July 2018 from Clear Cut to the midpoint of Aspen Alley. The second half of the trail to the Magnolia Road trailhead will be completed in 2019.
- BMA finished the Sugar Magnolia reroute.
- BMA rerouted 400 feet of Sugar Magnolia that was on private property. It is now a handbuilt singletrack.
- BMA turned the old Whoop-di road into a trail and connected it to the trailhead.
- BMA worked on Aspen Alley area. Scope included rerouting the trail that was heavily damaged by logging trucks in the 2012-2013 Fuels Mitigation project, handbuilding new singletrack, and maintaining existing trails to link the Peak-to-Peak trailhead via sinuous singletrack to the work done by NATO on Lookout trail. Mountain Flyer featured this project in their Summer 2019 edition.
- BRD released its final decision to approve the Magnolia Non-Motorized Trails Project.
2012 – 2014
- BMA partnered with USFS and applied for a planning grant to help USFS create a management plan for the West Magnolia area (later expanded to include all of the Magnolia Trails by USFS).
- BMA hired Contour Logic to conduct the work and the final draft was submitted to USFS.
- A public engagement process was conducted as part of this planning effort that showed considerable alignment among local and regional riders in what they wanted out of the West Mag area for the future.
- BMA continued with reroute of Sugar Magnolia to armor bottom of trail.
- Wildland Restoration Volunteers (WRV) contracted with BRD to rebuild Sugar Magnolia with BMA as a volunteer partner.
- Singletrack Trails was hired as the pro trail contractor. Five project days and 166 volunteers combined to move the trail mostly off private land and make it sustainable.
- BMA and BRD applied for and secured a State Trails Planning grant ($40,000) and hired two trail consultants to develop a proposed management plan for the area.
- Construction of Reroot began.
- BRD requested BMA help fix the private property and erosion problems on Sugar Mag.
- Partnering with Wildland Restoration Volunteers (WRV) as technical consultants, BMA helped create the new trail alignment.
- Bicycle Colorado Trail Pros delivered initial plan to USFS BRD.
- BRD requested BMA to work on Root Canal and Hobbits.
- BMA volunteers began looking at system-wide issues in the West Mag area and mapping opportunities for trail improvements inlcuding better connectivity of system trails.
- BMA signed contract with Bicycle Colorado Trail Pros to conduct trail improvements plan.
- Boulder Mountain Bike Patrol signed service agreement with USFS BRD to patrol the West Mag area on all weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day. This was the start of what is now the most successful bike patrol in the country, perhaps the world.
2004 & 2005
- BMA conducted critical maintenance on trails that USFS deemed environmentally damaging in the West Mag area.
- BRD finished Caribou-Magnolia Travel Management Plan
- BMA advocacy efforts led to a hybrid of two decision alternatives that gave us the baseline of access to the Hobbits and other near-Nederland trails.
- BMA stepped into a stewardship role helping the under-resourced BRD to develop signage and maps, conduct trail maintenance, and patrol the area for the safety of recreational users.
- BRD’s plan identified that Sugar Magnolia and Reroot/RootCanal were crossing private property and were often straight fall line (20% slope in places) trails that needed to be moved onto public land and brought up to spec.
- BMA worked with the USFS to make Magnolia trails legal to ride.
- BMA advocated and gained approval for option that granted more trail access and increased connectivity.