Walker Ranch Loop, 11/17/2002

Drove up Flagstaff Road from Boulder for about 8 miles to the trailhead where the S. Boulder Creek Trail and the Columbine Gulch Trail start. The sign at the traihead says that the Walker Ranch Loop is 7.8 miles long. We started hiking south along the S. Boulder Creek Trail at 12:55. The trail descends steeply until it reaches the creek. Crossing the creek, we continued hiking south, this time uphill, to the traihead of the Crescent Meadows trail. Just before reaching this trailhead, I noticed on a tree next to the trail a little metal object. It turned out to be a digital people counter, with an LCD display that shows how many people had walked by. Stefan pointed out that there was a reflector on a tree directly across the trail from it so that evidently a beam of light is broken when someone walks by the gadget. This was the first people counter installed on a trail that we had seen, presumably because we tend not to hike on trails near cities. We took a left at the Crescent Meadows Trailhead heading northeast down the Crescent Meadows Trail. We eventually crossed S. Boulder Creek a second time, then hiked north where the trail becomes the Eldorado Canyon Trail at a three way junction where the right branch, which we didn't take, goes to Eldorado Canyon State Park. Continuing on we eventually reached another three way junction where we turned left onto the Columbine Gulch Trail. This trail climbs steeply then eventually levels out before reaching the trailhead where we started. Near the top of the knob before descending to the trailhead we saw a buck with large antlers, and some does nearby which we took pictures of. Returned to the truck at 15:52, making a total time of 2 hrs, 57 mins to cover the 7.8 miles.