Heil Valley Ranch

3.77 out of 5
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↑ 3,300 ft
↓ 4,100 ft
elevation (ft)

Trail Description
About this trail
There are currently 13.5 miles of bike-legal trails at Heil Valley ranch, but in order to ride all of them at once you’d have to do at least 23-24 miles of pedaling. The trail system is basically laid out with a figure 8 around the top of the mountain/ridge, and an out-and-back trail running up to it from the north and one from the south. The trailhead location given here, and one of the most popular rides, is to ride from the southern trailhead, up the 2.5-mile trail, around some of the trails on top, and back down. The out-and-back trail coming in from the north is 5.5 miles one-way, so riding from the northern trailhead would make for a longer ride… and riding absolutely everything would make for a grueling experience with tons of climbing.

But all of that climbing is worth it, though! The trails here sport that characteristic Front Range rockiness, with plenty of chunk to pedal through on the climb up and around the upper trails. However, there are a few buff sections of trail thrown in at random, and none of the rocks are seriously big. It is all very easy to pedal through, and by Front Range standards is probably only intermediate in difficulty.

Once at the top, be sure to take in the amazing views of the Front Range! Then get ready to descend. The descent back down is what it’s all about, and despite all of the rocks these trails sport some serious flow! All of the undulations, grade reversals, and swooping turns are just perfect, allowing you to carry some serious speed. But since both of the trails climbing to the top are ridden out-and-back, be sure to watch for oncoming traffic and to always ride in control. This trail is very popular, so keep your eyes peeled and don’t get too crazy… but have fun, because the bomb back down is awesome!
added by JohnsXCbikeTrailblazer April 12, 2005
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
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Trail Q&A
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System Trails (4)
System Trails (4)
Wapiti Trail
Ponderosa Loop
Wild Turkey Trail
Picture Rock Trail
Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
what's this?
Recent Trail Check-ins     (34 total check-ins)
  Sam Marshall   5 days ago
  djj1924   on Mar 22, 2015
  rcraft6826   on Mar 15, 2015
  antho_bldr   on Oct 31, 2014
  zmiko   on Oct 19, 2014
Photo & Video Gallery (96)
Trail Photos & Videos (96)
Reviews (59)

June 16, 2015
Review: My wife and I rode this last year and came back to ride it again. This is just a wonderful trail.

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November 29, 2014
Review: Super fun! Not too techie or steep. Kept thinking the whole time that the wife would enjoy this trail.

Similar Trail: Picture Rock

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August 4, 2014
Review: Very fun trail. Can be accessed either off Hwy 7 in Lyons to start with Picture Rock trail (5.2 miles of unremitting uphill but with some nice views) or off Hwy 36 closer to Boulder and heading up Wapiti Trail (2.5 miles of rockier trail but more fun and what I would recommend). Once at the top, there are 3 interconnected loops. At the end of Wapiti, if you head left and go clockwise you'll Ponderosa Loop first. The trail builders have done an EXTRAORDINARY JOB - dips and berms with a few rocks and roots thrown in. After about a mile, there is a beautiful lookout. You can head right onto Wild Turkey (nice but rocky) or continue on Ponderosa. Continuing on, you hit a fantastic, fast section through the trees which eventually dumps you onto the rocky but more fun section of Wild Turkey. You can then do Picture Rock as an out and back or keep stacking loops and take Wapiti back down. I really enjoy this trail. It may not be for everyone but, IMHO, the section of Ponderosa is about as much fun as anything Monarch Crest or Trail 401 has to offer (only lacks their breathtaking beauty).

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July 28, 2014
Review: I'm visiting the area and I'm on a steel hard tail...so I hated this trail the first time out...super rocky and a serious and literal PITA. However, now that I've done it a few times I'm having lots of fun on the trail and it is an excellent challenge to clear everything and brave the knarly bits at speed. This trail brings all my bike handling skills into play from fast and flowy turns just nipping past tree trunks to fairly technical 'pick the right line or yer done for' climbs and descents. I have to be paying attention the whole way or chaos will ensue!

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May 25, 2014
Review: I was intrigued by the mixed reviews this one gets. Many rave, many decry--I have joined the former category. This trail has a lot going for it. Gradual, manageable climb, a few techy bits to make it more interesting, and Picture Rock has wonderful flow, especially on the descent. Flow from one little techy bit to the next up top and then swoopy and fast on the bottom. Good variety of singletrack and very nice scenery as well. I didin't get to ride it all due to recent rains, but I'll be back to get the rest next time I'm in the area.

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May 3, 2014
Review: Trail is closed May 3 2014

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October 29, 2013
Review: Not a bad climb and the ridge riding at the top is excellent. Good chance to see wildlife and great views.

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June 15, 2013
Review: This is a great, well-maintained trail with some good vertical footage. The loose rocks, which everyone seems to be commenting about, certainly make it a lot more challenging than it would be otherwise. I feel bad for anyone taking a hard tail on this trail... very bumpy! The top loop has gotten much more flowy over the past year of trail work. Still plenty of rocks to leave your butt sore but much better than it used to be. The downhill on the way back to the parking lot is a ton of fun and is a great run to get your confidence up if you are new to the sport. Hall Ranch nearby is a lot faster and flowy than this one, if that's what you're looking for.

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June 2, 2013
Review: Awesome trail! The ride up is not difficult at any one point, but by time you ride the entire hill you will feel it. The down is a blast. All this discussion about rocks is ridiculous, it is a MTBing trail in Colorado. The area is beautiful and the trail is one of the best on the Front Range ( top 5 ) Don't miss this ride.

Similar Trail: Hall Ranch, not much else compares.

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May 6, 2013
Review: i rode this under shitty conditions, so i'm sure it's a little better (if it's not horribly eroded and gets about a foot of dirt to cover the nasty spiked rocks EVERYWHERE).

i rode this trail hoping there would be some rhythm and flow, but it's nothing but 6in rocks sticking out of the ground waiting to slash the sidewalls of your tires.

i'm sure it would be better on an all mountain bike or something longer than a 4' travel XC bike.

it's bumpy as hell, so much so that it just wasn't enjoyable.

there's literally no reprieve from the bumps, which makes for an incredible workout climbing up picture rock, but also makes it very frustrating when you're just looking for some fast trail riding and do not want to have to crawl through rock gardens and spikey rocks kicking your rear tire around every which way.

definitely avoid. this trail is WAY WAY WAY overhyped.

the picture rock descent is fun, but you're better off riding to the bottom of the picture rock trailhead and skipping heil ranch altogether.

This trail has NO flow--unless you absolutely rail down it on a loooong travel bike.

It's the equivalent of riding 20 miles on ANNOYING speed bumps.

The people that are raving about this trail are the rock garden lovers and the 150mm travel crowd.

any trail 'flows' if you're fast enough, but you can hardly call it flow when every element of the trail works to slow you to a crawl and force you off your bike.

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Heil Valley Ranch MTB Trail 3.77 out of 5 based on 59 ratings. 59 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed
Feature Article
North Table Mountain and Heil Valley Trail Reports