Site Details

descriptions and directions

Cottonwood Marsh photo by Peter Burke

Accessible Walker Ranch Open Space - Boulder County
Aliases: Meyers Homestead trail, Gross Reservoir State Wildlife Area
Ownership: None Listed
Description: This was the site of the Walker Ranch Fire in 2000, which burned much of the park. Three-toed Woodpeckers have taken up residence in the resulting burn, but they can be very difficult to find, and both Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers are far more common. In some years, winter trips to the burn have also produced Bohemian Waxwing, White-winged Crossbill, Northern Pygmy-Owl and Eastern Bluebird, though none of these is to be expected. More likely are mixed flocks of chickadees, nuthatches, kinglets, creepers, juncos, robins and solitaires. Any of Colorado's regular raptors might fly over.

The upper parts of the Meyers Homestead trail, starting about a mile from the parking lot, have been productive on recent spring and early summer nights for Common Poorwill and Flammulated Owl. The poorwills are rather common and may be almost anywhere in the area, but typically call mostly during a brief period right around dusk, and only sporadically thereafter. The Flammulated Owls are on the steep wooded hillside across the stream from the trail, starting about a mile from the parking lot and continuing until the trail bends away from the stream, about a mile later. Unfortunately, water and airplane noise can make owling difficult, and the owls are silent some nights even in peak season. Northern Saw-whet and Northern Pygmy-Owls are a possibility along this trail as well, as is Dusky Grouse during the day.

Just down the road from the Walker Ranch trailheads, and contiguous with part of the burn, is the Gross Reservoir State Wildlife Area. I have never seen a SINGLE waterbird on this reservoir, but you could get lucky. The surrounding forests have the same potential as those of Walker Ranch.

Habitat: Burn Area, Ponderosa Forest, Mountain Meadow, Stream, Aspen Grove
Directions: There are two trailheads in the Walker Ranch Open Space. The Meyers Homestead trail leaves from the trailhead on the west side of Rd 77, about 1.5 miles beyond Kossler Lake if you are coming from Boulder. The other trailhead provides access to the Columbine Gulch and South Boulder Creek Trails and is accessed via the short dirt road that leaves Rd 77 at its sharp turn to the right (west) just beyond the turnoff to the other trailhead. Gross Reservoir is along Rd 77 a few miles farther west. Rd 77 is the continuation of Flagstaff Mountain Road, which itself is the continuation of Baseline Road in south Boulder.
Other Wildlife:
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