Betasso Ranch

Overview

Betasso Ranch Nature Preserve is a must visit if you are looking for a great place to hike near Boulder. The park has a variety of trails ranging in difficulty, most with a fair amount of tree cover, and one with a lovely mountain stream. For those with an acrobatic flare climbing is a popular activity that is enjoyed within the park. If you are looking for an excellent spot for a nice picnic this nature preserve will be sure to please with several vary large shelters.

8.8 Miles of Trails

Park Details

  • Hiking
  • Mountain Biking on most days (Mountain bikers are not allowed on all trails or in all directions.)
  • Centaurs Equestrians
  • Dogs are allowed on a leash
  • Open Sunrise to Sunset
  • Picnicking
  • Hunting is not permitted
  • Weapons are not allowed
  • Camping is prohibited
  • Drinking or drug use is not permitted
  • No entrance fees

Emergency contacts

Boulder County Ranger District @ (303) 541-2500

Boulder Parks and Open Space @ (303) 678-6200

If the event is life threatening dial 911

Quick Reference Map

Trail maps can be downloaded from Boulder County, and as always our free GPX files are also available for trip planning.

Canyon Loop Trail

Difficulty Rank6 (Moderate)
Views Rank6
Distance Rank3.2 Miles
Time Needed145 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Bummer Rock and Loop Link Trails
  • Loop Hike
  • Good Distance
  • Good Workout
  • Mountain Bikers need to follow the directional signs

Trailhead: S Lot Link | R or L on Canyon Loop Trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Views are good
  • Beautiful Pine forest and mountain prairies

Review:

Canyon loop trail is a hefty hike with lots to look at. While the views do not reach as far as they do in some of the other nearby parks they are still worth taking in. The trail is not overly strenuous, but will be a good workout. Being over three miles you will want to make sure you have plenty of water especially on warm days, and apply sunscreen before you hit the trail.

Bummer Rock Trail

Dead Tree on top of Bummer Rock in Betasso Preserve
Dead Tree on top of Bummer Rock
Difficulty Rank5 (Moderate)
Views Rank7
Distance Rank0.3 Miles
Time needed to hike7 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Lot link trail
  • Centaur and Hiker only man’s best friend can come too
  • Climbing

Trailhead: Starts at the parking area

Trail Highlights:

  • Great views of the front range
  • Great views of Boulder

Review:

Bummer rock is no bummer man, this trail while short has a good amount of elevation gain and some stellar 360 degree views from the summit. This is a popular place to climb and there is some hardware already on site, I don’t believe you are allowed to add new hardware here. Other than that the trail is easy to follow and has a good amount of tree cover until you reach the top where there are some really cool boulders to climb around on.

Betasso Link Trail

Difficulty Rank8 (Difficult)
Views Rank6
Distance Rank1.3 Miles
Time Needed30 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Canyon Loop trail
  • Very steep
  • Strong tree cover
  • Technical ride

Trailhead: starts at the parking area off highway 119 or the last parking area in Betasso park.

Trail Highlights:

  • Great workout

Review:

Looking for a grueling 1.3 mile hike to get you ready for the easy stuff in Betasso park? This trail is very steep with several switchbacks along the way. The forest is tall and provides a fair amount of cover from the sun, while the valley you will be hiking in blocks most of the wind. The lower parking area is small with only enough room for half a dozen well parked cars so stopping here to enter the park might not be an option during peak times.

Benjamin Loop

Difficulty Rank6 (Moderate)
Views Rank6
Distance Rank2.3 Miles
Time Needed70 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting Trails: 4 Mile link trail, and Loop link trail
  • Loop hike
  • Good tree cover most of the trail

Trailhead:Start at one of the parking areas off Fourmile canyon Dr. S – 4 Mile Link | L- Benjamin loop

Trail Highlights:

  • Beautiful forest

Review:

If you are planning on riding this trail you will want to pay close attention to the directional markers and know that there are certain days that you cannot ride in this park. When I do come to hike here I generally tend to pick the direction of travel that will allow me to meet mountain bikers head on. Mostly so I can practice the mad matador skills I picked up while writing my last trail guide. But in all seriousness I find it easier to get out of the way of mountain bikers when I can see them. Not that you will be looking for them per se because the forest on this trail is very beautiful and thick for most of the two and a half miles.

Loop Link Trail

Mountain prairie in Betasso Preserve
Mountain prairie in Betasso Preserve
Difficulty Rank5 (Moderate)
Views Rank6
Distance Rank0.7 Miles
Time Needed11 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Benjamin Loop and Canyon Loop
  • Short interconnect trail
  • Lite tree cover

Trailhead: Start at the Canyon Loop parking area

Trail Highlights:

  • Connects parking areas

Review:

There is really nothing to say about this trail, it connects two of the parking areas in the park. It is not steep and there is little in the way of tree cover.

4 Mile Link Trail

Foot bridge in Betasso Preserve near Boulder Colorado
Bridge in Betasso Preserve
Difficulty Rank7 (Moderate)
Views Rank7
Distance Rank0.8 Miles
Time Needed15 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Benjamin Loop
  • Short hike
  • Good tree cover
  • Stone Steps on trail

Trailhead: S On Street Parking

Trail Highlights:

  • Short connection trail
  • Creek
  • Stone steps up to road parking

Review:

There is a small parking pull off on the side of 4 mile canyon road, however there is a sign there stating that parking is for emergency and authorized vehicles only. The couple times I have hiked in this park I have seen people parked on the side of the road in other locations farther up and down the road so that may be an option for you. The hike is pleasantly tucked into the forest so sun and wind exposure is minimal. The trail is not very steep and there is a great bench by 4 mile creek where you should stop to take in the sights and sounds.

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