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Hall Ranch Trails including Bitterbrush Trail and Nelson Loop Trail

The Bitterbrush and Nelson Loop Trails are fairly difficult mountain bike routes that form a lasso trail near Lyons, CO.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 5.9 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  Unlike many of my other trail guides, this one is definitely a little more strenuous and technical. If you are riding a bike, prepare ... more »

Tips:  - Pack plenty of water. You'll need it after the long, arduous climbs.
- Bring a spare tube or patch kit and tools. There are many... more »

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Points of Interest

1. main trailhead

The main parking lot for the Hall Ranch Open Space trails is just off of highway 7, southwest of Lyons, Colorado. There are two parking areas at this trailhead. On weekdays, that is sufficient for the trail users. The parking lots get pretty full on weekends, however.
An alternate trailhead can be found due west of Lyons on the Apple Valley... More

2. upper parking lot

At one point, this was called the overflow parking lot, but now it is the main parking lot for many trail-users who want to cut a little bit off their ride/hike.

3. junction of Nighthawk Trail and Bitterbrush Trail

Hikers can go either way at this junction. Mountain bikers and horseback riders must turn right onto Bitterbrush Trail. This junction is clearly marked with a signpost and a "NO BIKES" sign embedded in the Nighthawk Trail.
From this point on, the Bitterbrush Trail starts getting steeper and more technical.

4. steep and rocky

Beware on both the ascent and the descent. This portion of the trail is not only steep, but it also has lots of rocks and roots sticking out. It can be lots of fun as long as you know your limits, you're wearing a helmet. and you exercise caution.

5. As you near the crest...

... the trail gets a little less strenuous and rocky, but don't get fooled. There's some more roller-coaster rides on the other side.

6. crest of hill...

... and resting spot with a bench

7. interpretive sign

Learn a little bit about prairie dogs and other open space critters.

8. Antelope Trail junction

A secret among the locals is the Antelope Trail route. If you are anxious to get to the Nelson Loop Trail and want to cut over a mile and lots of steep ascents off your route, then you can take Apple Valley Road (When you get to the west side of Lyons on your way to the trailhead, turn right onto hwy. 36/66 instead of left onto hwy. 7, then watch ... More

9. Nelson Loop Trail junction

You can go either way on this loop. It is 2.2 miles around the loop.

10. Nighthawk Trail junction

The Nighthawk Trail is a hiking trail and bicycles are not allowed on it.

11. Nelson Ranch House

The Nelson Ranch, a small portion of the present-day Hall Ranch area, was homesteaded by the Nelson family in the early 1920s. New settlers came to the region after WWI and began raising sugar beets.

12. deer near trail

Deer are prolific in the morning and early evening.