Saturday, August 18, 2012

Carolyn Holmberg Preserve at Rock Creek Farm (Stearns Lake)

Distance: 3.6 miles round trip
Elevation: 5,276 ft
Elevation Gain: Nominal
Date Hiked: 8 July 2012
Bathroom at Trailhead: Yes
Dogs: On leash (Boulder County Open Space)
Tags: #lake, #bcos, #stearnslake

Looking at Stearns Lake in the Carolyn Holmberg Open Space
The Carolyn Holmburg Perserve at Rock Creek Farm is a small Boulder County Open Space located north of Broomfield on Highway 287.  It is popular with fishermen and locals taking strolls with their kids and dogs.  Located in the middle farm land, it is very pleasant in the spring and fall and is usually snow free in the winter.

Trailhead with parking and picnic enclosure
Starting out on the Mary Miller Trail
I chose a steamy day in July 2012 (can you say record heat anyone?) to try running the trails in the park so I grabbed my cell phone to track my pace and distance as well to take pictures on the fly. If the pictures in the post don't seem up to snuff, that is why.  In the humid air, my phone was like a wet bar of soap

Farmland stretches off to the right.  The lake is on the left behind the berm.
The route leaves the lake (out of frame to the left) and heads off to the east.
There are several named trails in the area, but the logical route is to leave the parking lot and head due west along the shore of Stearns Lake.  Technially, this is the Mary Miller Trail, but that name is not evident as you leave the parking area. As you head east, you may see Canada Goose, which frequent the Cottonwood-lined shoreline.

The road leading due east that intersects the trail.  The directional sign is on the post to the right.
Close up of the directional sign.  The arrows point down the road.  I am not sure this is how they want people to go.  If you avoid this turn you come to another trail sign further up the road.
On the far eastern side of the lake there is a large gate and dirt road that continues directly eastward.  Attached to the right-hand post of the gate is a trail sign with two arrows.  This sign was just loosely attached with some wire and was twisted in such a way that the arrows were pointing down the road.  This is NOT correct.  While you can take this road, it may be private so when you come to this junction, continue northward until you see a large trail sign pointing to the right.

If you keep going this is the sign that point to to the trail as it forks eastward.
Looking back towards the lake near several interpretive signs.  Farmland is on either side.
From this point of the route, the trail heads eastward along a slight ridge looking down on a working farm.  I chose to turn around when the dirt trail turned to pavement as it connected to a bike path heading under Highway 287.

My turn around point.  This is where the gravel path becomes paved and travels under Highway 287.  Note the farm buildings in the distance.
Back near the trailhead, this is the sign pointing to the Cradleboard Trail, which from this angle heads off to the right.
After running back around the lake, I took a left on the Cradleboard Trail, which heads due south before more curving westward.  The Cradleboard trail comes to a junction at a dirt road.  To return to the parking lot, turn right.

A typical segment of the Cradleboard Trail.  The Flatirons can be seen in the far distance.
The junction where the Cradleboard Trail continues southwest and a dirt road wraps around to the north to return to the parking lot.
One of things I love about Colorado is that "parks" are more often open space rather than green grass and manicured deciduous trees.  The Carolyn Holmberb Preserve is a perfect example.  While not large, it is perfect for a short run, afternoon stroll, or picnic at the shelter in the parking area.

The parking is ahead in the distance
Map of the trail system.  The dirt road is marked with a dotted line.

1 comment:

KT said...

Looks like a nice place for a run on a cloudy day! Our trip to Colorado is less than a month away - need to keep on my planning!