Saturday, March 30, 2013

Doudy Draw to Community Ditch

Distance: 5 miles round trip
Elevation: 5,670 ft - ~5,770 ft
Elevation Gain: 100 ft
Bathroom at Trailhead: No but there is one 0.5 miles up the trail
Dogs: Off leash with Boulder green tag
Date Hiked: 29 March 2013
Parking fee for non-Boulder county residents
Tags: #Boulder, #osmp, #hiking

Looking west at the Flatirons on the expansive Community Ditch Trail
The Doudy Draw to Community Ditch Trail near Eldorado Springs is a flat route that traverses a wide-open expanse of prairie between Boulder and Highway 128. There are two ways to take this out and back route.  This post describes starting at the Doudy Draw Trailhead on Eldorado Springs Road. This option has the advantage of providing a parking lot and bathroom (half a mile up the trail).  The downside is a parking fee that Boulder charges for non-residents. It is possible to start this route from Hwy 93 if you are willing to scrunch your car onto the shoulder of this busy highway. There is room for one to two cars where the ditch itself crosses over to the Marshall Mesa Trail System. This option would not be suitable if you have children or dogs that might bolt into the perpetual traffic racing up the road. 

Starting out on the smooth Doudy Draw Trail
The bathroom/picnic area at 0.5 miles
Starting at the parking lot, the first 0.5 miles up the route is on the Doudy Draw Trail nestled between two low, grass-covered hills. This trail is a wide, smooth,  gravel path that is wheelchair accessible. It ends at a small picnic area and bathroom.  50 yards beyond this is the junction with the Community Ditch Trail which heads westward and gradually climbs between more rolling hills. 

Heading towards the junction with the Community Ditch Trail
The ditch
The Community Ditch Trail weaves back and forth for 1.9 miles as it follows the ditch across the praire landscape.  0.5 miles past the original junction is a cattle gate. From this point on the views behind you of the Flatirons grow along with serene views of the grasslands to the north.  Only a few houses dot the landscape to mare the serenity of the route. This portion of the route is more rutted and rocky, but is still an easy jaunt.

The initial part of the Community Ditch Trail is wide with easy access to the water for the four-legged ones.
Looking down into a draw
The turn around point is Highway 93, or for a longer outing, one can attempt to cross the highway to Marshall Mesa and its 3 mile trail loop. The Colorado Department of Transportation is planning on building an underpass at this location as part of its widening of Highway 93.  That will be a welcome addition indeed for the plethora of mountain bikers who routinely risk their lives riding across the road.

A typical segment of the route.  Note the ever present ditch (not always wet) and rutted road (from mountain bikers)
Looking west as the trail winds across an open hillside
Spring and fall are a great time to hike the Community Ditch Trail.  It is warmer when the more exposed trails are wind swept, and it is less popular than other nearby trails. It is great for a trail run or stroll with the dogs.

Another S-curve in the trail
The further west you go, the more dramatic the views to the north.  All we need are a few Buffalo!

1 comment:

Dan Miller said...

Looks like a pretty good hike. We'll have to give it a try. We're up here in Evergreen but we get to Boulder once in a while. I enjoy browsing through your posts looking for inspiration for future hikes.

Dan Miller