Sunday, March 27, 2016

Rabbit Mountain

Distance: 4 miles round trip
Elevation: 5,520 ft - 5,880 ft
Elevation Gain: 450 ft (cumulative)
Bathroom at Trailhead: Yes
Dogs: On leash, Boulder County Open Space 
Tags: #BCOS, #coloradooutdoors, #morrisonformation, #hiking, #Colorado, #travel, #hiking

Rabbit Mountain Open Space
Rabbit Mountain Open Space near Lyons Colorado is a great shoulder season hike. It has incredible views of the Continental Divide and is generally free of snow. The Eagle Wind Trail sits on an uplift of white sedimentary rock (Morrison Formation) that was formed when much of the Great Plains consisted of an inland sea. The western edge of the trail leads to several overlooks that sit atop exposed portions of these rocks.

Trail map showing the Eagle Wind Trail
Heading up the initial pitch
The trail begins at a nice pavilion and quickly ascends 300 or so feet to a broad saddle. At one half of a mile, a junction allows the hiker to choose the short but scenic Little Thompson Overlook Trail (2 miles round trip) or the longer Eagle Wind Trail (3 miles round trip). Combining these two trails can be very nice. The first trail provides lovely views of the Little Thompson drainage while the second trail wanders over grassy slopes with views of the Continental Divide.

On top of the escarpment heading towards the start of the Eagle Wind Trail
Looking south
The Eagle Wind Trail is very rocky and can be a mud bath after a good rain or snow. It only gains 100 ft or so over its length. Most of the views exist on the right fork of the loop so you can hit them at the beginning or end of your hike. The trail is multi-use, so be emotionally prepared for lots of dogs (on leash), mountain bikers, and horses. We saw all of the above on this trip.

Standing on the Morrison Formation, looking north
Colorful valley below
There are only a few Ponderosa Pones on the trail but plenty of shrubbery. In the warmer months, songbirds seem to gather here in droves. Bring a pair of binoculars and a picnic dinner and listen to the Meadowlarks sing their melodic song of the plains.

On the back side of the loop
One of the few segments in the trees

1 comment:

Robert J Miller said...

Glad I was able to help you identify mountain mahogany :). As part of my Volunteer Naturalist training, I am learning about plants, shrubs, trees, and wildlife that are common to Colorado's trails. I hope to hike/bike in Rabbit Mountain Open Space and will be referencing your blog before I do so :)