Button Rock Trail, Hall Ranch, Boulder - Denver - Golden - Fort Collins - Lyons, Colorado

Button Rock Trail - 4.0 miles

Hall Ranch

Mt Meeker and the Continental Divide from the Button Rock Trail

Mt Meeker and the Continental Divide from the Button Rock Trail

Round-Trip Length: 4.0 miles
Start-End Elevation: 6,625' - 6,703' (6,703' max elevation :: 6,485' lowest elevation)
Elevation Change: +78' net elevation gain (+384' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Easy-Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Button Rock Trail - 4.0 Miles Round-Trip

The Button Rock Trail spans a broad valley connecting the Button Rock Preserve with Hall Ranch in Lyons, Colorado.

No trailhead provides access: you must either hike Button Rock Preserve's Sleepy Lion Loop Trail (from the west), or Hall Ranch's Nighthawk Trail or Bitterbrush-Nelson Loop Trails (from the east) to reach it. The former is a shorter but rather mundane route, while the latter options are longer but exceptionally attractive.

Complete descriptions for each are provided in the related trail links above. To hike these routes in full you'll travel 8.7 and 13.4 miles roundtrip, respectively.

No matter how you arrive, the Button Rock Trail's open space and terrific views are worth the visit. The undisturbed corridor through which it passes is home to deer, elk, fox, coyote, turkey, bear, mountain lion, and raptors. Closed to horse and bike travel it sees light use, even during peak season. Early arrivals stand a good chance of seeing the area's abundant wildlife in motion, and having this tranquil area to themselves.

From either access point, the Button Rock Trail drops into the open valley and skirts its forested southern wall. Hikers should be cognizant of a nearby service road that - for approximately .8 miles - merges with and becomes the trail. Signposts mark these convergence points clearly (.35 miles from the western terminus : .85 miles from the eastern terminus).

The trail nadirs at 6,485' on a hairpin turn in the service road (.9 miles from the top of Hall Ranch : 1.1 miles from the Sleepy Lion Trail connection).

Travel east of this point passes through open space in the central valley, offering the trail's best views across it and of the Continental Divide. Mt Meeker (13,911'), Longs Peak (14,259') and the Twin Sisters (11,428' and 11,413') are easy to identify. A handful of rocky outcrops on the valley-fringe are ideal places to minimize your profile, look for wildlife and enjoy the great expanse in front of you.

Travel west of the valley-low weaves through thicker forest, though frequently with good looks to the north and east. Easy maneuvering from the Sleepy Lion Trail junction yields terrific views across Ralph Price Reservoir.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N40 13.147 W105 19.974 — Botton Rock Trail - Hall Ranch access
  • N40 13.004 W105 21.493 — Button Rock Trail - Button Rock Preserve access

Worth Noting

  • The Sleepy Lion - Button Rock Trail junction (6,625') is located 1.7 miles from the Button Rock Preserve Trailhead (west access).

  • The Nighthawk Trail - Button Rock Trail junction (6,703') is located 4.7 miles from the Hall Ranch Trailhead (east access).

  • This is a lightly used trail with good wildlife viewing potential.

  • The Button Rock Preserve and Ralph Price Reservoir are known for their diverse avian populations, which include Golden Eagle, Pygmy Owl, Osprey, Bald Eagle and Herons.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • Camping is not permitted at Hall Ranch or Ralph Price Reservoir.

Fishing Information

A special permit is required to fish at Ralph Price Reservoir

In addition to a standard Colorado fishing license, a special fishing permit is required. This can be obtained only from the City of Longmont City Clerk's office. Permits go on sale the 1st week in April; only 600 annual permits are issued each year, and once they are sold out, no more will be available until the following April.

Available on May 18th, 100 Day-use Fishing Permits are also available and must be purchased in advance and have a date filled out in advance. The day use permits are $10.00 each.

In general, Annual fishing permits are $30.00 for non-residents, and $20.00 for City of Longmont residents. For more permit information, contact the City Clerk (303.651.8649)

The permit allows you to fish from the shoreline with artificial flies and lures from May through October. The city of Longmont stocks the reservoir with brown and rainbow trout, along with splake, a lake trout hybrid.

Directions to Trailhead

Beginning from Hall Ranch in Lyons, Colorado:

From Boulder, take Highway 36 14 miles north to the Highway 66 junction in Lyons. Turn left. Highway 66 will dead end at a "T" intersection on the west side of Lyons. Take a left on Highway 7 towards Allenspark. Hall Ranch is located 1.4 miles on the northeast (right) side of Highway 7.

Beginning from the Button Rock Preserve:

The trailhead is located at the end of County Road 80 just northwest of Lyons, Colorado. From Lyons, take US 36 west 4 miles to County Road 80. Turn Left on County Road 80 for 2.8 miles to the dead end at the Button Rock Preserve parking lot. The trail begins just beyond the security gate on the service road.

Contact Information

Boulder County Parks & Open Space
5201 St. Vrain Road
Longmont, Colorado 80503
Phone: 303.678.6200
Fax: 303.678.6180

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"I took Hall Ranch Bitterbrush to Nelson Loop, to Nighthawk, where the trail fork for Button Rock Trail is almost just after you hit the junction for the Nighthawk, near two clusters of rocky outcrops. You can either take the road, which leads to a trail running from it, through the big meadow or there is a marked lightly used trail that runs along a spring fed creek, up a hill, and through woods that lead down to the road at Button Rock, eventually. It’s steep switchbacks at the end. If you are wanting to hike the Sleepy Lion Trail, where the Hall Ranch junction meets up near the fantastic Overlook of the Reservoir and dam, then take the route at the Nighthawk/ Button Rock junction that initially follows the road (the trail will zig off the road on your right), through the big long meadow, rather than the lightly trafficked trail. Either way is very nice. "
Lisa Haack  -  Colorado  -  Date Posted: April 21, 2019


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