Goshawk Ridge Trail - Spring Brook North Loop, Eldorado Mountain Trailhead, Boulder - Denver - Golden - Fort Collins - Lyons, Colorado

Goshawk Ridge Trail - Spring Brook North Loop - 4.05 miles

Eldorado Mountain Trailhead

Mule deer are common along the Goshawk Ridge Trail

Mule deer are common along the Goshawk Ridge Trail

Round-Trip Length: 4.05 miles
Start-End Elevation: 5,885' - 5,885' (6,605' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +720' net elevation gain (+810' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Goshawk Ridge Trail - Spring Brook North Loop - 4.05 Miles Round-Trip

The Boulder OSMP Habitat Conservation Program was adopted in 2005 to protect high quality habitat areas where trail density and development is low. The slopes and adjacent canyons of Eldorado Mountain are among few places in northern Colorado where elk can still complete their annual migration from the mountains to eastern plains with minimal human contact.

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The Fowler, Goshawk Ridge and Spring Brook North trails form a short but varied lollipop loop through Boulder Open Space lands and the Eldorado Mountain Habitat Conservation Area.

Hikers, runners and skiers will enjoy mild grades, groomed sections and abundant wildlife on this route. The following description begins on the Fowler Trail and travels counter-clockwise on the Goshawk Ridge and Spring Brook North trails:

The Fowler Trail rises up a service road through open space with views across the base of Eldorado Canyon. A steady climb leads past the Spring Brook North Trail split (.55 miles : 6,075') and levels through a blasted notch in the road (.75 miles) to the Goshawk Ridge Trail split (1.05 miles : 6,105'). Turn left to begin the loop.

The Goshawk Ridge Trail enters the Eldorado Mountain Habitat Conservation Area and continues south on a winding service road before narrowing on single track up a steep gully (1.4 miles : 6,285') . It crests a low ridge with climbing access (1.55 miles : 6,373') and rises back through grassy meadows.

The trail reaches a second crest (1.85 miles : 6,605') and moderates along the fringe of a mixed pine forest and slender N-S meadow. It's gradually enveloped by timber and drops on tight switchbacks that spill into a broad, sloping ponderosa forest.

The trail glides downhill and crosses over the Denver Water Board Canal to the Spring Brook North Trail junction (2.75 miles : 6,275'). Turn left, then veer right on the service road (2.85 miles) to remain on the Spring Brook North Trail.

The Spring Brook North Trail heads north beside walls of rippled Dakota Sandstone, compressed layers of sediment deposited by the ebb and flow of inland oceans that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the Hudson Bay between 600 and 300 million years ago.

The Spring Brook North Trail rejoins the Fowler Trail to complete the loop (3.5 miles : 6,075') and leads back to the Eldorado Mountain Trailhead (4.05 miles).

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N39 55.904 W105 16.228 — Eldorado Mountain Trailhead
  • N39 55.738 W105 16.433 — .55 miles : Spring Brook Trail North junction
  • N39 55.596 W105 16.581 — 1.05 miles : Goshawk Ridge Trail junction
  • N39 55.400 W105 16.701 — 1.55 miles: Climbing access spur
  • N39 55.075 W105 16.548 — 2.0 miles : winding descent through ponderosa forest
  • N39 55.187 W105 16.145 — 2.75 miles : Spring Brook North Trail junction
  • N39 55.738 W105 16.433 — 3.5 miles : Rejoin Fowler Trail
  • N39 55.904 W105 16.228 — 4.05 miles: Eldorado Mountain Trailhead

Worth Noting

  • Extend this route by linking the description above with the Spring Brook North (east fork) and Spring Brook South trails, a 2.3 mile addition. It's advisable for those unfamiliar with these trails to review posted maps to ensure proper routing. You may also consider continuing west on the Fowler Trail into Eldorado Canyon State Park and up its south wall on the Rattlesnake Gulch Trail.

  • The Goshawk Ridge Trail is named for the Northern Goshawk, a medium-large species distinguished by yellow-red eyes, yellow talons and their preferred habitat of tall, contiguous tracts of coniferous forest.

  • Historical remains dot the Goshawk Ridge trailside. Look for signs of Red Rock Cola Cabin and Bob's Railroad Camp, the former once used to support overnight cattle herders, the latter a base for laborers associated with local road and rail projects. Other features include stone lined pits that held water for laborers, horses and cattlemen in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Rules and Regulations

  • Dogs and Bikes are not permitted on the Goshawk Ridge Trail and Spring Brook North Trail portion of the loop. Horses are permitted, however seasonal restrictions may apply.

  • Portions of the Fowler - Goshawk Ridge - Spring Brook North Loop pass through the Eldorado Mountain Habitat Conservation Area. You must have a permit to venture off-trail in this and any other Habitat Conservation Area (HCA).

  • There is no fee for a permit. Rangers will determine if a permit is required based on intended use and circumstances. Permits are valid only for the one day specified on the permit.

  • Contact Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (303.441.3440) or visit their website (www.bouldercolorado.gov) to apply for an off-trail travel permit.

Directions to Trailhead

The Eldorado Mountain Trailhead is located on County Road 67, just south of Eldorado Springs Road in Eldorado Springs, Colorado.

Eldorado Springs Road is located off of Highway 7, 2.6 miles south of Table Mesa Road in Boulder. Turn west on Eldorado Springs Road and travel 2.45 miles to County Road 67 on your left (south). Travel .25 miles to the dead-end at Eldorado Mountain Trailhead. Parking is limited and roadside restrictions are enforced.

Contact Information

Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP)
P.O. Box 791
Boulder, CO 80306

Eldorado Canyon State Park
9 Kneale Road (P.O. Box B)
Eldorado Springs, CO 80025
Park Hours: sunrise to sunset, everyday

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"Actually, horses are allowed on this trail, but they must remain on the trail tread and venture off trail. The area is a special habitat conservation area, so off-trail travel requires a free permit available on line at www.osmppermits.gov , Bikes and dogs are prohibited. "
Dave Sutherland  -  Boulder  -  Date Posted: March 28, 2012


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