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  1. #1
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    New Trail/Reroute at Hall Ranch w/pics! [o]

    The new reroute at Hall Ranch officially opened yesterday afternoon. The new trail reroutes the section of trail (Bitterbrush) that connects the bench at the top of the Rock Garden to the top of Antelope.

    Why? In short, to make the trail more year-roundable. The section of trail that got rerouted was steep, rutted, N facing and almost always in the shade, making it more erosion prone, thus, more prone to needing work and resources on an annual basis. The county was our friend on this one. It was their idea to make Hall Ranch more of a winter ride. Thanks County!

    Looking from the top of the Rock Garden. County rehabbed that first downhill corner.


    Old rehabbed trail on the right, new trail on the left.


    Intersection with Antelope and the old section of trail...


    Couple more shots of the new trail




    This is at the top of Antelope looking where the trail used to go


    Pros - fun, narrow and winding, true singletrack
    Cons - kinda flat with many switchbacks.

    There was some discussion about this trail earlier (Hall Ranch Trail Re-route looks lame) if you want to read the history.

    I've talked to the county (rangers, mucky mucks, emplyees, etc) quite a bit about this section. A few county employees went out on a limb for this and caught some beaurocratic hell for it, but I think we'll all be better off, especially if we can get it going all winter long.

    Why so many switchbacks? The manager in charge of the trail crews signed off on the project, but was adamant that the trail met current county sustainability standards. Among those standards are that the trail be at a 6-8% grade. In order to do that, crews had to lengthen the trail and add a bunch of switchbacks.

    All in all, I think it rides pretty well. It's bumpy right now but that will change. It's also really narrow right now (but that will probably change, too). If I have more trail to ride in the winter, I'm a happy guy. Plus, it's new trail for me so I'm a happy guy, too.
    Redstone Cyclery
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  2. #2
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    Is the 6-8% grade a Boulder rule now?

    Erik

  3. #3
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    Were any prairie dogs harmed in the making of this film? Just kidding, hope to see it dry in the winter on the thaw cycles.

  4. #4
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    Not a hard rule by any means, but it's certainly one that BoCo is striving for if terrain allows. They've found that trails with easier grades are less prone to erosion and need less work in the long run. Given the sheer amount of traffic these areas get, I'm not sure it's a bad idea. Some middle management OS types are worried about hikers cutting the trail but I guess we'll see how that works out.

    Basically from what I understand, the trail crew boss said he was ok with the reroute as long as it was built by the common guidelines that they'd been using. Anything outside of that would've meant having to run the reroute up the entire chain of command, thus increasing the possibility that the project would be denied. Sooo, we were left with, if we wanted the trail more rideable in the winter with less of a chance of being told "no," this is kinda what we were left with. At least that's the way I understand it.

    Go check it out, I think it turned out pretty good, especially all things considered.
    Redstone Cyclery
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  5. #5
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    I haven't ridden it yet (and probably won't for another month or so), but the last time I was up there it looked like there are WAY too many switchbacks for the length of trail. They could have easily gotten by with one or two, methinks. Why not take the opportunity to build in some fun rock features or something original?

    No judgment yet though, until these damn ribs heal and I can get out and ride a real trail.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by smmokan View Post
    I haven't ridden it yet (and probably won't for another month or so), but the last time I was up there it looked like there are WAY too many switchbacks for the length of trail. They could have easily gotten by with one or two, methinks. Why not take the opportunity to build in some fun rock features or something original?

    No judgment yet though, until these damn ribs heal and I can get out and ride a real trail.
    I'm gonna go with ignazjr's knowledge of the process and say that's why. I don't get why people got such a boner for that section of trail. It sucked in the winter, it wasn't that fun or technical and kept getting worse as people went around the rocks. People always want "rock features" but then actively avoid any rocks in the trail. Not the same people but mountain bikers in general.

    Not picking on you smokkan I just think that acting like this reroute changes Hall's character is ludicrous. Too bad it'll be as wide as a bike path soon enough.

    I know I would have liked more trail to ride in the dead of winter. The same trail gets old after a while.

  7. #7
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    Wow- that's fast work. We were up there Tuesday and they were still cuttin trail. Lots o switchbacks, but hey- it's trail.
    "There are two kinds of mountain bikers in the world: those who are faster than me, and me."

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by concretejungle View Post

    Not picking on you smokkan I just think that acting like this reroute changes Hall's character is ludicrous.
    I never said it changed anything about Hall, and in general I'm perfectly fine with the change... I'm well aware of how muddy the old section got in the winter and spring. I'm just saying, instead of knocking out a boring new section of trail in a few weeks, why not take a little longer and build something more fun?

    Think about it, in order to ride that section down to the junction, you had to have climbed the rock garden- so it's not like you're alienating beginner riders by putting in something difficult. Instead, it looks like they took the easy way out and put in a smooth trail like all the stuff in south Boulder. Let's just hope they don't cover it with pea gravel or river rock like so many other trails.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by smmokan View Post
    I never said it changed anything about Hall, and in general I'm perfectly fine with the change... I'm well aware of how muddy the old section got in the winter and spring. I'm just saying, instead of knocking out a boring new section of trail in a few weeks, why not take a little longer and build something more fun?

    Think about it, in order to ride that section down to the junction, you had to have climbed the rock garden- so it's not like you're alienating beginner riders by putting in something difficult. Instead, it looks like they took the easy way out and put in a smooth trail like all the stuff in south Boulder. Let's just hope they don't cover it with pea gravel or river rock like so many other trails.
    If those are your concerns I'd move from Boulder.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by smmokan View Post
    I never said it changed anything about Hall, and in general I'm perfectly fine with the change... I'm well aware of how muddy the old section got in the winter and spring. I'm just saying, instead of knocking out a boring new section of trail in a few weeks, why not take a little longer and build something more fun?
    I'd estimate that it's because it's the goal of Boulder County OS to build trails that are well maintained and as maintenance free as possible for multi-use, not to build fun trails for bikes. Bikes are not high on the priority list per se.
    Redstone Cyclery
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  11. #11
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    Look, this section of rehabbed trail was by no means epic, or any insurmountable technical challenge (similar to sugar mag), but this just looks horrible.

    Are these what multi use "sustainable" trails look like now? If so, who actually enjoys riding these types of trails? I just don't see this trail design as fun or entertaining in any way, unless I'm a beginner, or on a rigid singlespeed. At least going uphill this old trail had a few step ups to keep my attention, now it just looks like the same turny flat trail wrapping back on itself just like any other newly designed trail on the front range.

    What I find comical are the sales pitches for these new trails:

    Sustainable: Guess what, nothing is sustainable-everything takes maintenance. Unless you just pave the trails (which looks like they are about trying to do), they all take maintenance. I would like to see a long term comparison of two trails, one that is steep and rutted and get re-routed every 5ish years, versus the flat turning current design. I would bet the impacts are similar.

    User groups: If I'm a hiker or horseback rider, I hate these designs. I am trying to get from point A to B, why do I want to engage in 50 switchback just to get to the bottom of a measly hill? These trails all feel like the security line at DIA, you feel like a rat in a maze. Who are these being built to satisfy? As far as I can tell nobody save for the singlespeeders and complete beginners.

    Environmental impact: Whomever is claiming these trail building designs are reducing environmental impact are completely wrong. Instead of one single ribbon down a slope you now have a 10 foot wide flat turning mess that consumes the entire hillside. If there was ever any critical habitat in the area you have just trampled all over it with these new alignments. The uber flat switchback design is a complete fail from the NEPA perspective.

    For this isolated small segment of trail this is really not a big deal. It's what it represents that is troubling to me. As long as they leave the fun trails alone I'm good with new trails being built that satisfy these requirements. That's not happening though. I'm really really concerned with how the trails are going to look around here in 5 years.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kokothemonkey View Post
    Look, this section of rehabbed trail was by no means epic, or any insurmountable technical challenge (similar to sugar mag), but this just looks horrible.

    Are these what multi use "sustainable" trails look like now? If so, who actually enjoys riding these types of trails? I just don't see this trail design as fun or entertaining in any way, unless I'm a beginner, or on a rigid singlespeed. At least going uphill this old trail had a few step ups to keep my attention, now it just looks like the same turny flat trail wrapping back on itself just like any other newly designed trail on the front range.

    What I find comical are the sales pitches for these new trails:

    Sustainable: Guess what, nothing is sustainable-everything takes maintenance. Unless you just pave the trails (which looks like they are about trying to do), they all take maintenance. I would like to see a long term comparison of two trails, one that is steep and rutted and get re-routed every 5ish years, versus the flat turning current design. I would bet the impacts are similar.

    User groups: If I'm a hiker or horseback rider, I hate these designs. I am trying to get from point A to B, why do I want to engage in 50 switchback just to get to the bottom of a measly hill? These trails all feel like the security line at DIA, you feel like a rat in a maze. Who are these being built to satisfy? As far as I can tell nobody save for the singlespeeders and complete beginners.

    Environmental impact: Whomever is claiming these trail building designs are reducing environmental impact are completely wrong. Instead of one single ribbon down a slope you now have a 10 foot wide flat turning mess that consumes the entire hillside. If there was ever any critical habitat in the area you have just trampled all over it with these new alignments. The uber flat switchback design is a complete fail from the NEPA perspective.

    For this isolated small segment of trail this is really not a big deal. It's what it represents that is troubling to me. As long as they leave the fun trails alone I'm good with new trails being built that satisfy these requirements. That's not happening though. I'm really really concerned with how the trails are going to look around here in 5 years.
    Your problem is you think everyone thinks the same as you do. It's a big, wide, diverse world out there. Lot's of people like curvy, buff, fast, "flow" singletrack.

  13. #13
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    I have been Hall free for several months now. I might fall off the wagon just to see this.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Your problem is you think everyone thinks the same as you do. It's a big, wide, diverse world out there. Lot's of people like curvy, buff, fast, "flow" singletrack.
    It's not fast or flowy, you have to pedal the same amount up or down. But if it dries out faster in winter like they hope it will, then it should be a good addition.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Your problem is you think everyone thinks the same as you do. It's a big, wide, diverse world out there. Lot's of people like curvy, buff, fast, "flow" singletrack.
    Begin Rant

    I guess I should buy a CX bike for all the awesome curvy, buff, fast, "flow" (wouldn't flow be bad for trail design since water likes to flow as well?) singletrack on the Front Range because my 6" full suspension bike is ridiculous on these trails.

    I really don't care about that section of trail because it wasn't that great to begin with and I appreciate the work that went into it but it just seems like any new trail that gets built in BoCo is going to wrap back on itself fifty times to meet some imaginary environmental impact standard. How come the trails out of Chautauqua don't have to be between 6% and 8%? Anyone ever hike up the backside of Sanitas? Why do we as a user group have to accept the limitations that a government body has imposed on community land?

    Rant finished (and yes I know b*$ching on the internet won't change anything)
    Feels like an Arby's night.

  16. #16
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    rode it sunday, carry on.
    "Just moved to denver, any suggestions on what rubbers to use when i bang loose denver chicks ?"

  17. #17
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    Bump because this has to be the worst section of trail in Boulder County. Six HUGE switchbacks in order to cover 100 vertical feet? I know it's only a half mile of trail, but it's absolutely horrible. Since when does "sustainable" trail building entail building twice (or three times) as much trail as you really need?

    Whoever designed this section of trail shouldn't be allowed to touch another inch of dirt around here.

    Edit: I just read Dave's original post, and there's NO WAY any section of this trail is 6-8% grade. I'm betting it's not even 3%. Also, the new section of trails is still north-facing, which means it's going to be in rough shape when it snows or rains over the winter/spring. Big FAIL by Boulder County.

  18. #18
    starladear
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    Yeah whoever made us mountain bikers ride more trail in Boulder county should be prosecuted.

  19. #19
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    It's not more trail, it's just a substitute for already existing trail. Thanks though.

  20. #20
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    Whoever designed this section of trail shouldn't be allowed to touch another inch of dirt around here.


    Ouch, fire the bastards!

  21. #21
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    Why all the single speed hate earlier? That section is awful on a single speed, you need big gears to make it reasonable.

    The one big upside to this new trail is that it sucks for hikers, so they might avoid it...or they might complain and get it fixed.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by slushhead View Post
    The one big upside to this new trail is that it sucks for hikers, so they might avoid it...or they might complain and get it fixed.
    No, they'll just cut the trail, and then blame some other user group for the damage.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by brokefork View Post
    Whoever designed this section of trail shouldn't be allowed to touch another inch of dirt around here.


    Ouch, fire the bastards!
    OK, it was slight hyperbole, but you know what I meant.

  24. #24
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    Donít Sanitize Walker Ranch

    Quote Originally Posted by kokothemonkey View Post
    Look, this section of rehabbed trail was by no means epic, or any insurmountable technical challenge (similar to sugar mag), but this just looks horrible.

    Are these what multi use "sustainable" trails look like now? If so, who actually enjoys riding these types of trails? I just don't see this trail design as fun or entertaining in any way, unless I'm a beginner, or on a rigid singlespeed. At least going uphill this old trail had a few step ups to keep my attention, now it just looks like the same turny flat trail wrapping back on itself just like any other newly designed trail on the front range.

    What I find comical are the sales pitches for these new trails:

    Sustainable: Guess what, nothing is sustainable-everything takes maintenance. Unless you just pave the trails (which looks like they are about trying to do), they all take maintenance. I would like to see a long term comparison of two trails, one that is steep and rutted and get re-routed every 5ish years, versus the flat turning current design. I would bet the impacts are similar.

    User groups: If I'm a hiker or horseback rider, I hate these designs. I am trying to get from point A to B, why do I want to engage in 50 switchback just to get to the bottom of a measly hill? These trails all feel like the security line at DIA, you feel like a rat in a maze. Who are these being built to satisfy? As far as I can tell nobody save for the singlespeeders and complete beginners.

    Environmental impact: Whomever is claiming these trail building designs are reducing environmental impact are completely wrong. Instead of one single ribbon down a slope you now have a 10 foot wide flat turning mess that consumes the entire hillside. If there was ever any critical habitat in the area you have just trampled all over it with these new alignments. The uber flat switchback design is a complete fail from the NEPA perspective.

    For this isolated small segment of trail this is really not a big deal. It's what it represents that is troubling to me. As long as they leave the fun trails alone I'm good with new trails being built that satisfy these requirements. That's not happening though. I'm really really concerned with how the trails are going to look around here in 5 years.

    Well said, I completely agree with this post. If anyone wants to tell BOCO to not ruin the next section of trail on the list, look up the facebook group "Donít Sanitize Walker Ranch". (I'm not behind this group but I like it) There is a link on their page to a BOCO website that is looking for feedback on what to do with Walker Ranch. It seems like no organization, including and especially BMA, wants to see a balanced mix of beginner, intermediate, and expert level trails in Boulder County. 95%+ of new trails around here are beginner "green" trails that quickly become boring. I don't want to see a "blue" trail like Walker sanitized to death. It's been around for how many decades and now it is unsustainable? Yes there are ways to improve it, but if that means the new trailwork would conform to these stupid made up guidelines that are being referenced, I say do not touch the trail.

  25. #25
    Oh, So Interesting!
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    There's definitely pros and cons to this kind of trail, IMO it is appropriate in some places and this might be one of them because it is so heavily used. I do think they went overboard on the switchbacks and I agree with Koko and Puddy for the most part. The definition of sustainable that drives that kind of trail design is not necessarily correct IRL, and shouldn't be the only kind of trail that is allowed to be built. There's a long list of other trail systems that don't fit the Boulder CO model that do just fine, such as Lunch Loops in GJ, Blackjack in BC, and many trails in Curt Gowdy State park just to name a few ones that are closeby.
    .




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