• Coal Creek Canyon Park


  •  Prairie View from Coal Creek Canyon Park

    Ranson/Edwards Homestead Park

    The Ranson/Edwards Homestead Property has no facilities or parking. It is part of the Coal Creek Canyon park management plan.

    Park Vision for Coal Creek Canyon Park

    The management of Coal Creek Canyon Park reflects Jefferson County Open Space's mission of balancing human use with resource preservation. This is accomplished through the application of management units upon the landscape, which define a spectrum of recreational opportunities, environmental education and interpretation opportunities, and natural and cultural resource conservation efforts. Coal Creek Canyon Park has three management unit designations, each emphasizing different priorities for the provision of recreational opportunities and protection of the park's resources. 
    The Parkland Recreation Area, which is the trailhead and surrounding area, emphasizes the amenities to serve the basic needs of the park's visitors, including ADA accessibility, and serves as the primary parking area for access to the park's trail system. These amenities include restrooms and picnic areas. The area(s) chosen for the park's trailhead(s) will be dependent on future design and engineering requirements. However, the trailhead(s) will mostly be in the area of Highway 72, Plainview Road and Blue Mountain Drive. As part of the Mountain Backdrop, the design, location and construction of the trails and parking areas will need to be considered in relation to their visual impacts. These improvements should not detract from the scenic qualities that are present on the park.

    The Natural Area management unit comprises most of the park's area and is managed primarily for the protection of the park's natural resources, which include an area of xeric tallgrass prairie, fall bear feeding areas, and habitat for elk, bobcat, deer and mountain lions. This park is also part of the Mountain Backdrop. In addition, this area will be managed for its natural surface trail opportunities.

    The Sensitive Area is located along Coal Creek. The south part of the Lacy acquisition borders a Sensitive Area that is part of White Ranch Park. The area along Coal Creek is sensitive because it contains a population Preble's meadow jumping mouse, a federally threatened listed species. In addition, suitable habitat for the mouse extends into the canyon area. There is a small population of trout in the creek that would not stand up to the pressure of fishing and the creek is a major concentration for the various species of wildlife that inhabit the park.

    The vision for this park will incorporate the three primary values for which these properties were acquired. These values include the protection and enhancement of critical habitats and designated Conservation Sites, the protection of scenic values associated with those areas in the Mountain Backdrop and for the development of trail opportunities. With the exception of the Asel donation, all of the resolutions associated with these parks reflect acquisition for protection of critical wildlife habitat areas in general and the Coal Creek riparian corridor in particular. Statewide, riparian corridors make up only a couple percent of the total wildlife habitat areas, but they support over 95 percent of the wildlife species. Coal Creek contains one of the County's few populations of Preble's meadow jumping mouse. This area will be intensively managed to protect and enhance the habitat for this species.

    Another part of the vision for this park is to develop trails that would accommodate a wide spectrum of non-motorized use where appropriate. Because of extreme topographic conditions, the two western most parcels (Asel and the western part of Lacy) are not anticipated to have any trail development. The potential exists for the development of loop trails on the remaining parcels as long as they do not interfere with the natural resources in that area. The location of this park also offers the possibility of establishing linkages to other parks in the area, which include White Ranch Park, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, City of Boulder Open Space parks to the north and the Rocky Flats area to the east. In addition, this park contains some relatively moderate topography so trails that incorporate universal access design principles that comply with Americans with Disability Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADA) could be developed.

    There are many uncertainties associated with the future management of other publicly owned properties in the immediate area. The Denver Water Board may construct a reservoir in Leyden Gulch, the railroad tracks may be relocated, and the City of Boulder has not yet developed a management plan for their property. As such, the long-range vision for the park needs to be stated in general concepts without trying to determine specific locations for trails and parking lots. Staff's recommendation is to postpone any development until these land use issues become clearer. If at the end of 5 to 7 years there is no answer to these issues, staff recommends that limited development proceed in areas, which would be least, affected by these issues.


  • Park Information

    Coal Creek Canyon Park Map

    No current trailhead

    Acres: 5,492

    Trail Profiles: 
    No developed trails

    Species Spotlight:



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