Boulder County, Colorado
Roosevelt National Forest
Boulder Ranger District
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map
Forest Service Roads: 507.1, 507.1A
Trail Type: Straight Through
Nearby Towns: Nederland, Jamestown, Ward
Nearby Trails: Middle St. Vrain
Trail Length: 5.1 miles
Elevation: 9,188 to 9,987 feet
Named Obstacles: The Lake
Recommended by Brian E.
This trail is close to Boulder and is very popular run with the Middle St. Vrain trail. It's more challenging than Middle St. Vrain, with bigger rocks and a lot more water. The big finale is the Lake at the far end.
The Lake can be deep (close to going over a stock Wrangler's air intake) or relatively shallow (up to the bumper) but it's always a guess. You can estimate how deep it is based on the walkway that runs along the side of the Lake. If the water level is closer than a couple feet to the bottom of the walkway you're taking a risk.
Like driving through all water, you should drive fast enough to create a low wake in front of your vehicle, but not so fast to splash any water.
If you run Middle St. Vrain first you will have a more challenging run because the section between it and the Coney Flats "lake" will be uphill. If this is the direction you run it in, the trail will start from almost the far end of Middle St. Vrain. You will see a sign pointing to Coney Flats, which is an immediate uphill to your left.
This hill is very steep, rocky, and too narrow in most places to pass another vehicle. Because the trail is run in both directions there is a chance you will find someone else going the other direction. There are places to pull off to the side, but if two large groups meet someone will most likely have to back up to get out of the way (uphill has the right of way, as always, but smaller groups should try to get out of the way if possible).
There is a series of rocky obstacles in the middle of this hill toward the top. It starts out with a dug-out area that requires a flexible suspension and good tire placement. Then you come around a corner to find some good-sized rocks you must negotiate. This section is wider so there are a few lines you can take.
The trail levels out and you find yourself at the "lake" -- not really a lake but a section of the stream that is wide and still. There is a wooden walkway that allows you to walk to the other side, but vehicles must drive through it. Stay in the middle of this lake -- you can see the trail on the other side. Do not wander off into the other areas as this is not part of the trail. Also, portions of the lake to the sides are much deeper than it is in the center of the lake and you could very easily cover your air intake or get stuck.
You can tell how deep the lake is by viewing the level of the water under the wooden walkway that crosses it. A portion of the walkway is 2x4 boards over soft ground. If this is under any water then you can expect the water level at its deepest to cover the bottom inch or so of rocker guards on a Jeep Wrangler with 33" tires. There is another portion of the walkway that consists of heavy logs with boards attached to the tops to walk on. If the water is touching the logs the lake is too deep for the same Jeep Wrangler.
No matter what, the first vehicle through the lake should go slowly and directly through the lake in a straight line. The lake is fairly flat along this line. Someone can stand on the walkway to watch the depth of the water along the front of your vehicle and make recommendations as you go. You should know where your air intake is before you drive into the lake, no matter how deep it is.
There is another smaller water crossing and a large area where many vehicles can park and have lunch. The rest of the trail is downhill and there are a few rocky obstacles but nothing as challenging as the far end on the other side of the lake.
The trail ends (or starts) at Beaver Reservoir where there is a small amount of parking. This is a trail everyone can enjoy because of this water crossing and the great spots for camping and visiting.
Information last updated on October 23rd, 2011.
- October 22, 2011: ran by Austin, Bill S., Bob R., Bryan, Jim, Matt K., Monica, Roger and Ryan S.
- July 7, 2007: ran by Bill S., Don, Eric B., Gary, Jed, Julie, Ladd, Mike S., Monica, Perry, Steve B., Todd and Walt
- July 8, 2006: ran by Bob S., Dave B., Gary, Jed, Julie, Mark U., Mike S., Monica and Rob C.
- November 5, 2005: ran by Bob S., Carlos, Dave B., Don, Eric B., Jed, Ladd and Perry
- July 2, 2005: ran by Alanna, Carlos, Cheryl, Dane, Dave B., Derek, Eric B., Jed, Ladd, Mike C., Mike S., Monica, Perry, Rob C. and Steve G.
- November 6, 2004: ran by Bob S., Carlos, Cheryl, Dane, Dave B., Eric B., Evan, Gary, Jed, Marla, Mike V., Mike S., Perry and Robert
- July 3, 2004: ran by Alanna, Bob R., Brian D., Chris B., Eric, Jed, Ladd, Mike R., Monica, Nathan and Perry
- September 1, 2003: ran by Kendall, Ladd and Monica
- July 5, 2003: ran by Beth, Bill A., Ed, Jenn, Joe, Joey, Laura, Mike R., Missy, Monica, Perry and Tom
- July 20, 2002: ran by Beth and Monica
From Boulder, take Canyon Boulevard west to Nederland. Take Route 72 north from Nederland. If you want a more challenging run, do Middle St. Vrain first by taking Route 72 16.2 miles to Peaceful Valley. Follow signs to Camp Dick on the left to get to Middle St. Vrain trail which is at the far end of the Camp.
Coney Flats intersects Middle St. Vrain near the end of the trail as a very sharp left turn up a hill. You can run to the end of Middle St. Vrain and turn around to get back to the start of Coney Flats in about five minutes -- it's worth it for the scenery but there are no additional obstacles.
Running Middle St. Vrain first puts Coney Flats "Lake" in the middle of the entire run at the beginning of the Coney Flats trail. This also puts most of the major rocky areas at a uphill on your way to the Lake.
If you want to have mostly downhill rock obstacles with the "Lake" in the middle and a easier way out down Middle St. Vrain run these trails in the opposite order by taking a left at 96 Road off of Highway 72. This will take you to Beaver Reservoir with the Coney Flats trail on the far side of the water.
Meet at Starbucks at 3033 Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder. This is also immediately next to a gas station, Moe's Bagels and King Soopers.