Eagle’s Nest Open Space | Larimer County Open Space
Livermore, CO | 01/05/20| 5.59 miles | 868′ gain | Class 1
For our first hike of 2020, Kyle and I went to a little known park near the Colorado-Wyoming border. I’d actually never even heard of it until I scoured the county’s open space website, looking for new places to visit. The park is centered around Eagle’s Nest Rock, a large formation that’s been used as a nesting site for golden eagles for over a century. Sadly we didn’t see any golden eagles during our visit, but that didn’t make our time any less special!
The trails within the park form a figure-8 shape, and are just short enough that we could finish the entire loop in one visit. We started counter-clockwise on the first loop, the 3-Bar Trail. This section of trail is on a ranch road.
Most of the open space property is currently used for grazing cattle, just as it has been since the 1870’s. In fact, the trail names (3-Bar and OT) are actually the cattle brands from the original families who ranched this area! We saw cattle in the distance, but they weren’t hanging out around the trail the day we went.
The 3-Bar Trail continues to the south, slowly approaching Eagle’s Nest Rock. We traveled through high pasture and eventually worked our way down through a series of washes before reaching the North Fork of the Cache La Poudre River.
The shape of Eagle’s Nest Rock changed as we walked towards and then past it on the OT Trail. From some angles it looks rounded, and from others it looks pointed.
There was a bench by the river so I stopped for a quick snack break while Otis got a drink of water. The bridge crossing the river was made of the bottoms of old railroad cars. Super unique!
Once we crossed the bridge, we met up with the OT Trail loop. We followed this trail clockwise, still on a ranch road.
Along the southern portion of the OT Trail, we turned off the ranch road onto a single track.
Once we came off the ranch road, the terrain changed immensely. The trail became more rough and not as smooth and gradual as the road. We hiked up and down washes, across high pasture, and then finally we crossed the Poudre River again.
Back on the 3-Bar Trail, we continued counterclockwise back to the car. This half of the 3-Bar Trail was very icy and steep, unlike most of what we’d seen earlier in the day. Up and down, the trail crested bluffs and then descended into gullies, where we crossed on ice, careful not to slip. A herd of mule deer grazed above us in the mountain mahogany, watching as we slowly made our way back to the trailhead.