Meyers Homestead & Josie Heath Trails | Walker Ranch Open Space
Boulder, CO | 09/26/20 | 7.41 miles | 1,046′ gain
This was not our planned hike. We intended on using one of our precious few fall weekends to drive down to St. Elmo and climb a 13er. But by the time Allie and I met up in Denver at 6:30am, the forecasted wind speeds for our chosen peak (40+ mph) had exceeded what we could hike in comfortably. Disappointed but not totally deterred, we decided to stay local and hike a short 5-mile out-and-back trail near Boulder, the Meyers Homestead Trail. To make it a little longer, we started from the Walker Ranch Loop Trailhead, adding on the 1.1 mile Josie Heath Trail.
The Josie Heath Trail is an easy (and lightly used) out-and-back trail connecting the Walker Ranch and Meyers Gulch Trailheads. Josie Heath was Boulder County’s second female County Commissioner and a “fierce advocate for trails and open space,” said a memorial sign at the start of the trail.
We had a good view of the Walker Ranch Homestead, now the park ranger’s private residence though it is occasionally opened for special events. The Walker family staked their 160 acre claim here in 1882 and built a thriving cattle ranch that grew to 6,450 acres by 1950, one of the biggest cattle ranches in the area.
The Josie Heath Trail switchbacked down to the main road, crossed, and then climbed to the Meyers Gulch Trailhead. There were nice views throughout this section.
We reached the Meyers Gulch Trailhead and met up with a number of other hikers. We may have had the Josie Heath Trail to ourselves, but the Meyers Homestead Trail was very busy. The Meyers Homestead Trail follows the old ranch road along Meyers Gulch. We passed the remnants of a barn.
The Myers family (spelled differently than the Meyers Homestead Trail) homesteaded next to the Walker’s ranch. They had a number of sawmills to provide supplies and extra income.
The trail leads to an overlook, though trees blocked the best views. Thankfully, the trees also blocked most of the wind, present here as well though much less than 40+ mph. We were glad we’d decided not to brave the strong winds above treeline.
We retraced our steps back to the car, passing dozens of people now. It definitely wasn’t our intended 13er but it was still a nice hike out of the wind.