Boulder – Grindstone Quarry Trail at Heil Valley Ranch

Hiking Grindstone Quarry Trail at Heil Valley Ranch

Grindstone Quarry Trail is an easy and enjoyable 2.8-mile out-and-back hike at Heil Valley Ranch. It is one of my favorite easy trails to hike in the Boulder area.

I did this hike about a week before the Calwood Fire burned through Heil Valley Ranch in October. The trail is currently closed and the scenery likely completely burned and dramatically different. I debated whether I should post about this trail, but in the end I thought it would be good to post, if only as a reminder of what the trail looked like before the fire, and what it may look like in the future when all the plants and trees grow back.

The Hike

You can do this hike starting from the Corral Trailhead near the entrance to Heil Valley Ranch or the Main Trailhead. The Main Trailhead has more parking spaces, but I enjoyed doing this trail more starting from the Corral Trailhead, as you go uphill on the way out and downhill on the way back.

The trail is 1.4 miles in each direction.

Starting Out

For my hike, I started out from the Corral Trailhead. The trail starts out with a few switchbacks up a grassy hill and through trees.

Grindstone Quarry Trail Heil Valley Ranch Boulder

As you continue, the trail passes through wide open grassy fields with lovely views of Heil Valley.

Grindstone Quarry Trail Heil Valley Ranch Boulder

Grindstone Quarry

At about 0.8 miles into the hike, you reach the turn-off point to visit Grindstone Quarry. I find this turn-off point easier to see on the return journey, but if you know where it is, you can keep an eye out for it.

It only takes 0.1 miles of hiking up a small hill to reach the quarry.

Once you reach the quarry, you are treated with even better views of Heil Valley, complemented by the interesting old stone structures.

Panorama of Heil Valley from Grindstone Quarry –

Great View

After continuing back along Grindstone Quarry Trail, there are lovely views about 1.3 miles into the hike if you look back down to the valley.

There is something special about this viewpoint. It is a beautiful spot.

Grindstone Quarry Trail Heil Valley Ranch Boulder

Return Journey

After reaching the end of the trail close to the Main Trailhead, you turn around and head back along Grindstone Quarry Trail.

The views of Heil Valley look a bit different in this direction –

Grindstone Quarry Trail Heil Valley Ranch Boulder

Grindstone Quarry Trail Heil Valley Ranch Boulder

To Conclude

Grindstone Quarry Trail was one of my favorite trails at Heil Valley Ranch until it was burned in October by the Calwood Fire. Looking back at these pictures breaks my heart a little, thinking that when this trail opens up, it will look very different. However, I look forward to the day when I can hike this and other trails at Heil Valley Ranch when they open up again, and when the vegetation grows back over the years.

2 Comments

    • Katarina

      Thank you, David. I am sad that this and other trails damaged by the Calwood Fire at Heil Valley Ranch are now closed. I look forward to the day when they can open up again safely.

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