Where’s there’s a lake, there’s a rim. Where there’s a rim, there’s a trail. At least in the case of Barker Reservoir.
As the sun started to sink lower in the sky, I felt the need to try and squeeze in a run. My normal favored running spots are almost all in Boulder — the Boulder Creek Trail, Bear Creek Trail, and Community Ditch. Living at 8,200 feet gives me an advantage running in Boulder. Being able to sleep at 8,200 feet, but run almost 3,000 feet lower allows me to really ramp up my pace.
But the drive to Boulder takes almost 30 minutes, which would mean I’d probably be running in the dark. What to do? Drive to the Rim Trail in Nederland.
When I’m asked by out-of-towners for an easy, but scenic hiking trail, the Rim Trail is usually at the top of the list, especially if they have children. It starts right in town, opposite the Nederland Visitor Center, so it’s easy to find. Cross the covered bridge next to the Cross Cut Pizzeria, and you’re on it.
What makes the Rim Trail so user-friendly is it just sort of rolls along. They are some amazing trails in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. But most of them go up at a pretty significant clip, making them too aerobically taxing for me, and difficult for flatlanders.
But the Rim Trail follows along Middle Boulder Creek as it heads east towards Barker Reservoir. Easy to follow, you will encounter one somewhat confusing zig when you must use the footbridge to cross the outlet. After that, it’s clear sailing as it circles around the reservoir past the Post Office to the north side.
You’ll encounter a couple of ups and downs as you make your way through the pine forest towards Barker Dam. The Rim Trail also provides some nice spots for picnics complete with tables as well.
If you are running, you will need to watch your step as there are a few spots where the trail has slightly eroded down the hillside. As you near Barker Dam, you’ll near the end of the trail at 1.8 miles. Unfortunately, no loop trail of the reservoir exists at this time, so you will need to turn around and head back the same way.
But the return trip, I find even better as you are heading towards the glorious backdrop of the Indian Peaks. As I jog along the reservoir, I glance up at those snow-capped peaks, and take in all that beauty. We Nederlanders are pretty lucky to have such a lovely trail to enjoy so close to home.
Because the snow melts out quickly on the north side, the Rim Trail is pretty accessible most of the year. Even if we do have a snowstorm, the trail remains open. But you would need to be careful about walking in the more exposed areas, lest you end up sliding down the embankment.
Next time you happen to be in town, consider a walk on the Rim Trail.