The Anemone Hill Trail
The Anemone Hill Trail is located directly adjacent to the west side of Boulder, CO between Boulder Canyon and Sunshine Canyon. Most of the terrain is steep and rugged with high concentrations of granite bedrock and boulders in various sizes.
The area has burned in the recent past and the forest canopy is interspersed with open grasslands typical of ponderosa pines parkland ecosystems seen in the Rocky Mountains as moderate elevations, leaving astounding views. The new trail is designed for hikers, trail runners and users with leashed dogs. Here is the lowdown on the trail and what it was like to build it, including how we utilized a helicopter to deliver materials to the jobsite.
How long will trail construction last?
Timberline TrailCraft began crafting this trail in June of 2020. It will be completed by Spring 2022, weather permitting.
What new features will the Anemone Hill Trail have?
Some new features the Anemone Hill will boast are renovated existing trails, a new route, retaining walls, stone stairs, and trail signage to aid hikers in navigation.
Why is this project being done?
Directed by the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks Department and the West Trail Study Area Management Plan, the primary objective of the project has been to construct a single, well designed trail loop to replace the undesignated trail network. Sustainable, low-maintenance trails provide quality recreational experiences for users.
Extending the Anemone Hill trail offers new adventures for the community and a variety of trail loops that range from shorter, moderate loops to longer, more challenging trails. The older trails have significant erosion and widening issues which negatively impacts the surrounding environment and habitat. It’s vital that we try to minimize these negative forces and come forward with solutions to adequately maintain and improve the trails.
Phases of building the trail
To ensure the safety of the public and crews expanding the trail, a helicopter was used to and drop heavy materials such as pallets of stone or machinery needed for the expansion of the trail. A lot of preparation and planning is required for helicopter drops, including weight calculations of each load. Thankfully, this is not the first time our Timberline crews have utilized helicopter’s to transport materials. In all 3 phases of construction of the famous Manitou Incline in Colorado Springs a helicopter was also put into action. Learn more about The Incline construction in the link below.
The first task was the design of the trail and determining how many rock steps they were going to install and where they needed to climb in elevation throughout the trail. After this was determined, the crew spent months picking and digging through rock piles to find the proper stone steps to be used during the construction of the trail.
The TrailCraft crew then had to distribute the stone steps over multiple pallets so they didn’t exceed the weight limit of each helicopter trip. The crew had to then deliver the stone by semitrucks and drop the loads off at the jobsite. After all the stone arrived, each pallet of stone was organized, steel banded, net wrapped, and color labeled (colored and numbered). This ensured that each pallet would go exactly to the location on a map of the trail created by the crew leader.
Since the helicopter drops were so close to the City of Boulder and other open trail systems, there were multiple crews involved on the drop days to ensure no one entered the closed-off area at the time they had to fly. There was great communication between all crews. One crew with around 12 people ensured that hikers stayed off the trail and that they would not be tempted to run past the trail closure signs into the helicopter drop area. The next crew, made up of 3-4 people, assisted in loading secure pallets for the helicopter to lift. Among this group was a key communicator, letting the helicopter pilot know that the lift was safe to go. The third crew, which had 3 people securing the pallets, handled the drops in a safe, secure, and accurate location and another communicator letting the helicopter pilot know what elevation to the drop point (20ft. 10ft. 5ft.) on the ground and the proper location. Communication was important during these drops and made them very successful. There were no accidents or injuries and all the rock was delivered safely on site.
Once the trail was complete, the crew walked the trail and made sure there were no tools or debris left behind. There are a lot of components that go into trail building and the main goal is to create a connection between humans and nature. It’s important to build sustainable trails that are easy to maintain and that become a natural part of existing or new landscapes. We hope you enjoy the new additions to the Anemone Hill Trail and continue to enjoy the beautiful views it has to offer.