Hike of the Week: Take it easy at Miller Ranch
Walking Mountains Science Center
Trail Name: Miller Ranch Open Space.
Mileage: A couple of miles if you do all the loops.
Subjective Rating: Easy.
What to Expect
Park at June Creek Elementary (or Mountain Recreation if school is in session) and head toward the Eagle River, across the train tracks adjacent to Edwards’ blue bridge.
The Miller Ranch Open Space is a 32-acre parcel, owned by Eagle County and forever held in a conservation easement by the Eagle Valley Land Trust. What this means, is that the short trail system that exists now and the incredible beaver, heron and deer habitat will remain in a similarly natural state for forever.
The trail starts out on a narrow easement between the Eagle River and the old train tracks. From here, it opens up into the first of two meadows, the first dominated by sage, and the second by encroaching aspen stands. Closer to the river, hikers and snowshoers will see a larger variety of broad leaved trees — think cottonwoods — and evidence of muskrat, beaver and even the occasional bald eagle.
The trail system dead ends at private property belonging to the Arrowhead Golf Course.
Please respect the private property and turn around at the fencing. Toward the end of the trails, hikers and snowshoers will pass by remnants of the railroad drainage systems that carried water from the northern hillsides into the Eagle River.
This is a very common location to see seasonally grazing deer, elk and other large mammals. Because of this important foraging grounds, it is important to proceed with alertness toward the potential of wintering wildlife.
If elk and deer are seen in the preserve, it is highly recommended to leash dogs, giving the wintering wildlife a break from distractions. In the summertime, there are efforts underway to help out the riparian areas in the preserve along the Eagle River.
Please remember to use only established fishing accesses, and do your best to minimize detrimental effects on the riverbanks.