*Closure update* - the main trailhead and parking lot at the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space, along with the 3 Sisters trail through the property, will be closed for a mentored hunt in partnership with Colorado Parks and Wildlife the week of Sunday, November 26th. These areas may open later in the week. Please check our social media for the most up to date information.
During this temporary closure, the Salt Creek area and southern trailhead will remain open.
Situated just south of the Town of Eagle on Brush Creek Road, and nestled in the heart of the Brush Creek Valley is Eagle County’s newest Open Space, the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space. There are two trailheads and parking areas along Brush Creek Road to access the Open Space. The main parking lot with access to the 3 Sisters Trail is located approximately 4 miles south of Eagle, on the east side of Brush Creek Road. About 6 miles south of the Town of Eagle is the Salt Creek Trailhead and parking area. Make your first left after the historic, one room schoolhouse to access the Salt Creek area.
Photo by Todd Winslow Pierce, www.eaglevalleywild.org
Popular recreation activities at Brush Creek Valley Ranch include walk and wade fishing, hiking, dog walking, running, horseback riding, cycling, and mountain biking.
Please respect CPW’s fishing closures when using this property.
Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space trails and parking areas are open every day, sunrise to sunset. The main parking lot and 3 Sisters trail is closed from December 1st to July 1st to protect wildlife habitat and seasonal calving. The Adam’s Way trail is closed from December 15th to April 15th to protect wintering wildlife. A map of the seasonal trail closures can be found here. The Salt Creek area trails remain open during this time. Please respect the following rules and regulations to ensure we’re able to protect this valuable resource and recreational opportunities:
- The Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space is open from sunrise to sunset. No overnight parking.
- The 3 Sisters Trail and Adam’s Way trails are open to bikers, hikers, and equestrians. The Salt Creek area trails are open to hikers and equestrians only.
- The trail along Brush Creek from the main parking area is open to hikers and anglers only- this is designed as an out-and-back fishing access for Brush Creek. Please only access the creek in designated spots to avoid riparian damage.
- Pets must be leashed at all times.
- E-Bikes are not permitted on Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space trails.
- Hunting is not allowed on the property except for “special hunts” accompanied by CPW staff. Pass through access to adjacent BLM and USFS land is allowed with the appropriate CPW permits.
- No camping, no fires.
- No drone use.
- Stay on marked routes, cross country travel is prohibited.
- Respect the working agricultural operations and keep pets far away from all livestock.
- Walk and wade fishing is allowed in Brush Creek at the main trailhead area and along the paved path in the Salt Creek area. Anglers must have a valid license from CPW.
- Leave no Trace and pack out all trash. Trash cans are provided at the main trailhead area.
Educational Programs and Special Events
Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space was acquired to preserve important natural resources and to support the identified Conservation Values. Events and programming must be hosted by a nonprofit organization or local government, including special districts. Weddings and similar social events are not permitted on the property. Nonprofit organizations and local governments desiring to organize an event or programming on the property must seek advance written approval from Eagle County Open Space by filling out the following form: Open Space programming and special event request form.
The property supports habitat for a broad range of wildlife species that are typical of mountain valleys. Wildlife habitats of primary conservation and management interest include riparian areas and seasonal ranges for elk and mule deer.
Photo by Todd Winslow Pierce, www.eaglevalleywild.org
Most of the property is currently managed as a working ranch and is used for hay production, livestock grazing, and pasturing of horses. About 420 acres of land is used for irrigated pasture or hay meadow, and about 150 acres is dryland pasture.
Conservation of the Brush Creek Valley in Central Colorado has been a community effort for nearly 50 years. The purchase of the Brush Creek Valley Ranch effectively fulfilled that goal. In 1972, a developer started assembling land in the valley and made plans for a large ski area, golf courses, and over 1,600 homes. In 1999, after years of community opposition to the development, GOCO funding helped conserve a portion of the land by expanding Sylvan Lake State Park and United States Forest Service lands by 1,782 acres, halting the ski area concept.
In 2017, with funding from the GOCO Protect Initiative and many other generous donors, the developer’s remaining undeveloped 1,540 acres was conserved, ending the vision of a sprawling subdivision in the heart of the wide agricultural valley just south of the Town of Eagle. This parcel, formerly known as Hardscrabble Ranch, has been named the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space is owned by Eagle County and is protected by a conservation easement held by Eagle Valley Land Trust.
In 2020, thanks to additional support from GOCO, the Eagle Ranch Wildlife Committee, the Town of Eagle, and the Eagle Valley Land Trust, an additional 131 acres was acquired and conserved, making the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space now a 1,671 acre conserved landscape.
Management Planning and Public Process
The acquisition of the property in 2017 was the most significant step toward the long-term protection of the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space. This is an achievement the community can be proud of, and the benefits of the property's conservation will be felt for generations to come. The purpose of the Management Plan is to provide a framework for the long-term improvement, stewardship, and public use of the property so that it will continue to be an asset to the community.
A public management planning process for the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space spanned over seven months and included input from experts, stakeholders, user groups and the public, both during the initial scoping period in the spring of 2018, and on the draft Management Plan during the fall of 2018. The Eagle County Commissioners adopted the Management Plan for the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space, formerly Hardscrabble Ranch on November 13, 2018.
During the management planning process, Eagle County solicited suggestions from the public for a new name for the property. The community selected Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space by a nearly 2- to-1 margin.