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A young boy kneeling on a pebbly riverbank reaching out to touch the water of a shallow stream surrounded by greenery.
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Colorado Gulch Preserve

Nestled within the picturesque landscape of the Wood River Valley, Colorado Gulch Preserve boasts a rich history deeply intertwined with the region's pioneer roots. Once a part of the Justice Dairy, this land bears witness to the toil and dedication of founding pioneer families who cherished it for generations. The Hop House, now a charming remnant of the dairy, stands as a testament to a bygone era. Throughout its history, Colorado Gulch Preserve has been the subject of captivating stories and pivotal moments. Previous owners once considered subdividing this hallowed ground, sparking a movement to preserve its natural beauty and heritage.

FISHING ALLOWED,  NO HUNTING

Leading the charge of conservation was the Wood River Land Trust. Thanks to the support of our community, what originally started as a small conservation easement has now become one of the most celebrated protected areas along the Big Wood River, and serves as one of the most important components of the Hailey Greenway

In 2018, the Colorado Gulch Preserve was expanded by nine acres thanks to the generosity of a silent donor and big fan of the Land Trust. This preserve is well-regarded as a community treasure, and rightfully so. With a multi-use trail system, protected river corridor, habitat for wildlife, and multiple ongoing restoration projects, this area has plenty to offer everyone in the Valley.

Today, Colorado Gulch Preserve stands as a great example of a successful city partnership. Thanks to the commitment of the Wood River Land Trust and the unwavering dedication of local residents, this slice of history remains an oasis of natural beauty, accessible to all who wish to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of the Wood River Valley's past and present.

Partners: Landowners, Dr. Grant & Sheri Stevens

ACCESSIBILITY

Wood River Land Trust endeavors to create Universal Access trails throughout all public access preserves. Universal Access is defined as a stone aggregate trail that complies with the Outdoor Guidelines:

  • Tread Surface: Clear, firm and stable with a minimum width of 36”  

  • Tread Obstacles: 2” high maximum 

  • Cross Slope: 5% maximum 

  • Running Grade must meet one or more of the following:

    • 5% or less for any distance 

    • Up to 8.33% for 200’ maximum 

    • Up to 10% for 30’ maximum 

    • Up to 12.5% for 10’ maximum 

    • For all running grades above 5%, a resting interval must be provided at both ends of the grade. Resting intervals and passing spaces may overlap 

    • No more than 30% of the total trail length may exceed a running grade of 8.33% 

  •  Passing Spaces: 60” width, provided at least every 1000’ where trail width is less than 60” wide, with a maximum 5% cross slope 

  • Signage must provide the following: 

    • Length of the trail or trail segment

    •  Surface type  

    • Typical and minimum tread width 

    • Typical and maximum running grade 

    • Typical and maximum cross slope  

At Colorado Gulch Preserve, the trails will be universal access by mid-October 2023. Progress is also being made on ADA parking, the current parking lot is currently flat, crushed rock.Note: While Wood River Land Trust endeavors to upgrade the majority of existing trails to Universal Access status, not every trail is able to be converted because they are in the floodplain and if they were upgraded to Universal Access status, angular rock would be washed into the river during Spring flooding every year which is not ideal for the health of the river.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT

A beaver swimming in water with its head above the surface, ripples around it.

WILDLIFE

Colorado Gulch Preserve is home to a variety of wildlife. Keep your eyes open and up and you might get to see ground squirrels, migrating waterfowl, elk, moose, beavers, and more!

PRESERVATION

Colorado Gulch Preserve, linked intricately with the Hailey Greenway, is a vital conservation endeavor. This pristine area safeguards natural beauty, historical value, and enriches Hailey's recreational and environmental fabric.

Preserving Colorado Gulch maintains a serene refuge within the Greenway, offering solace from urban life. Its meadows, streams, and trails align with the Greenway's aim of fostering outdoor pursuits and nature immersion.

This bond between Colorado Gulch and the Greenway provides a retreat for outdoor enthusiasts while highlighting the importance of preserving natural spaces for community well-being. Protecting this gem ensures future generations can enjoy its blend of conservation, recreation, and tranquility.

A tranquil autumn scene featuring a pond with reflections of surrounding trees in vibrant fall colors, with snow-capped mountains in the background.
Group of hikers with a dog walking on a mountain trail with scenic landscape in the background.

RECREATION

Embark on diverse outdoor adventures at Colorado Gulch Preserve – a sanctuary of both excitement and serenity. Lace up your hiking boots or gear up for thrilling biking, exploring enchanting trails through meadows, ancient groves, and alongside the tranquil Colorado Gulch stream. Immerse in nature's beauty, rejuvenating senses and nurturing the soul.

For water lovers, indulge in fishing along pristine waterways. Each cast connects with the aquatic world. Whether seasoned or novice, all are warmly welcomed, fostering a profound connection with the river's rhythm.

Elevate birdwatching as the preserve unveils avian marvels. From majestic raptors to vibrant songbirds, each step reveals the captivating tale of feathered residents.

ETHICAL LAND USE

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MINDFUL
PET OWNERSHIP

While dogs are welcome, kindly clean up after them to protect water quality. Keep your furry friends under voice control, ensuring a peaceful coexistence with both other visitors and the local wildlife.

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WARM
GESTURES

A simple smile and wave can go a long way in fostering a sense of camaraderie. Greeting fellow explorers with kindness creates an atmosphere of unity and appreciation.

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HEIGHTENED AWARENESS

As you traverse the trails, stay mindful of your surroundings. By respecting the natural habitat and its inhabitants, we create an environment where both humans and wildlife can thrive in harmony.

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NATURE'S
CALL

Please be aware that there are currently no restroom facilities available within the Preserve. We advise all visitors to come prepared and plan accordingly for your outdoor adventure.

WE BELIEVE THAT BY UPHOLDING CERTAIN RESTRICTIONS, WE ENSURE THE LONGEVITY AND WELL-BEING OF OUR PRESERVE.

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LEAVE
NO TRACE

Overnight camping, fires, and fireworks are not allowed. Let's cherish the untouched beauty of the Preserve for all to enjoy.

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STAY
ON PATH

To protect ecosystems, please avoid creating new trails. Stick to designated paths to minimize our impact.

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PRESERVING WILDLIFE

Other than fishing, we don’t want to encourage harassing wildlife.

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NO
SMOKING

For the safety of the environment and all visitors, smoking and open flames are not permitted.

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NO MOTORIZED VEHICLES

Motorcycles, snowmobiles, and ATVS need to remain outside the Preserve

A lady wearing a brimmed hat holding a basket of apples under a tree with greenery in the background

PHOTO
OPPURTUNITIES

THE ORCHARD

The Orchard at Colorado Gulch Preserve is a community program that brings people together around food production while demonstrating how conservation and agriculture can go hand in hand. The historic homestead fruit orchards of the Wood River Valley have largely been converted to residential space. By hosting a two-acre orchard available to the public, the Land Trust is bringing back fruit trees and shrubs that provide food for our community and habitat for wildlife. The orchard is a place for students and adults to volunteer and learn about aspects of fruit tree production - planting, harvesting, pruning, watering - and how birds, insects, and other wildlife use orchards as habitats.

FUTURE PLANS

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COLORADO GULCH BRIDGE

Seven years after flood waters damaged the Colorado Gulch Bridge beyond repair, plans to build a new bridge and reconnect Hailey’s east bank of the Big Wood River to the popular recreation area are still moving forward. A 120-foot steel pedestrian and equestrian bridge is estimated to be completed late summer 2024 or early fall 2024, depending on river conditions in Spring 2024.

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RESTORATION PROJECTS

Improvements near Heagle Park include expanded parking for visitor convenience, new public restrooms for accessibility, and meadow restoration initiatives. Tree planting efforts enhance the park's beauty, while river restoration projects aim to preserve the waterway's ecological integrity, ensuring its appeal for generations to come.

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HARE FAMILY TRAIL

Dick Hare was passionately committed to preservation in the Wood River Valley. Just before his passing, Dick's three children approached Wood River Land Trust with a desire to honor their father with a gift to the Land Trust. After some discussion, the family generously donated funds to construct and endow an ADA trail at Colorado Gulch in their father's honor. This beautiful trail is known as the Hare Family Trail and will serve as a lasting tribute to Dick's love of our Valley.

GETTING THERE

To get to the Colorado Gulch Preserve from downtown Hailey, head south on Main Street and take a right turn onto Cedar Street followed by an immediate left onto Broadford Road. After about a mile, take a right onto Colorado Gulch Road, and park in the gravel lot at the end of Colorado Gulch Road. 

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