Sawhill Ponds Trailhead
People enjoy open space for physical, emotional and mental health. Remember to always be courteous. Don't forget to:
- Plan visits ahead of time and don’t park illegally at full trailhead areas.
- Remember to “keep the space in open space.” Maintain 6 feet of distance from people not in your household.
- Leave No Trace. Stay on trail and walk through mud. If you step off trail to let others pass, immediately step back on trail.
- Protect first responders. Know your limits and don’t take unnecessary risks.
- Visit OSMPTrails.org to see current trail closures, historical data that shows areas of high and low open space use and trails that are wider than 6 feet. See when trails are busiest through our Visitation Data Explorer.
East of the Boulder city limits on the west side of 75th Street, 0.6 mile north of Valmont Road.
Please check for Trail & Area Closures.
You are responsible for knowing and complying with all closures and OSMP rules & regulations.
Ice on ponds and lakes
You can help to keep you and your pets safe by keeping them off OSMP's icy lakes. Many times, pets that fall into icy waters will be able to get out or self-rescue without assistance.
If it happens to you while visiting OSMP and your pet is unable to get out of the water, stay off the ice! Call 911 and Boulder Fire-Rescue will respond and rescue your pet!
A parking lot at the trailhead.
Please keep your car doors locked and your car windows rolled up at all times while leaving your vehicle parked at OSMP trailheads. Also consider leaving important valuables at home or take them with you while visiting open space. To report suspicious activity please call City of Boulder Dispatch 303-441-3333 or Boulder County Dispatch 303-441-4444. For crimes in progress, call 911 immediately.
Sawhill Ponds Wildlife Preserve is owned by Colorado Parks & Wildlife and managed by the Open Space and Mountain Parks Department. There are trails that wind along the ponds. There are opportunities for hiking, wildlife observation and nature study, picnicking, photography, and fishing. All park rules and regulations are strictly enforced. Swimming and boats are prohibited.
Sawhill Ponds Wildlife Preserve is owned by Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) and managed by the Open Space and Mountain Parks Department. All CPW fishing regulations apply, including special catch size limits posted on-site. Visit the Fishing webpage for more information about fishing opportunities and regulations. Sawhill Ponds is exempt from the new CPW regulation requiring a fishing or hunting license to access State Wildlife Areas - a license is not needed to access Sawhill Ponds. If planning to fish, a valid CPW fishing license is required for anglers 16 and older.
A float tube is allowed for the purposes of fishing at Sawhill Ponds. A float tube, also known as a belly boat or kick boat, is a device which suspends a single occupant in the water from the seat down and is not propelled by oars, paddles or motors. No kayaks, carry-on boats, watercraft, inner tubes, or wadding and swimming are permitted.
Fishing line and trash can kill wildlife. Please pick up all plastic trash you find! Discarded fishing line is especially dangerous to wildlife. Animals may eat or become entangled in litter, causing them to drown or starve to death.
This area is identified as being popular with people using wheelchairs. See the Accessible Trails Page for details.
An RTD bus passes fairly close to this trailhead. Learn about Taking the Bus to OSMP.
Facilities are available.
Several picnic tables are available adjacent to the main parking lot, along with benches and a boardwalk. There is a covered picnic pavilion. No drinking water is available.
No bicycles are allowed in this area.
Learn about bringing your dog to OSMP. Dogs must be leashed at all times west of the main parking lot. To the east of the main parking lot, dogs must be on a hand-held leash at all times unless they meet the voice and sight control standard and display a City of Boulder Voice and Sight tag. Dog excrement removal is required by law.
Allowed on most trails. Off-trail riding is discouraged to protect rare plants and wildlife habitat. Learn more about riding your horse on OSMP.
Sawhill Ponds is the home to many different kinds of waterfowl, fish, birds of prey, amphibians and reptiles. During spring and fall, the ponds provide a stop-over for migrating ducks.
The 18 ponds at Sawhill are the result of a gravel mining operation and reclamation project. Boulder Creek, now at the northwestern boundary of the ponds, has traversed the entire area in the geologic past. This ancient floodplain laid down great quantities of sand and gravel, and these deposits were mined for several decades until the early 1970s. When the mining ceased, groundwater filled the pits resulting in a wetland area that provides marvelous habitat for many species of wildlife. The ponds are stocked by Colorado Parks & Wildlife, and warm water fishing is a popular activity.