Round Trip Distance: 3 miles
Elevation: 6024 - 6143 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Usage: Hiking - Equestrian - Dogs - No bikes
Time: 1 hr. 30 mins.
Trailhead: BS Road
Attractions: Old homesteads, solitude, wildlife, wildflowers
View Old BS Road in a larger map
The Old BS Road is located in the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, west of Glade Park, in the vicinity between the Knowles Canyon and Jones Canyon trailheads. This section of BS Road was orphaned when it was rerouted along the rim of Sieber Canyon. Although there is a sign that indicates the road is open to hiking and equestrian use this isn't an official trail and there isn't a regular trailhead. With that said, it's hard to drive by a spot that is marked with the iconic hiking symbol without checking it out. In my opinion the old road has a lot to check out with its old homesteads and the 3 or 4 buckboard wagons that are rotting away beside the trail.
There isn't much room for parking around the gate and it is probably a good idea not to block the gate. There are some places where you can pull far enough off of BS Road and park. The hike doesn't have to start at this gate. It could begin anywhere along BS Road that is part of the loop including at the lower gate just before the Jones Canyon trailhead.
The first part of the road is still getting use from whoever it is that has a key to the gate. There are quite a few deer and elk in the area and don't be surprised to come across bear or mountain lion tracks.
The first old home site is set in a very picturesque spot. When land was acquired through the Homestead Act of 1862 the homesteader was required to build a home that measured at least 12 by 14 feet. That is why so many cabins that look to be about the same size can be seen scattered all over the western United States. To gain title to a 160 acre parcel the homesteader was also required to live on the land for 5 years and grow crops. Areas like this on Glade Park that had no dependable water source had to rely on dry farming techniques to be successful. In the arid west dry farming is all but impossible and that is why you will also notice so many small dams and reservoirs. Just down the road from this homestead there are several old retention ponds that were made to trap water from storms and snow melt in an effort to make it possible to grow some crops and eke out a meager living.
There are 3 or 4 old wagons along the road. Some of them still have their axles but all of the wheels are gone.
The road continues in the same direction until it comes to an intersection. The original BS Road went to the left at that point and continued past a couple more homesteads. If you are prone to exploring you probably wouldn't have too much trouble finding your way over to Knowles Canyon or around the mountain to Jones Canyon. A good map and GPS would be pretty helpful for the adventure.
It has been a long time since the last part of the road has had much use. It is overgrown with grass through one stretch but you can generally see the outline of the underlying road. When you make it back around to the current BS Road you will discover that you have to climb over the locked gate. There is a trail that runs along the inside of the fence heading toward the Jones Canyon trailhead if you want to explore down that way a little more.
As you hike out along BS Road to get back to where you began you will pass a couple of popular camping spots along the rim of Sieber Canyon. I believe that open fires are prohibited on the ground at all times but a fire pan might be permissible.
The Old BS Road is a good place to explore and maybe take your dog, or kids, for a run. It is always interesting to mill around old homesteads. As long as a wall or roof beam doesn't fall on you I don't know what the harm would be. Or maybe you are just curious because you are driving by and happen to see the little hiker sign. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.