Caring for Button Rock Preserve

Within this walk-in only preserve you will find Longmont and Ralph Price Reservoirs along the North Saint Vrain Creek. Longmont manages this natural watershed and reservoirs to preserve the resource and provide storage for the City's Water Utility.

Button Rock Preserve is located seven miles west of the Town of Lyons in the lower montane foothills of the St. Vrain Creek watershed. A section of the North St. Vrain Creek runs through the eastern third of the Preserve and elevations range from 6,000 feet to almost 7,500 feet. The City of Longmont purchased the Preserve primarily to protect and maintain the main municipal drinking water source for Longmont and Lyons. The area also functions as a nature preserve to protect the fragile watershed and allow limited passive recreational opportunities.

Today the Preserve is over 3,000 acres and public recreation activities include passive recreational activities such as fishing, fly-fishing, rock climbing, hiking, wildlife observation, and dog walking.

As visitation continues to increase, the need to balance resource protection with passive recreation has become critical. Visitation policies were developed starting in the 1960s and 1970s and were substantially updated in the 1990’s. We are evaluating current regulations to determine if they still align with the Preserve’s present-day management needs.

Button Rock Preserve is located seven miles west of the Town of Lyons in the lower montane foothills of the St. Vrain Creek watershed. A section of the North St. Vrain Creek runs through the eastern third of the Preserve and elevations range from 6,000 feet to almost 7,500 feet. The City of Longmont purchased the Preserve primarily to protect and maintain the main municipal drinking water source for Longmont and Lyons. The area also functions as a nature preserve to protect the fragile watershed and allow limited passive recreational opportunities.

Today the Preserve is over 3,000 acres and public recreation activities include passive recreational activities such as fishing, fly-fishing, rock climbing, hiking, wildlife observation, and dog walking.

As visitation continues to increase, the need to balance resource protection with passive recreation has become critical. Visitation policies were developed starting in the 1960s and 1970s and were substantially updated in the 1990’s. We are evaluating current regulations to determine if they still align with the Preserve’s present-day management needs.

As the project team explores what sustainable management of this important property looks like, we need to hear from you. 

Please share your story of what you value most about Button Rock Preserve.

Thank you for providing insights to the Caring for Button Rock project team by submitting your story. It will be one piece of several tools and evaluations to inform development of the Button Rock Preserve Management Plan.

You need to be signed in to share your story.

  • Button Rock is a Jewel

    by Mollie28, 3 months ago

    I became acquainted with Button Rock after it reopened to recreation in July 2015. I have lived in Boulder County and now Longmont for 30 years. Hiking with my dog is one my greatest pleasures but prior to finding Button Rock we only hiked on the Boulder OSMP system where she can be off leash. We hike year round here, often multiple times a week.  I bring out of town guests and family to share this lovely place and never disappoint them with the beauty and accessibility of the area. It is a privilege to have this gem and I... Continue reading

  • Wildlife and fishing

    by fishyerik, 4 months ago

    I've been fishing Button Rock for 15+ years and the impact of the flood has been facinating to watch.  Yes, the fishing hasn't been as good, but that is nature and we can't control it.  What has been wonderful to see is the positive impact of fewer people in the back reaches of the preserve.  On a recent trip I saw way may deer, elk, and mountain lion sign.  I'm glad to see the animals getting some relief.

    Also, I'll note that bug life is returning to the river...I saw lots of midges and one big stone fly.  Both are... Continue reading

  • Ruination by outsiders

    by Vargabright, 4 months ago

    Disgusted by the number of non locals that frequent and trash the preserve. Too lazy and entitled to pick up their dog stool and leave bags of pet waste on the trail. Theses non locals have descended on Button Rock en masse. Because of these inconsiderate jerks, an onerous dog policy is in force on May 1, essentially ruining my fishing and outback hiking experience with my two well behaved dogs. Now these people want bikes in the preserve after screwing it up for dog owners. I paid 30 dollars for a fishing permit this year to enjoy the preserve... Continue reading

  • Balanced and Connected

    by Fred, 4 months ago

    After reading about the management goals, and understanding Button Rock’s  need for balanced use, I would like to propose that stakeholders explore opening some of Button Rock to use by bicyclists as a connector of trail systems in the North St. Vrain area. Considering how active this user group is in maintaining trail systems, I believe this user group would be a valuable addition to Button Rock Preserve. 

  • Regional Trail Connectivity

    by Cdilis, 4 months ago

    As a Lyons, CO resident, conservationist and environmentalist, I ask staff and the city to consider allowing bicycles to use existing roads and trails within Button Rock Preserve, and to work with the neighboring public lands managers (Boulder County Parks & Open Space and the Forest Service) on connections for people on bikes to their lands.

    For people on bicycles, the Button Rock Preserve is a crucial missing link in regional public lands access from Estes Park to Lyons. Opening such a link would allow people on bikes to ride on trails and Jeep roads from Lyons to the Peak... Continue reading

  • No Bikes at Button Rock Preserve!!

    by Ruby, 4 months ago

    I do not agree with others posting here.  As a Longmont resident, I do not want bikes at Button Rock.  Keep Button Rock as a preserve without bikes. 

  • Regional trails access needed via Button Rock Preserve

    by rmhackett, 4 months ago

    As a Longmont resident, conservationist and environmentalist, I ask staff and the city to consider allowing bicycles to use existing roads and trails within Button Rock Preserve, and to work with the neighboring public lands managers (Boulder County Parks & Open Space and the Forest Service) on connections for people on bikes to their lands.For people on bicycles, the Button Rock Preserve is a crucial missing link in regional public lands access from Estes Park to Lyons. Opening such a link would allow people on bikes to ride on trails and Jeep roads from Lyons to the Peak to Peak... Continue reading

  • Regional trails

    by dquince, 4 months ago

    We need more regional trail connectivity for bikes.

  • Bike access

    by David LaSalle, 4 months ago

    Please consider allowing bicycle trails and access through the preserve.  This would help complete an  amazing network for off-pavement human powered travel from Estes Park all the way to Lyons.  

  • Expanding Trail Networks to Increase Accessibility

    by agoodlock, 5 months ago

    As a frequent visitor of the area and an avid mountain biker, I would strongly support efforts to increase bike access in the Button Rock Preserve area. Allowing for greater accessibility/connectivity would help alleviate environmental concerns for existing high use/high traffic trails in the area (e.g., Hall Ranch and Heil Ranch). Allowing access for mountain bikers would also draw in support from the mountain bike community and advocacy groups such as COMBA and other local volunteer organizations to perform regular trail maintenance and to build and maintain sustainable trails for current and future users. The mountain bike community in Lyons/Longmont... Continue reading