About the St. Vrain Valley

Photo courtesy of Barbara Cargill

Photo courtesy of Barbara Cargill

Home to bald eagles and white tailed deer, the St. Vrain Valley is a quiet and historic jewel within Boulder County. Originally inhabited by the Arapaho and Ute peoples and now one of the last pastoral farmland valleys on the Front Range, the St. Vrain Valley is a favorite of cyclists, runners, sportsmen, hunters, birder watchers, fishermen, and tourists. This valley is home to some of Boulder County’s oldest working ranches and a serene day trip just minutes from Boulder, Longmont and Lyons.

The town of Hygiene, situated in the center of the valley at 75th Street, is named after Hygieia, Greek goddess of health and cleanliness. The town’s original claim to fame was the Hygienic House, a sanitarium built in 1881 for patients seeking clean, high elevation mountain air.

The valley is an important corridor for all manner of wildlife, with regular sightings of blue heron, coyote, black bear, fox, owl, kestrel, red tailed hawk, and of course bald eagle and the valley’s own herd of white tailed deer.

Bryce Bradford, U6 Touchdown (CC BY-NC-ND_2.0)

Bryce Bradford, U6 Touchdown (CC BY-NC-ND_2.0)

Photo courtesy of Barbara Cargill

Geologically speaking, the St. Vrain River Valley stretches southeastward from the town of Lyons towards the city of Longmont. It is a broad and shallow grassy valley which follows and was created by the St. Vrain River. The valley floor is covered by the alluvial soils and gravels of the river’s flood plain. Notably, outcrop of bedrock is absent on the floor of the valley, yet to the south of the intersection of Hygiene Road and 61st street, the Hygiene Sandstone of the Cretaceous Pierre Shale can be observed on the valley’s southern slope as a prominent north-trending ridge commonly referred to as the Hygiene Hogback.

Photo courtesy of Claudia Berg

Photo courtesy of Claudia Berg