Backcountry Wilderness Area Management

Backcountry Management

The Backcountry Wilderness Area* is 8,200 acres or about 13 square miles of conserved open space. In January of 2006, Shea Homes completed early conveyance of 874 acres to the HRCA to build the Wildcat Mountain Trail System. In May 2009 the rest of the Backcountry was conveyed to the HRCA. In August of 2009 the HRCA opened The Highlands Point Trail System.


The Backcountry Wilderness Area's mission, as stated in the Management Implementation Plan, is to "Provide visitors with unprecedented opportunities to enjoy nature near where they live, while protecting and conserving natural, cultural, archaeological, and historical resources for the enjoyment of future generations."

Protecting Habitat

We ensure the wildlife and habitat will continue to thrive in the Backcountry Wilderness Area through several methods:

  • Trails are designed to minimize impact to habitat and wildlife by building them in strategically less vital areas and using less intrusive building techniques.
  • Seasonal closures of certain trails are enforced to protect wintering elk and nesting eagles
  • Activities are planned with consideration for time of year, place, and other factors to prevent disturbances of wildlife and habitat during sensitive times.
  • Because wildlife need open spaces to roam with little human disturbance, much of the Backcountry is managed primarily for wildlife and accessible only through guided hikes and programs.

We care for the property and its natural resources through various means:

  • Noxious weed management is an important part of habitat protection and restoration.
  • Conduct natural resource surveys to provide information to guide future management decisions.
  • Complete habitat restoration and improvement projects frequently.
  • Monitor vegetation and wildlife patterns and changes over time.

Managing Wildlife

The Backcountry Wilderness Area is one of the most pristine and beautiful areas along the Front Range offering habitat for wildlife including elk, mule deer, bear, mountain lion, eagles, coyote, porcupine, birds of all species, and much more.

Living with Wildlife (Colorado Parks & Wildlife Website)

Also see: Backcountry Conservation and Education Fund


Through the Backcountry the HRCA provides diverse, experiential opportunities in the outdoors in order to connect people with nature. Our programs range from simple nature hikes to activities based in science and culture, shooting sports and hunting, horseback riding and hayrides, and recreation such as camping and mountain biking. Through our diverse offerings we hope to be a vehicle that encourages as many people as possible to enjoy the wonders of nature and the outdoors. See Activities

Trails and Maps

The Backcountry has over 20 miles of natural surface trails perfect for mountain biking, hiking, trail running, and exploring nature. There are approximately 11 miles of private HRCA Trails and 12 miles of the public Douglas County East-West Regional Trail.
Trails & Archery Range
Trail Closures

Become a fan of the Backcountry Facebook Page, and get updates on trail conditions, new programs, special offers and contests, pictures, and up-to-date information on all Backcountry happenings.

*Note: The Backcountry Wilderness Area of Highlands Ranch is a separate entity from the Backcountry Sub-Association (Residential Community). The Backcountry Wilderness Area of Highlands Ranch is a conservation area owned and managed by Highlands Ranch Community Association.

HRCA Backcountry Wilderness Area Presentations

HRCA Backcountry Wilderness Area Bench

4th Quarter 2018 Backcountry Update

Mundus Conceptual Plan Final Report for HRCA Backcountry Wilderness Area

Backcountry Planning Areas Advisory Committee Report Regarding Potential Uses of The Backcountry Planning Areas

Mundus Bishop Proposal for Backcountry Wilderness Area

HRCA Backcountry Wilderness Area Study Group Presentation from HRCA

More Backcountry Management Information

Have a suggestion or question? Click to contact the Backcountry Wilderness Area Staff.

Questions? Contact Mark Giebel: email or 303-471-8885 .


We are working diligently to provide a clean, safe environment for you, but with all things related to COVID-19 there is inherent risk. It is up to you to choose to use the HRCA amenities, knowing that you assume risk when gathering with other people and visiting other facilities.