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Eagles at Wildcat

Trail Closures when Eagles are Nesting

Bald and Golden Eagles and their nests are protected by Federal Law and require trail closures and buffers when the nests are active.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) requires certain trail closures in order for the Highlands Ranch Community Association (HRCA) to be in compliance with Federal Law. Each year, the entire Wildcat Mountain Trail System (yellow and purple trails in map below) closes from January 1st through March 31st for wintering wildlife. This is also the time period where eagles begin their courtship and nesting behavior and the closure is required by the USFWS. 

April 1st, the trail system opens, except for the Wildcat Mountain Trail (Purple Trail). It remains closed if the eagles have begun nesting. The purple trail, along with part of Douglas County’s East/West Trail (The RED part) remain closed through September 1st as required by USFWS. The rest of the Douglas County Trail (green and blue parts, as well as the yellow parts of the Wildcat Trail System are open during eagle nesting. The red D.C. Trail does not close until mid-March; typically when the eagles are confirmed as nesting and then remains closed through September 1st, along with the purple trail. Questions: [email protected].

Trail Closures Map

Golden Eagles at Wildcat Trail

Click on a question below to see the answer.

Why is it necessary to close the Wildcat Mountain Trail for Eagle Nesting?

Golden Eagles are sensitive to human disturbances. Human disturbances can affect normal nesting and rearing behavior and result in:

  • Agitation behavior (displacement, avoidance, and defense)
  • Increased vigilance at nest site (affecting feeding of their young)
  • Change in forage and feeding behaviors
  • Nestlings falling out or trying to fly too early due to human disturbance
  • Nest site abandonment

The Wildcat Mountain Trail System is home to a Golden Eagle Nest.