Butler Gulch

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This was a really fun hike. It is about or just over 5 miles out and back, though the out portion is practically uphill the entire way. There was snow and ice on portions of the trail, enough to make it slippery in some areas. Hiking poles definitely came in handy and Yaktraxs would have been good too in some spots. But most areas were completely snow free.

Dogs are allowed on the trail, so we took Maggie along, and she seemed to love every minute of it. She ran up and back so many times she definitely got much more mileage in than we did. She only slowed somewhat near the end of the hike, but even then she was going strong. That evening though we could tell she was tired and she lounged in her bed most of the night.

There were some little stream crossings. The water was at a level that it was easy to step across stones or branches, and the hiking poles helped with stability. We really didn’t come across many people on the trail, and once we reached the alpine tundra, didn’t see anyone else until we were again nearing the car.

The trail itself was pretty, mostly woodsy with some breakout views of the surrounding mountains. Once the trail opened onto the alpine tundra though, the views were magnificent, including the Continental Divide. We spent a lot of time here just soaking in the views.

At the turn around point on the trail, we were surprised to discover equipment from an old mine. This was really interesting and we explored for awhile, looking at all of the leftover machines and tracks. K was especially interested in scoping out the old engines.

We plan to do this hike at least once more, as we hear the wildflowers up here are so intense in the spring and would love to see it for ourselves.

The Basics

Who: For anyone who’s interested and in good enough shape, be prepared, and make sure to be mindful of the effects of altitude.

What: Approximately 5 mile out and back hike, mostly uphill in the way out and downhill on the way back.
Where: Near Idaho Springs, CO

When: Hiking or snowshoeing options year round; conditions dependent on the weather. Come prepared and dress appropriately!

Why: Great hike with great views for hiking, snowshoeing, picture taking, wildflower viewing!
How: Look up the exact location online and pay attention to directions and parking instructions to reach the trailhead. Then begin your hike, enjoy!
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