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McAllister Gulch
Eagle County, Colorado
White River National Forest
Holy Cross Ranger District
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map

Forest Service Road: 747
Trail Type: Straight Through
Nearby Towns: Red Cliff
Nearby Trails: Shrine Pass, Ptarmigan Pass, Lime Creek, Benson Cabin
Trail Length: 10.6 miles
Elevation: 9,275 to 11,891 feet

Recommended by Natalia

Do this trail last in a big, clockwise loop with Ptarmigan Pass that starts at Shrine Pass. It starts at Camp Hale and ends at an intersection with Ptarmigan Pass very near Shrine Pass. This trail is very steep at its start, with a huge hill climb that starts about 1.3 miles from the trailhead and continues for another 3.8 miles to the top of Resolution Mountain. Over the course of this distance it climbs 2,600 feet. Because uphill traffic usually has the right of way, you should travel uphill during this stretch of trail.

The trail climbs along Camp Hale property and parallel to Highway 24 at its start. At the ridge, the trail turns into McAllister Gulch itself and it begins its steady and steep climb through the trees. The trail itself is usually smooth with small rocks in it here and there. When it is dry, your tires may slip every once in awhile and 4-wheel drive is recommended. When the trail is wet or snowy, attempting this section of the trail is not recommended. Momentum will not carry you to the top of the hill.

There is a rough section as you get to the top of the climb, with rocks jutting out into the trail. This section may prove to be difficult for stock vehicles and it may be dangerous for ATVs. This section provides this trail's high-end rating, as you could tackle these rocks in a way to make the trail quite challenging.

Just after the rocks, the trail emerges from the trees at a flat parking area. This is a great place to stretch your legs and enjoy the big views.

Continue along the trail and note the intersection with yet another steep hill. This hill is short but it is not surrounded by trees, so a mistake here could be fatal. Take this optional spur to the top of Resolution Mountain for the best views in the area, with lots of room to park at the top.

After coming back down from Resolution Mountain, continue north along the trail. The trail stays fairly mellow as you wind your way through the trees and start a gentle though continuous descent. This end is not nearly as steep, and most vehicles will not have any issues all the way to the end.

The trail ends at a creek crossing where it intersects with Ptarmigan Pass. This is a very important intersection. If you find yourself headed back uphill, you have missed the turn. Keep watching for a place where you can cross Wearyman Creek. To do so, you will turn sharply left and go down a little hill to drop into the water.

To get to the Shrine Pass trail from McAllister Gulch, you must tackle 9.7 miles of the Ptarmigan Pass trail. This section of trail is not like McAllister Gulch. It is rocky and challenging, with many creek crossings providing wet, slippery rocks. Also note that there isn't much room here to pass other vehicles. You should make a mental note of the last pull out that you saw, just in case you have to back up. The creek crossings are usually the widest spots.

When you come to a wooden bridge you are at the Ptarmigan Pass trailhead and the Shrine Pass trail.

Information last updated on September 13th, 2010.

Member Reports

GPS Coordinates
(NAD83 Continental U.S. datum)

End at Ptarmigan Pass N39° 31.211' W106° 18.839' 9401 feet

Driving Directions

From Denver, take I-70 west to exit 171 and get onto Highway 24. At 15.4 miles, turn left on Resolution Mountain Road. Continue making left turns to work your way around Camp Hale to turn on McAllister Gulch road 708.

Meeting Places

Meet at the Starbucks at I-70 exit 234

Low-End Rating: 3
High-End Rating: 5
Rock Crawling:
Dirt & Mud:
Water Crossings:
Cliffs & Ledges:
Climbs & Descents:
Other Activities:
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Trail Photographs

Around A Bend Mt Holy Cross Winding Down

Trail Movies
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Maps and Coordinates
(Click a map to view full size)

Trail in Red
500 x 900 pixels
253 KB
Shrine Pass in Red, Lime Creek in Teal, Benson Cabin in Yellow, Ptarmigan Pass in Purple, and McAllister Gulch in Blue
900 x 900 pixels
563 KB

Mcallister Gulch (GPS Exchange File)
Resolution Mountain (Google Earth Placemark)
Mcallister Gulch Trailhead (Google Earth Placemark)
Mcallister Gulch Track (Google Earth Track)

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Trail information is only accurate on the date posted. Trails may have changed or closed since that date. Use this information for historical purposes only. Contact the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management for up-to-date trail information.

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