Forest Service Roads: 101, 105 Trail Type:Loop Nearby Towns: Bailey Nearby Trails:Guanella Pass, Geneva Creek Season: Year Round Trail Length: 10.7 miles Elevation: 8,877 to 9,790 feet
Stump Hill and the Mud Pits have been permanently closed.
This popular trail changes frequently as erosion, usage, and trail closures make their marks. It is a popular trail in the winter, though it is often icy. It forms a big loop with the far end of the loop about 1,000 feet lower in elevation than the higher sections. That means you must go down a large hill, then back up to the top on the other side. The two hills are not very similar, and they are both fun.
When you first start the trail (near a sign for Forest Road 101) it is a mellow dirt road with some dips in it, with a gate near the trailhead that is most often open. Hunting is no longer allowed in this area.
A short distance down the trail and you move into the trees. Follow the Slaughterhouse sign (Forest Road 105) at the "Y" in the road to start the big loop. It is typically run in the counterclockwise direction, with the rightmost fork in the "Y" at the start. You'll climb a little, then start the decent to the far end of the loop at the bottom of Slaughterhouse Gulch. This downhill section is fairly steep and long, though not technical. It can be dangerous when icy, and you could get into trouble here in the wintertime.
You stay at the bottom very briefly, enjoying rocky sections that can challenge stock vehicles. In the early season there is usually a muddy section at the bottom that cannot be avoided. If you see a "trail" going around this mud, do not use it. It is illegally made, and if you use it you will be off of the trail. The mud is usually completely dry by June and it usually remains dry for the rest of the year. It usually leaves big ruts and holes that keep the section fun all year.
Soon you find yourself at a large hill with big whoopdeedoos. You'll climb up a bunch of these, twisting your suspension every few feet. This hill is more challenging than the one you came down.
The top of the hill offers some challenges, with many paths through rocky sections of all sizes. You can find the most fun here and a little distance farther at another section of rocks. This part of the trail is the most technical.
Circle all the way around to get back to where you started the loop, and then stay straight to go back out to the trailhead.
This trail is fun in the winter as it gets challenging with snow and ice. It stays in the trees and is relatively safe, though there are a few tippy areas that could get you into trouble. Note that because of the long hills it could also be very dangerous, and you could get stuck at the bottom of the loop with no way back up unless you have a winch or some help. Note that there is a gate at the trailhead that could be closed if trail conditions are especially bad. You should contact the forest service before heading out to the trail to find out if it is open or not.
Turn right on Park County Road 43 off of Highway 285 about 24 miles from Denver. Follow this road northeast for just over 6 miles and turn left on Saddlestring Road. Turn left right away on FSR101. You'll see the steel Slaughterhouse Gulch sign just after 2 miles.
Meet in Conifer on Highway 285 at the Bradley gas station.
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.