Forest Service Roads: 101, 105 Trail Type:Loop Nearby Towns: Highland Park Nearby Trails:Red Cone, Radical Hill Season: Year Round Trail Length: 11.7 miles Elevation: 8,931 to 9,817 feet Named Obstacles: Poser Rock, Mud Pits
This is a great trail if you're looking for a lot of flex. The "whoopdeedoos" (dirt moguls that twist your suspension) found through the entire trail are challenging to a stock vehicle, especially if you have a sway bar that is not disconnected.
It forms a big loop with the far end of the loop about 1,000 feet lower in elevation. 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.
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. There is a clearing along the way on both the left and the right of the trail, and just before this clearing is a rock in the right side of the trail called Poser Rock. It's a great rock for testing your suspension, but be careful -- your rear tire on the passenger side gets off the ground very suddenly and it would be very easy to flop your vehicle on its side.
A little further down the trail and you move into the trees. Please note that you can no longer take the shortcut up the hill on the former obstacle called Stump Hill, even if you see tracks made illegally by people before you. You must stay on the regular trail, so follow the sign to 101, then follow the Slaughterhouse sign (Forest Road 105) at the "Y" in the road. You'll climb a little, then start the decent to the far end of the loop. 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.
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.
Once you get to the "T" in the road you'll see a sign pointing to Slaughterhouse, back the way you came. If you go left here you'll complete the loop and find yourself back at the start. If you go right at the "T" you follow the Crow Creek trail (also known as Crooked Top).
Take Crow Creek for about a half mile to find the Mud Pits. This is an optional playground with plenty of room to play (or turn around). The mud changes throughout the year and between years. It's always deep, always big, and always messy fun. There have always been rumors of the closure of these pits, though they have never been closed by the forest service. Contact the forest service for the most up-to-date information about this area and the rest of the trail.
This trail is a good "winter trail" as it gets challenging with snow and ice. It stays in the trees and is very 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.