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Moon Gulch
Gilpin County, Colorado
Roosevelt National Forest
Boulder Ranger District
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map

Forest Service Roads: 289.1, 289.1A, 290.1, 411.1, 412.1, 412.1I, 413.1, 417.1
County Road: 17
Trail Type: Network
Nearby Towns: Rollinsville, Central City
Nearby Trails: Kingston Peak, Rollins Pass East, Pickle Gulch, Yankee Hill, West Magnolia, Moffat Tunnel Road, Gross Reservoir, Gamble Gulch
Trail Length: 4.57 miles
Elevation: 9,208 to 10,537 feet

This is a short trail if you run it in a fairly direct manner from the trailhead on Moon Gulch Road to the end of the trail on Gamble Gulch Road. However, there are many, many spur roads off of this trail and you could explore the area all day. The trail as described here will go through all of the major challenges, but it definitely skips a lot of dirt road areas.

The trailhead and end of the trail are low in elevation, with the middle of the trail highest in elevation. That means that there will be an uphill section and downhill section no matter which direction you run it in. There is a big hill in the middle that will be uphill if you start at the standard trailhead, though, so this way is a bit more fun.

Moon Gulch Road is a well-marked dirt road that leaves the highway very near Rollinsville (near the curve in the highway just past East Portal Road). You work your way through residential areas until you come to an intersection. Continue straight at this point to start the actual trail.

About 3/4 of a mile from the trailhead is a clearing on the right just before you head into some pine trees. This is a fantastic place to have lunch or camp. A sign notes that this land is owned by the Worrick family but that others are welcome to use it. There is ample parking and sunshine as well as a sturdy picnic table.

Continue into the trees and you start to gently climb. About 1 1/4 miles from the trailhead you will come to two trees on either side of the trail that make it very narrow. This is an indication of much of the next section of trail. If you aren't comfortable going through these trees, do not continue.

After the narrow trees come more narrow trees, and the trail is often tippy out toward the edge. This would not be a good place to be in a vehicle if the trail has snow on it. An ATV should be fine, though.

At 2 1/4 miles from the trailhead you'll find a spur to your left that heads straight up the hill. Take this spur for a fun challenge, though it is short. Continue uphill and you will come to Gamble Gulch Road, a smooth and wide dirt road.

Turn left here to continue on the trail. At 2 1/2 miles turn left to find more challenges and scenery. The first thing you will come to is an old shaft house in decent condition.

Once you are past the shaft house, stay on the most-used trail at all intersections. You will wind your way down the hill and some sections are rocky and steep. Soon you reach the bottom and an open gate (if the gate is locked you will have to turn around here). You have intersected with Gamble Gulch Road again.

Turn left here to continue back out to Highway 119.

Information last updated on October 8th, 2007.

Member Reports

Driving Directions

From Denver, take I-70 or U.S. 6 from Denver to Highway 119. Take this through Blackhawk to Rollinsville. Just before you get to the intersection with Rollinsville's main street (East Portal Road), turn left onto Moon Gulch Road. The trail is an extension of this road.

Meeting Places

If you are going through Boulder, meet at the Starbucks at 3033 Arapahoe.

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

View from the Top Aspen Trees Shaft House

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

Trail in Red
800 x 800 pixels
375 KB

Moon Gulch (GPS Exchange File)
Picnic Area (Google Earth Placemark)
Moon Gulch Trailhead (Google Earth Placemark)
Shaft House (Google Earth Placemark)
Narrow Trees (Google Earth Placemark)
Moon 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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