Douglas County, Colorado
Pike National Forest
Pikes Peak Ranger District
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map
Forest Service Roads: 344, 348A
Trail Type: Straight Through
Nearby Towns: Deckers, Woodland Park
Nearby Trails: Long Hollow Road, Missouri Gulch, Fern Creek
Trail Length: 4.18 miles
Elevation: 7,666 to 8,537 feet
Named Obstacles: Moab Hill
This trail is short and one of the more challenging trails in the Rampart Range Road system (second to Winding Stairs Road). It's very close to Highway 67, making its main obstacle, Moab Hill, very accessible.
Though this trail can be done in either direction, if you start at Long Hollow Road you will do Moab Hill in the uphill direction, which is much more fun. However, this trail is such a good time in either direction that you may want to do it in both on the same day.
If you start on Long Hollow Road, it would be quickest to start off of Highway 67. Follow the trail for a short way to forest service road 348 where you turn right. If you get to the Fern Creek trail you have gone too far.
Turn right here to enjoy the first part of the trail, a short bit that intersects with the Missouri Gulch trail. This part of the trail is fairly easy and possible for most SUVs. Because it intersects with Missouri Gulch, you could easily start here instead.
Illinois Gulch shares the trail with Missouri Gulch for a short bit, so turn south when you intersect. Turn left again at forest service road 348.B to start the truly fun section of Illinois Gulch.
The trail appears to be much like the other trails in the area at first, but then you find yourself at the base of a steep, loose hill. It is covered in dirt and small stones, and many places are rutted. You will need 4-wheel drive here, and possibly some good momentum. The hill is long and it continues farther than you can see from the bottom.
There is a resting place, and then another hill climb. From the very top, the views of Pikes Peak and the mountains are spectacular. Curve around to forest service road 344 and head down the big hill.
The descent is just as steep and fun as the climb was, and this is why the trail is just as fun in either direction. It's also why the trail may not be passable if it is wet or snowy.
After the descent is finished, watch for a large campsite with a fire pit to the left of the trail. This campsite is at the base of the Moab Hill obstacle.
There is plenty of room for parking at the top and bottom of the obstacle. There are also many lines through it as it is very wide and different in many spots. The easiest line is on the left and the most difficult line is probably on the right.
If you take the easiest line (the "bunny slope") you cross a series of ledges that are about a foot or two tall. They would be difficult for many stock vehicles and impossible for some.
If you take some of the more difficult lines you could either climb a smooth bit of slickrock or straddle a big crack. The rock here is sandstone, making it seem very much like a Moab obstacle. After the first smooth hill there are rocky ledges, but the bottom is the most difficult section.
Once you are past the obstacle, the way out is fairly easy. If you wish to only do Moab Hill, take this section to get there quickly (though this skips the big hill climb and descent).
This trail is a rare gem because it is short and full of challenges while still being close to a highway and large towns. This one is a must!
Information last updated on January 2nd, 2016.
- January 2nd, 2016: ran by Chad T., John W., Matt K., Paul, Roger and Walt
- January 10th, 2015: ran by Chad T. and Matt K.
- January 15th, 2011: ran by Jeffrey, Matt K., Roger and Terry
- October 24th, 2009: ran by Bill S., Bob S., Jeffrey, Mike S., Roger, Ryan S. and Walt
- May 10th, 2008: ran by Bill S., Gary, Jon B., Ladd, Mark U., Monica, Steve B., Steve G., Todd and Walt
If you start at Highway 67, look for a big sign that reads "Rainbow Falls Park" and a small street sign for Rainbow Falls Road. This is the start of Long Hollow Road, but you are only on it for a few yards before you must turn right onto the Missouri Gulch trail. Just after Missouri Gulch starts, turn right again to start Illinois Gulch at forest service road 344.
If you are coming from the other end to the north, take Long Hollow Road to forest service road 348 and follow it south.
If you are coming from the north end of the trail where it meets Missouri Gulch, take forest service road 348.B.
Meet at the large parking area at the start of Missouri Gulch just off of Highway 67.