San Juan County, Colorado
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map
Nearby Towns: Silverton, Ouray
Nearby Trails: California Gulch, Maggie Gulch, Minnie Gulch, Eureka Gulch, Hurricane Pass
Trail Length: 6.39 miles
Elevation: 10,773 to 12,744 feet
Note that this trail is often known as "Picayne and Placer Gulches" because it is a combination of the two trails. It is called "Picayne Gulch" on this Web site for simplicity.
Though this trail can be run in either direction, it is probably the most fun to run it from the easy road following the Animas River to the connection with California Gulch. This puts you going uphill on the steep climbs at the trail's start. Though it is not a rule, uphill traffic usually has the right-of-way.
The trailhead is marked with a sign just south of the ghost town of Animas Forks. Just south of the trailhead, watch for a pullout area where you can see the remains of a footbridge crossing far above the river. This is definitely a sight to see, and something crazy to imagine using when it was in one piece.
The trail begins climbing right away, and it is usually very steep. This area may be impossible if wet or snowy. You soon find a small, flat section where a few vehicles can park next to some large, well-preserved mining buildings. This is the Treasure Mountain Mining Company site.
Take care when exploring this site, as many areas are quite dangerous. There are a few buildings to explore, and many things to make you wonder. The trail used to go through this area, but it doesn't anymore.
Continue past the mining buildings and soon you are well above timberline. The views here are spectacular as you climb easy switchbacks. When you start down the other side you are going into Placer Gulch.
There are many, many buildings in the ruins of the Gold Prince Mining operation at this far end of Placer Gulch. California Mountain is to your left, Treasure Mountain is to your right, and Hanson Peak is behind you. Be sure you are on the well-traveled and legal trail and not on a trail that seems like it gets very little use. This trail is the old trail and is no longer legal.
Be sure to watch for towers from the Gold Prince tramway high on Treasure Mountain, as many still exist. This tramway ran from the Gold Prince mine all the way to Animas Forks.
The trail soon ends at an intersection with the middle of California Gulch. Turn right to go a short distance to Animas Forks, or turn left to continue on to Hurricane Pass and the south end of Poughkeepsie Gulch.
Information last updated on September 7th, 2008.
From Silverton, drive northeast on Greene Street and keep right on Highway 110. Follow this easy road 11.5 miles to the trailhead on the left.
Meet at the Silverton Grocery in Silverton or in the ghost town of Animas Forks, which has a pit toilet.