Gilpin County, Colorado
Arapaho National Forest
Clear Creek Ranger District
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map
Forest Service Roads: 175.3B, 175.3G, 175.3H, 175.4A, 175.4B, 271.1G, 273.2
Trail Type: Straight Through
Nearby Towns: Central City, Black Hawk
Nearby Trails: Kingston Peak, Pickle Gulch, Cumberland Gulch, Loch Lomond, Oh-My-God Road, Chinns Lake, Miners Gulch, Sheridan Hill
Trail Length: 10.6 miles
Elevation: 8,907 to 11,296 feet
This is a nice trail to connect Central City and Alice on Fall River Road, where you can see St. Mary's Glacier. A good portion of the trail has residential areas so about half of it does not require 4-wheel drive or high clearance. The rest of the trail is rocky and steep in places, but even the mild rocky areas are not difficult. There are spurs and full trails connecting to it in many places, and you can easily spend all day here.
You can start at either end, though most people start from Central City and drive the trail from east to west. It is a good idea to have a topo map with you and a GPS if you have one available as there are many spur roads and confusing areas. At least carry a compass.
From the Rocky Mountain Cemetery outside Central City, take Bald Mountain Road, marked 273.2 with a brown marker. This will take you past another cemetery that is very interesting -- get out and explore if you have the time.
The road turns into 273.2, and you can take this road to 175.1 and then 175.2. Then you will come to a big intersection of four trails. The trail furthest to the left is the standard way to go on Yankee Hill, 175.3. The trail to the right is Freeman Gulch, and it will quickly take you out to Apex Road and off of Yankee Hill. If you continue straight, you will do Miners Gulch, which is a slightly more difficult spur that loops back around to intersect with Yankee Hill again.
There is a rocky climb with a fun, optional playground just south of the trail. This is a great place to do some Colorado rock climbing in your vehicle. Just past this area are connections to the other side of Miners Gulch as well as Sheridan Hill.
After coming over the top of a hill you will see Cumberland Gulch on your left, road 271.1. Continue straight to find a few roads connecting on your right to go up a steep hill. This is Yankee Hill, and it is a fun climb to the top where you can loop around and come back down to the base of the hill. You can see the city from the top, and the views are fantastic.
Continue west on the main road to Alice and Fall River Road which is paved and has an exit on I-70.
This is a nice road for beginners looking to challenge themselves. It is also a good trail for snow bashing or running at night. Make sure you have a good sense of direction or a good navigator so you can find your way out the way you came if you get really lost.
Information last updated on July 24th, 2016.
- July 3rd, 2010: ran by Bob S., Gary, Jeffrey, Mark U., Monica and Walt
- June 2nd, 2007: ran by Austin, Bill S., Bob R., Jed, Ladd, Michael, Mike S., Monica and Walt
- August 12th, 2006: ran by Bill S., Brian E., Cheryl, Daniel, Ed C., Eric S., Gary, Mark U., Mike S., Monica and Walt
- September 10th, 2005: ran by Gary and Mark F.
- August 19th, 2003: ran by Mike S., Monica and Tim
From Black Hawk, continue west through Central City. Just past town turn left following signs to the Columbine Campground. There are a few cemeteries here but the trail starts next to the Rocky Mountain Cemetery.
Meet in Golden at the Phillips 66 gas station at Highway 93 and Iowa Drive.