South Spring Gulch
Clear Creek County, Colorado
Arapaho National Forest
Clear Creek Ranger District
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map
Forest Service Road: 712.1
County Roads: 22, 130
Trail Type: Straight Through
Nearby Towns: Idaho Springs
Nearby Trails: Spring Creek, Saxon Mountain, Cascade Creek, Trail Creek Road
Season: Year Round
Trail Length: 8.6 miles
Elevation: 7,620 to 11,156 feet
This trail provides alternatives to other trails in the area for getting in and out of the trail system, but it's also a fun and scenic one on its own. It is a steep and steady climb from just outside Idaho Springs, and if your vehicle is prone to overheating you may have issues on the way up. The trail is almost always wide enough to pull to the side to let your vehicle cool down, though.
The eastern, early part of the trail is easy as it goes by residential areas. Once you pass the intersection with Trail Creek Road, you leave residences behind. There is a wide spot with a side trail that goes down to the Ben Harrison Mine, and the views from the overlook above it and on the trail are fantastic. You spend a lot of the trail in the trees, so this is a great place to get out to see the sights.
After the overlook and mine, the trail intersects with the Cascade Creek trail three times to the south. Then there is a big intersection where Spring Creek comes in from the north. This intersection is very close to the Spring Creek Rock Garden, so if you're up for something technical and challenging this makes a nice diversion.
You'll intersect with Cascade Creek one more time before the trail ends at a "T" intersection with the Saxon Mountain trail. Turn right here to head down the trail and to Georgetown. Turn left to go the short distance to the top of Saxon Mountain and great spots for lunch.
Information last updated on July 11th, 2015.
- July 4th, 2015: ran by AJ, Ben, Bill S., Dominik, Frank, Gary, Matt K., Mike S., Monica, Nate and Walt
From Denver, take I-70 east to exit 240 at Idaho Springs. Go south on Chicago Creek Road, County Road 103 for 4.5 miles to find the trailhead at a dirt road on the right.
Meet at the Clear Creek Ranger District office at 101 County Road 103 in Idaho Springs, a very short distance from the trailhead.