Watrous Gulch Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
3.5-5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
9.0 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
688 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The Watrous Gulch trail is a demanding adventure through the Arapaho National Forest. With the perfect balance between strenuous and scenic, this is perfect for adventurous spirits seeking a challenge. Get a workout in as you ascend the steep rocky terrain to a stunning overlook.

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Route Description for Watrous Gulch Trail

The Watrous Gulch Trail is not for the faint of heart. Travel up the steep and technical terrain to the pass overlooking the encompassing snow-capped mountains. This scenic hike is a popular nature trail in the Front Range wilderness. We would recommend arriving early to secure a spot in the small parking lot. Note this path is exposed; ensure to wear sunscreen in the summer months and wear layers to protect against windy conditions as you gain altitude.

Begin your journey up the Watrous Gulch Trail from the Herman Gulch Trailhead. Track northwest along the Herman Gulch Trail and stay right at the first intersection. Here, you will be diverted onto the Watrous Gulch Trail. Hike through the meadowlands before climbing under sparse alpine tree coverage. Continue trekking up the path as it follows the curves of the Watrous Gulch Creek. The path will become almost entirely exposed as you near the mountain cirque. See Mount Machebeuf in the west, Woods Mountain in the north and Mount Parnassus in the east.

Continue travelling up the route as it guides you northeast up to the pass. You will enjoy 360-degree views of the snow-dusted peaks and the forested landscape below from the mountain saddle. If you are feeling adventurous, hike up the summit of Mount Parnassus or Woods Mountain. Revel in the vista before retracing your steps along the path back to the trailhead.

Getting to the Watrous Gulch Trail Trailhead

The Watrous Gulch Hike is located at the Herman Gulch Trailhead off I-70.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Dispersed Backcountry Camping, restrictions apply.

  • When to do

    June-October

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Watrous Gulch Trail Elevation Graph

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Watrous Gulch Trail Reviews

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