|Elevation Gain||1660 ft|
|My Time||3 hr 57 min|
The Grizzly Gulch trail is in a popular area for campers and hikers. Mostly because it shares a road with the trailhead for the Grays and Torreys “14er” hikes. There are a lot of campers on the Grizzly Gulch side of the hike and the trail and parking lot will be busy so keep that in mind.
If you have a four wheel drive vehicle you can try to drive up the road and park higher up but as I don’t, I will talk about the hike from the base parking right off of I-70 at the Bakerville exit. From the base lot you will want to head up the dirt road away from the highway. This is one of those steep service roads surrounded by trees on either side.
The road is rocky and rutted and you will be passed by a bunch of cars most likely. It has a grade between 10-16% for most of it but is pretty straight up and not much by way of switchbacks. There are some nice views of the peaks as you walk but mostly just a slog along a road. This section is about 2 miles long so be prepared.
Around the 2 mile mark you will come to a fork in the road. A sign will point to the parking lot for Grays peak on the left and you will want to stay to the right. If you thought this would be the end of the road you would be a bit mistaken. The service road continues but does start to get thinner.
Down this smaller road you will pass by some spots that people like to camp and an old broken down building. Behind this building is the Grizzly mine if you want to check that out. After the ruins the trail begins to take shape. There are several stream crossings and the trail takes on more of a shape of a trail.
Torreys and Grizzly
After the split in the road and about a mile down you will come into a nice clearing and have a chance to really see Torreys and Grizzly peaks.
This is the start of the trail becoming really enjoyable. While it is still a forest service road, it becomes more of a trail than a road. There are several more streams to cross including this one that is only a couple of inches deep but wide and beautiful.
About a half mile past the clearing and the streams it will be back in the woods for another half mile. At this point in the woods a stream is running below you and you can hear it the entire time. there is one point where a little side trail appears that takes you right to a small cliff that leads above the water.
Flowers and Views
When you finally make it through this second section of woods the flowers appear everywhere. The clearing also provides a clear shot of Grizzly Peak.
The trail diminishes down to a thin line of grass and the map points you further toward Grizzly. Then, the “trail” heads up the bank of a small stream and there really isn’t an ending point. I kind of just went until it looked like a good place to stop before turning around.
This last clearing really did have some of the prettiest flowers I have ever seen in Colorado. Pretty much all of the colors were available but this one was my favorite.
There are flowers throughout the hike but they are definitely the most vibrant up here. Here is a look at some of my favorite wildflowers along the way.
This hike starts a little boring on the road but sure does pick up to some great views by the end!
I have put together a couple of videos for the Grizzly Gulch hike. If you enjoy the videos make sure that you subscribe to my YouTube channel. It is free and will give you updates when the latest posts are available.
The first is a narrative video of the hike:
This second video is a time lapsed version of the hike that I like to call the Hikers Edit:
Distance and Elevation
If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 8.71 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 1,660 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 11,449 feet. I was also moving for a total of 3 hours and 57 minutes.
The Grizzly Gulch hike is a pretty steady uphill climb the entire way. If you have a 4wd vehicle you can park higher up the road and not have to walk up the steep dirt road which will save you a bit of the effort. The other challenge is a series of stream crossings, depending on season, which and a little bit of technical challenge to the effort scale.
Most of this hike is on a service road which makes the terrain pretty constant. The road is not very well maintained and it has a lot of ruts and pot holes. When I went in July, the trail had a lot of stream crossings and mud. Waterproof boots or shoes are a must if you go during the wet season.
The trailhead for the hike is just off I-70 on the Bakerville exit. This is the same area that is used for the very popular Greys and Torreys hikes so parking is at a premium. 4wd vehicles can try to drive up the road to find camping or parking but note that they have posted no parking signs on the road and rumor is they are towing liberally. There are some port-o-potties at the trail parking at the base.
Wrapping up the Grizzly Gulch hike
I was really looking forward to this hike but have to say I was a touch disappointed. The 2 mile stretch of service road was really hard for me to get over especially with a bunch of cars driving by. Once I got off the main road it did turn into a lovely hike filled with streams, amazing views of the peaks and so many wonderful wildflowers.
I think if I had a 4×4 car and could drive up the road or find a camp site in the woods I would enjoy it a lot more. There were a ton of people camping up on the trail and that looked like it would be very fun. As a day hike it is OK but I don’t know that it is one I would do again without a ride.
I have added this hike and all of my hikes to my interactive map page that you can find here. If you have a suggestion or comment you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!