Leavenworth Gulch to Waldorf

OutAndBack • 12.4 mi • 2024 ft

This beautiful high-alpine basin and lonely ghost town was once a major Colorado tourist destination. It is surprising that this wonderful high-country tour is not better known. The road up Leavenworth Gulch can be reached in only about one hour from Denver. The initial segment is steep, but the main shelf road provides a gentle ascent into a beautiful basin surrounded by high peaks. This tour is strenuous only due to its length. The route follows a portion of the old railbed of the Argentine Central, once one of the most thrilling rides in Colorado with grades of 10% and some curves of 145 degrees. Its slogan was “a lifetime in a day.” Understandably, tourist revenue on the line outpaced freight revenue 10 to 1. After the mine played out in the 1920s, Waldorf became a ghost town. The high altitude of the site has helped preserve some of the structures.
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Activity Type: Cross-Country Skiing
Nearby City: Georgetown
Length: 12.4 total miles
Elevation Gain: 2,024 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: More Difficult; Avalanche Danger: Moderate
Duration: 178 minutes up, 94 minutes down
Season: Mid-November to late March
Trailhead Elevation: 9,560 feet
Top Elevation: 11,594 feet
Local Contacts: Arapaho National Forest
Local Maps: USGS Georgetown, Grays Peak
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Recent Trail Reviews

2/24/2008

A little hard to find, so we didn't get as much snowshoeing time. The trail is not well marked and we ended up going in circles a few times before deciding to leave. The views are interrupted by huge power lines. I don't think we will attempt it again.

2/9/2007

Since it's technically uphill the whole way going in, it can be tough if (like me) you're not in great shape. But it's such a gorgeous area, no crowds at all, that it's definitely worth it. A gem!

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