Lion Gulch Trail

Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado

Distance3.7mi
Elevation Gain1,911ft
Trailhead Elevation7,365ft
Top8,697ft
Elevation Min/Max7280/8697ft
Elevation Start/End7365/7365ft

Lion Gulch Trail

Lion Gulch Trail is a hiking and biking trail in Larimer County, Colorado. It is within Roosevelt National Forest. It is 3.7 miles long and begins at 7,365 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 7.4 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,911 feet. Near the trailhead there is parking.

Lion Gulch Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Though Lion Gulch Trail actually begins in the foothills life zone, the entire hike’s ambiance is characteristic of the montane zone, in which it eventually arrives. Located between Lyons and Estes Park, Lion Gulch is a highly floristic trek to a broad valley homesteaded in the late 1800s. The route rises steadily, with a few brief segments stony and steep. The trail never strays too far from the water, and it travels in and out of shade before opening into a wide valley at the head of Lion Gulch.

As is true throughout the Rockies, timing is important. By mid-June, wildflower species may number around 50, while one month later yields upwards of 100 species, qualifying Lion Gulch as a “century” trail. The uncommon (and uncommonly beautiful) wood lily blooms here in early July, while hikers may find the distinctive calypso orchid in June. If your hike is perfectly timed, they may both be in bloom. Wildflower alert: A “century” trail that features more than 100 species at peak bloom, including the rare wood lily."

"Lion Gulch is for the expert rider looking for a technical challenge. Steep, rocky sections on both the up and down make this a ride that only the hard-core would enjoy. Once reaching Homestead Meadow feel free to explore the many trails leading to various old homesteads. Tread: 5.0 miles on singletrack and 0.8 mile on doubletrack."

"A beautiful hike up through Lion Gulch brings you to Homestead Meadow, the site of numerous, abandoned settlements from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

From the parking area, pass the restroom on the right and go down to the first footbridge. Cross over the bridge and travel through a small meadow into the trees and up to the second footbridge. Cross the footbridge; on the other side the trail forks. Right is for horses and left is for hikers. Go left up the steep, rocky hill on rock and wood steps. The trail climbs away from the creek on extremely rocky tread. Gain the ridge, with US 36 on the right."

Lion Gulch Trail Reviews

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8/7/2018
A fun hike. The meadow is beautiful and the old homestead ruins are really interesting. There are a few rough sections along the trail, but the distance, steepness, and elevation are all fairly moderate. The meadow are is very easy walking. Watch out--lots of poison ivy!
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8/21/2010
Nice trail up to Homestead Meadow. Not much left at the Walker Homestead. Griffith Homestead, just up the trail, has more of a building left. Very popular trail, I would recommend an early start if you're after peace and quiet.
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7/5/2009
I didn't see much evidence of horses while I hike this trail. I would consider this a moderate hike, although there is a fairly steep/rocky section maybe a half mile from the old homesteads. If went in the early morning and was able to see some wildife - various birds that I wasn't familiar with at the time. Some good views along the way and the homesteads are in poor shape and not much to most of them but the signs around the homestead area are very interesting and give a good sense of the areas history.
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8/13/2007
We chose this trail because it had promise for finding mushrooms for photographing and identifying. This wasn't the best hike for this purpose. Nevertheless, their were many wildflowers and it was a challanging hike, particularly for senior citizens.
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10/1/2006
The Fall colors were beautiful this time of year. The old homesteads were really fun to explore. The trail did have a lot of roots and horse manure. Besides those two minor annoyances, the trail was great. However I would rate it more of a moderate than strenuous hike.
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6/1/2006
Start with a day forest for the first half mile or so then you meet the stream and it gets better all the way to the meadow. Lots of history and a good place for lunch. Enjoyed the hike very much, moderate in difficulty
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3/22/2005
I have done this hike several times, both scouting it for a hike and leading it as well as just participating with someone else leading. It can tend to have lots of horse droppings as it is maintained by a horse riding group, something that would not happen were they not allowed to use the trail. I have been forced down out of the meadows (destination) several times by thunderstorm activity and open nature of the end of the trail. The ruins are not spectacular, though interesting, and at some times of the year it is a century trail in that it can have over 100 wildflower types in bloom, including calypso orchids. Worth the trip, and I too would rank it less than strenuous-more like moderate.
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Lion Gulch Trail Photos

Trail Information

Roosevelt National Forest
Nearby City
Roosevelt National Forest
Parks
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
Roosevelt National Forest
Local Contacts
Trails Illustrated/Cache la Poudre/Big Thompson #101
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018