Wilder Gulch Trail

Silverthorne, Colorado 80498

Wilder Gulch Trail

Wilder Gulch Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This gentle trail takes you up a willow-lined subalpine valley, past wonderful wildflowers and old cabin remains to the top of Ptarmigan Pass at 11,765 feet. The last part of the hike is on a dirt road open to motorized vehicles, but the views from the top of the pass are worth the walk.

You can see parts of the Sawatch and Gore Ranges as well as Grays and Torreys Peaks in the Front Range. A short hike will take you up Ptarmigan Hill, which offers even better views. Enjoy a day exploring Wilder Gulch."

More Wilder Gulch Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Easy Day Hikes Vail (Falcon Guides)
Maryann Gaug
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"Search for the remains of Tom Wilder’s cabin along this gentle subalpine trail. Travel along the creek, lined with willows, through open meadows with a few trees. Look for clues below to find the cabin remains in a wider spot in the valley. Initially the trail parallels I-70, and then it slowly curves to the right as it heads toward Wilder Gulch. In some places grass and plants grow over the trail, but the way is easy to find. Watch for a mucky spot—try to stay on the trail. Once you’ve entered Wilder Gulch, enjoy the beautiful wildflowers and open vistas. Ptarmigan Hill rears its head to the southwest, guarding the little valley at its foot. The building on top is part of the emergency communications systems between Summit and Eagle Counties. The trail wanders through beautiful meadows, while willows line the creek to the left. Look for red and yellow paintbrush, pink- purple fireweed, and blue lupine. A few little creeks may cross the trail, depending on available moisture. Trees, mainly spruce, grow in small clumps along the trail and on the hill to the north. The south side of the valley, with its north-facing slopes, is more heavily forested. Beaver ponds dot the meandering creek."
Hiking Colorado's Roadless Trails (Colorado Mountain Club Press)
Penelope Prudy
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"This gentle family hike follows a small stream and passes through meadows with summertime flowers and then spruce and fir groves, to a pass with vistas of the Gore and Sawatch Ranges. Although it’s on government maps and Web sites, the trail may not get included in the White River National Forest’s travel management plan. The trail’s uncertain future underscores the need for hikers to get involved in the public process."

Wilder Gulch Trail Trip Reports

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BEAUTIFUL! Easy but lovely. I thought the trail was kind of hard to find ...

OK, after getting off I70 into the Vail Pass Rest Area, park in the "restroom" parking lot (as opposed to the "dayuse" parking lot up top) and find the trail you'll see off the SE side of the lot (the Copper side, not the Vail side) and road coming into the lot. It is not marked "Wilder Gulch", it's just a trail which gets hard to see because in many places it's marshy, and then stuff grows very fast covering the trail ... but it is not terribly difficult to find. So wander around a bit, before giving up. The trail is spotty (in mid summer) but does become very plain to see after about 3 tenths of a mile into the trek.

After about a good 1/2 mile going East, the trail swings about 90 degrees to the South and you're in the Gulch, to the right of a great creek.

After 20 minutes, you won't even hear the I 70 traffic once you leave your car, it's a great afternoon.

Happy Dog LOVED this trail, but BEWARE ... I'm pretty sure we were stalked by a mountain lion (the Gulch has a high mountain ridge on the West side, perfect hiding spots for cats tracking dogs and puppy humans/kids) and there has been a reported case of a mountain lion attacking a little dog (Corgi), so be careful hiking dogs.

Wilder Gulch Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
1,245 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
3- 4.5 hours
USDA Forest Service, Dillon Ranger District, 680 Blue River Pkwy., Silverthorne; (970) 468-5400; www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver; www.dillonrangerdistrict.com
Local Contacts
USGS Vail Pass; Nat Geo Trails Illustrated 108 Vail/Frisco/Dillon; Latitude 40˚ Summit County Trails; USFS White River National Forest map
Local Maps

Trail Log