Young Gulch Trail is a paradise for mountain bikers who love a blend of natural obstacles and serene wilderness. Located 13 miles west of Fort Collins, Colorado, up the Poudre Canyon, this 10-mile out-and-back trail provides an ideal setting for intermediate-level riders. With abundant creek crossings, technical rocky sections, and forested areas, this trail offers a unique riding experience.
How to Get There
From Fort Collins, take HWY 14 west towards Poudre Canyon. Continue for 13 miles past the HWY 287 junction, and another 3 miles past Poudre Park. The trailhead parking is available on the left, marked by mile marker 109.
The Trail Experience
- Terrain: Rocky and rooty lower sections, curvier singletrack in the upper areas.
- Difficulty: Intermediate, with various technical features.
- Elevation: Gradual climb to the top of the hill.
- Obstacles: Dozens of creek crossings and technical areas like the "staircase."
Ride Conditions and Considerations
- Seasonal Accessibility: While the trail has faced closures due to rehab from fires, it was reopened recently and is subject to seasonal conditions.
- Safety: Keep an eye out for occasional rattlesnakes and be alert for other trail users such as hikers or fellow bikers during the descent.
- "Young Gulch was my go-to trail when I lived in Fort Collins. The climb is manageable, but it's the technical aspects that will give your legs and balance a good workout."
- "The creek crossings here are no joke! Counted 48 of them each way. Be prepared to get wet; this is not a trail for those looking to stay dry."
- "If you're looking for an early winter ride, the frozen creeks make for a delightful challenge. The covering of snow along the trail adds to the experience."
When to Ride and What to Expect
- Weather and Seasons: Given the multiple creek crossings, late in the season is preferable for riding, especially if you want to avoid turning the outing into a hike-a-bike adventure.
- Equipment: Given the technical nature of the trail, a solid mountain bike with good traction and handling is essential.
- Hydration: Always take sufficient water, especially during warmer months. While there are streams, they may not be safe for drinking.
Young Gulch Trail stands out for its unique blend of technical challenges and natural beauty. Whether it's the dozens of creek crossings, the rocky sections, or the serenity offered by the thick forests, this trail near Fort Collins, Colorado, offers something for every avid mountain biker. The trail provides a fantastic escape from midsummer heat while keeping riders engaged with its variety of obstacles and terrain.