Butler Gulch Trail
When we repeat a hike you know it has to be good!! One of our favorite hikes is Butler Gulch Trail, outside of Empire, Colorado; near Henderson Mine! The first time we did this hike this summer we fell in love the moderate to high level of the hike, the beautiful streams and waterfalls along the path, the vast open valley full of wildflowers, and then Continental Divide waiting to be peaked! It had everything that we love about hiking and Colorado wrapped into one trail. We hiked the trail a few weeks back and experienced some snow and ice packed areas, but the same gorgeous vistas! Here’s a little pictures and tidbits about the trail!
The trailhead for Butler Gulch starts at the large parking lot across from the Henderson Mine. From Denver, take I-70 West and Hwy 40 North towards Berthoud Pass. Make a left towards Jones Pass and the Big Bend Campground. Stay on this road toward the Henderson Mine. On the right you will see a dirt road that leads to a large parking area. There is an upper parking lot, if that is full there is another lower lot. You will see a yellow metal fence that you pass through to start the hike.
The trail is a gentle incline approximately 5 mile long. The start of the trail is interior path lined with streams and fun logs to climb around and over along the way!
In the summer this trail is fun to trail run off an on along the way, but this time of year there are patches of ice and packed snow so we hiked along!
What to Pack?
I have a master list that I always use, and after a little bit of time, it becomes repetitious, but I will share my list and some of my favorites to make it easy for you! The key is teaching your kids about layers and responsibly for carrying those layers, once they shed them. We each have a great lightweight jacket that zips with a hood. The kids have Northface, that they love and we have a Marmont. Also packing dry clothes and socks for afterwards, because we all know how kids are and the absolutely love to get muddy and wet!! I hike with a backpack, because isn’t that what mom’s do; carry all the stuff to make everyone happy!!
- Zip off pants are the best!! If not shorts, with pants over! (layers are key!)
- This time of year we wore our base layers
- Dry fit top, short sleeve with long sleeve over
- Lightweight jacket
- Sunscreen, bug spray, chapstick, gum or mint
- Good socks
- Trail shoes
- Chacos (feel so good afterwards)
- Gloves (this time of year a lightweight pair of gloves is nice to have)
If you are thirsty or hungry nobody is happy or healthy! So, remember to stay hydrated!! We bought Camelbaks shortly after moving here, but I believe they are perfect in any climate!! Each one of us has one and love the accessibility to water during our hike, run, or bike! We also store a high protein snack in one of the great pockets on the pack! (We have tried many protein bars and will be writing a post about these soon),
The trail winds around a waterfall on your right and then you know you are close to the open space! Once you reach the open space in the summer the wildflowers are AMAZING! And the snow peaked mountains are absolutely gorgeous this time of year. There is something so peaceful about being surrounded and immersed into nature!
Great places along the trail to stop and catch a view or your breath;)
This is a massive area, referred to as the Alpine Bowl, with the most amazing views and opportunity! You can stay low and hike around the abandoned mine and railroad tracks.
Choose to hike up a trail on the left side of the peaks and you will have a view of a lower lake. Here we are taking a break on top of my favorite spot!
Choose to go up slightly to the right and make your way up to the Continental Divide!
During the summer you can see the trail very easy or just do switchbacks all the way up. Winter conditions added some time and a little more in the navigating, but it was definitely worth it for the breathtaking views!
Making our way
Biscuit @biscuitdogpatton loves the snow!!!
I highly recommend this hike; summer or fall!! Hope you enjoyed our pictures and check back to follow pictures of our various happy playces!!