“A strenuous trail that offers many scenic views.
— Tom Robson
River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
A compass, and a map are recommended to be packed. It is important to be prepared for typical July and August afternoon thundershowers. During storms, stay off ridges and away from open ground to avoid lightning strikes. Be sure to bring sunscreen, rain gear and drinking water. Remember, running at high altitude requires more time and energy. Take your time, enjoy the scenery and avoid over-exertion. Be sure someone knows where you are going and when you plan to return.
The rocks can get slippery, especially during Spring runoff.
From Lake City, take the Henson Creek Road west for 2 miles. The trailhead is on the south side of the road where a sign indicates the Alpine Gulch Trail.
After descending from the trailhead to Henson Creek, you'll cross the Alpine Gulch bridge. There is a small patch of private land just before the bridge, so be sure to stay on the trail through this parcel. You'll ascend along Alpine Gulch through private property and a narrow scenic canyon. Please stay on the trail for the first 1.5 miles. The trail crosses the creek seven times in the first 2.5 miles. Some of these have log crossings and some do not, so come prepared. The crossings are not dangerous but water can reach mid-calf (more during spring runoff) and the rocks can be slippery.
Just before you cross the creek for the 8th time, a trail forks to the left and follows the East Fork of Alpine Gulch. For another 3.75 miles this trail climbs through aspen thickets, grassy meadows and spruce forest. A steep climb brings you to an intermediate saddle north of Grassy Mountain that also offers a nice campsite. Another steep climb and you arrive at the Grassy Mountain saddle, where you get spectacular views in several directions. It is here you can also connect with the Williams Creek Trail
by following rock cairns west along the ridge.
Steep cliffs and beautiful meadows combine to make this a varied running experience. In the upper section of the trail keep an eye out for herds of elk and deer. Remnants of several old cabins, which are left from turn of the century mining claims, are encountered along the trail.
Camping is permitted along the upper part of the trail.