Features: River/Creek — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
There are large sections of wet and muddy meadows, even in August, making this trail rather undesirable for trail running.
To access the trailhead, take FR740 from Gould, CO. Follow FR740 for 4 miles and then continue straight onto FR760. About 2 miles short of the trailhead, you'll see a sign that says "4 Wheel Drive Vehicles Only Beyond This Point." The road becomes considerably rougher beyond this sign. Do not proceed unless you have 4 wheel drive and high clearance. Even small trucks will struggle with some sections, and there are very few places to turn around.
FR760 dead ends at the well signed South Fork Trailhead. This is the beginning of the South Fork Trail #1138. Just beyond the trailhead a sign reads "Baker Pass 4 Miles," but in reality it is roughly 5.5 miles by trail.
The first mile of trail is well forested and fairly easy to follow. From here it parallels the South Fork of the Michigan River. The trail crosses many wet meadows where the tread is nonexistent, but a series of cairns and posts help guide the way. The trail does not cross the river until about 2.75 miles from the trailhead. (Older maps show the trail crossing to the south side of the river earlier. This is no longer correct.)
At about 4 miles in, the valley narrows and the trail begins to climb up toward Baker Pass. Again, the wet meadows will lack actual tread but cairns and posts outline the route. The route hits tree line a quarter mile below Baker Pass. There are a number of good camp spots in this last line of trees, but don't forget to look up and make sure you aren't parking your tent under any hazard trees.
The trail ends at Baker Pass with excellent views of Mount Cumulus and Mount Nimbus to the east, the valley to the north, and the Continental Divide to the west. From here you can continue to Parika Peak or Parika Lake, Jack Creek, the Never Summer Trail, or Baker Gulch.
Note: The USFS cleared this trail of downed trees in July of 2016 during which time they also repaired many of the cairns along the route. Even given these improvements the trail is still very muddy and difficult to follow in sections. Take a good map and the Trail Run Project mobile app
along with waterproof shoes and be prepared to do some route finding.
You will see an array of wildflowers, especially in the higher meadows, from July-September. There are many moose active in this area. Bighorn sheep have been seen in the mountains near Baker Pass as well.