Historical Significance · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers
Need to Know
This trail follows a gulch, and can therefore carry a lot of water. Be mindful of mud and creek crossings in runoff season, although there can be water trickling down parts of the trail throughout the season.
If you want to make this into a longer loop, there is a spur trail at the top which connects to the CDT. Run north along the CDT for approximately 2 miles and then descend Jones Pass Road, a 4x4 accessible road, back to the parking area. The total loop distance is approximately 9 miles.
To reach the trailhead, take 40 through Empire towards Berthoud Pass. Exit towards the left before the first major switchback and take the road up to the Henderson mine. At the gate, bear right on the gravel road. You'll likely see cars parked for the Henderson mine CDT access trail. Continue on about 0.25 miles to a gated road on the left. This is the trailhead.
The first 0.75 miles are a mild grade through a nice spruce forest following an old forest road. There are two creek crossings here which can be 6-12 inches deep during runoff season. The second (larger) crossing recently had a hewn log 'bridge' added. From the second crossing, the trail becomes steeper, passing through fields of blue columbine and more forest.
At the 1 mile mark, stop to enjoy the steep cascading stream and catch your breath. From here, switchbacks quickly take you up above the treeline.
The trail breaks out of the trees into a large bowl below Jones Pass and the CDT that is carpeted with wildflowers in the summer. From here the grade is not as steep. The trail crosses the bowl and leads to an old mine which marks the top of the Butler Gulch trail.
Flora & Fauna
Wildflowers are the main draw of this run. Columbine, paintbrush, aster, and many other flowers line the trail and the bowl above the trees. They are stunning in late July/early August.
Shared By: Brooks Tellekamp