Summit County Bike Guide: Mayflower Gulch (video)
By the numbers
Distance: 7 miles round-trip
Time: 1 to 2 hours
Elevation: 10,880 to 11,880 feet (1,000 vertical feet)
Type: Out and back, dirt road
Season: July to early October
SUMMIT COUNTY — Just a few minutes beyond Copper Mountain Resort — following Highway 91 toward Leadville — Mayflower Gulch is a secluded, off-the-beaten-path four-wheel road that’s, well, really not that far off the beaten path. But unlike many multi-use trails in Summit, the route is rarely packed with hikers and bikers, especially when the thick of summer tourism season tapers off in September and October.
A relatively well-maintained dirt road accesses an impressive, high-alpine mountain cirque dotted with the remains of several old mining cabins — the relics from the aging Boston Mine camp site. When hit at the right time of year, wildflowers dot the above-tree-line meadow, and the trail is ridable until October. It’s not a classic fall ride with thick, yellowing aspens, but the namesake gulch is teeming with color.
This route also makes for a great short hike. From the trailhead it’s only about 2 miles to reach the large above-timberline meadow where most of the mining remains are located.
Respect all private property at the beginning and end of this ride. Most historic buildings are private and fragile — please view them from a distance. Some of this ride is above tree line, so be prepared for rapidly changing weather. Off-road vehicles occasionally use this road to access the top of the gulch.
Follow the dirt road that starts at the end of the parking lot. Take the right fork at a junction and begin a steady climb along the right side of the gulch. At about 2.3 miles — near timberline — the road comes to a fork. On the right it climbs steeply to a ridge and dead ends. Continue straight, pass through a gate and ride past the remaining cabins of the historic Boston Mine camp site. The road climbs toward a spectacular natural amphitheater, veers left and reaches another gate marking private property. Turn around here and return as you came.
Drive west on Interstate 70, taking exit 195 for Copper Mountain. Drive toward Leadville on Highway 91 for 5.8 miles. Park on the left in a large parking area. The trailhead is located on the right side of the gulch.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in June 2016 and is updated annually for accuracy.
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