Young Gulch is an awesome out and back hike that features a trail with 20+ river crossings, meadow views, cliff views, forest views, and more. This trail takes hikers through diverse terrain with a gradual gain that is perfect for trail runners.
Distance – 10.2 miles round trip (16.42 km)
Height – 7,010 feet (2,136.65 meters)
Elevation gain – 1,427 feet (434.95 meters)
Duration – 4 to 6 hours
Difficulty – Intermediate
Seasons – Year-round (caution needed in winter – see below)
Trailhead Location – Young Gulch Trailhead – 5,840 feet (directions below)
Here is a Google Map with a GPX file.
Young Gulch Trail (#999) Out And Back: 10.2 Miles Round Trip | 1,427 Feet Elevation Gain
Young Gulch Trail (#999) is the only route at this trailhead. This trail is very well traveled, features 20 or so river crossings (some with bridges, some with rock hopping, some with log crossings), and fantastic views.
This trail features fantastic views from the very beginning. The gulches that this trail meanders through follows a creek. Hikers will find themselves with views of the surrounding mountains, small waterfalls, burnt forest, green meadows, and forest views.
The end of this trail is very clearly marked with a log and sign, both saying, this is the end of the trail. The trail ends in trees, and without views. Hikers simply retrace their steps back to the trailhead.
Due to the gradual gain across the 5 miles, this is a fantastic trail running option.
Hiking Young Gulch in Winter
This is a great winter hiking area. Extra caution needs to be taken during wet and icy times. We highly recommend bringing traction devices such as microspikes to remain safe on the trails and to avoid falls.
Camping And Other Information
There are no official campsites near the trail, however all along Poudre Canyon there are many campgrounds to choose from that are very close, including the Ansel Watrous Campground located only a few hundred feet from the trailhead. You can read more about amenities and camping nearby here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/arp/recarea/?recid=36779
Dogs are allowed here on leashes.
You can find information on the official government site here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/arp/recarea/?recid=36863
Current weather conditions:
Here is the detailed weather forecast for the next few days.
Partly cloudy. Low around 19, with temperatures rising to around 23 overnight. West wind 7 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.
Mostly sunny. High near 33, with temperatures falling to around 28 in the afternoon. West wind 16 to 28 mph, with gusts as high as 46 mph.
A chance of snow after 11pm. Mostly cloudy. Low around 25, with temperatures rising to around 31 overnight. West wind 29 to 36 mph, with gusts as high as 55 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
A chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 40. West northwest wind 25 to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 53 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.
A slight chance of snow before 11pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 34. West wind 22 to 31 mph, with gusts as high as 59 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 47.
Partly cloudy, with a low around 34.
Directions & Parking
The parking area has 20+ car spots, and there are some street overflow parking spots along highway 14.
Directions to Young Gulch Trailhead:
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about