Gulches Area - 11/11/19 version

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Click pictures to supersize.

The Gulches Area is a BLM-managed area that has dirt roads, ATV trails, a climbing area, and two campgrounds. The area is about 15 miles north of Cañon City on Red Canyon Road (CR 9). The area is often rideable in winter because it doesn't get much snow, and the snow it does get usually melts quickly. Summer temperatures in this area can be uncomfortably high, so I don't recommend it - go west to the mountains instead.

The motorized routes are easy dirt roads and ATV trails. The total riding mileage is not much over 30 miles, so all the routes can easily be ridden in a day. There are some mines and prospects to look at, and views from the higher hills are very good.

Trail Gulch loop is in a deep canyon on the north side of the area and in a normal winter will probably have more snow than other routes in the area. Be cautious as you head down into the canyon and don't go down anything you might have trouble getting back up. The loop is about 9 miles long, including dead-end spurs.

Shelf Road runs north to Cripple Creek and Victor as part of the Gold Belt Tour.

The map clip on the right --->  shows the main entries off of Red Canyon Road and the location of the Bank and Sand Gulch campgrounds. Click the map to see a larger jpg version showing the entire area (print for reference).

Click pdf map to view or right-click to save a pdf map of the area for printing. The pdf version is higher quality than the jpg version.

Click BLM Seasonal Closures page (NEW) to see the Royal Gorge Field Office Wet Weather Gate Status.

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Rates may be out of date.

DIRECTIONS: From U.S. Hwy 50 in Cañon City, you can turn north onto Dozier Street (at Wal-Mart) or head north on Raynolds. Travel north on either road as both will curve to the left and intersect Field Avenue.

Turn north (right) on Field Avenue and travel on this two-lane road for about 2.3 miles. It will join Fremont County Road 9 (also called Red Canyon Road) at a Y intersection. From here, continue north for 9.4 miles. You will see two roads on the left before the road you are traveling on turns to dirt. The second left takes you to trailheads and the Banks Campground.

YouTube no-frills video - Gulches Area ride on 1/5/13 riding a Honda CRF250L.
YouTube no-frills video - Trail Gulch ride on 2/5/13 riding a Honda CRF250L.

See Dual Sport Riding in Central Colorado for information about other areas and rides.


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I've been asked if I ride from Salida to Cañon City and back when doing these scouting rides. Well, it was 25 degrees this morning, so I decided to drive down in the van. Actually, I always take the van unless it's a planned all-day event where we ride CR2 across South Park and the back way into Red Canyon Park during the warmer summer months.

Ready to ride.

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