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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Pike and San Isabel National Forests > Leadville Ranger District

Quick Facts

Missouri Gulch Trail

Beginning Elevation: 9,950 Feet (3101.6 Meters)
Difficulty: More Difficult
Elevation: 9,600 Feet (2992.5 Meters)
Elevation Gain: 3,740 Feet (1165.8 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 11,600 Feet (3616.0 Meters)
Length, One-way: 6.8 Miles (11.33 Kilometers)
Recommended Season: Summer to Fall
Usage: Heavy
USGS Map: Winfield quad

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

The Missouri Gulch Trail leads hikers to the northwest ridge of Missouri Mountain
Copyright: Loretta McEllhiney - US Forest Service
The Missouri Gulch Trail leads hikers to the northwest ridge of Missouri Mountain
This area is extremely popular with climbers because of access to Mt. Belford, Mt. Oxford and Missouri Mountain, three fourteeners that are accessible from the trail. To experience solitude, plan your trip for a week day.

This trail begins at the large trailhead parking area located across the road from the town of Vicksburg. The Missouri Gulch trail ends at it's junction with the Pine Creek trail in Missouri Basin. The first 3.5 miles has an elevation gain of 3,740', the next 3.3 miles has an elevation loss of 1,670 feet.

Directions from Vicksburg: Trailhead at Vicksburg approximately eight miles west of U.S. highway 24 on Forest Road #120 on Clear Creek. Clear Creek is about 19 miles south of Leadville or 14 miles north of Buena Vista, Colorado. Forest Road #120 is graveled and sometimes rough but satisfactory for most vehicles.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: May through September (NOTE: Snow may obstruct the trail during the Spring and Fall months.) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: michael roethe (avon, co)
Time of Day: afternoon
Length of Time: 4 day trip
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: i spent 4 days in this area, excellent weather every morning and night, thunderstorm every afternoon. long day to missouri gulch trail intersection. spent two nights at treeline on pine creek trail and 3rd night by pond on s. pine creek trail. elkhead pass steep but good trail. first part of s. pine creek trail very steep (relentless) but good trail up to ridge line, awesome camping at the pond below this pass. good lunch spot is the building at the junction of pine creek and s. pine creek trails also at junction of colorado trail and pine creek trail. if doing oxford and belford follow signs to elkhead pass.
Conditions: no snow on trail, not too many wet spots. great trail combining forest and meadows along beautiful pine creek then alpine hiking on missouri gulch trail on the way to mt belford. elkhead pass and above moderately steep and constant but excellent trail. lots of water along trail so never thirsty but covered in mosquito bites.
Water Availability: water along the whole trail up to the base of elkhead pass.
Recommended Clothing: plan for everything. every morning was sunny and hot. rain, hail, and lightning every afternoon. clear and chilly (high 30s low 40s) every night. much of trail is exposed along creek.
Suggested Accessories: no special gear necessary. no snow or ice on trail when i was there. fly rod would have been fun, creek has lots of small trout and the ponds are full. trail crosses private land first half mile so no fishing there but after reaching the meadow the banks are treeless and trout are visible.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Missouri Gulch Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Missouri Gulch Trail
ICON Mountain Climbing Mt. Belford, Mt. Oxford and Missouri Mountain

Related Activities
Clear Creek Road - Clear Creek Road is passable by most two-wheel drive vehicles. Many recreation opportunities are accessible from this road including hiking, fishing, viewing scenery, touring historic sites, mountain biking and four-wheel driving.

Missouri Mountain - This is a popular trail through high alpine terrain that exists above tree line to the 14,067' summit of Missouri Mountain. No well defined or marked trail exists on all three routes above tree line to summit.

Mt. Belford - Mount Belford reaches a height of 14,197' and is one of many fourteeners in the Sawatch Mountain Range west of Buena Vista.

Mt. Oxford - Mount Oxford reaches a height of 14,153' and is one of many fourteeners in the Sawatch Mountain Range west of Buena Vista. Many people climb Oxford and Belford in the same afternoon.

Vicksburg Historic Site - Vicksburg became a mining camp during the last decades of the Nineteenth Century. It's prosperity didn't last long and most of the residents moved from the area for more profitable mining.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Leadville Ranger District, U.S. Forest Service, 2015 North Poplar , Leadville, CO, 80461, Phone: 719-486-0749, Fax: 719-486-0928


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