This 3.5 mile trail follows along the west shoreline of the South Fork of the South Platte River. The trail begins above the Wigwam Club (private) and follows the South Fork upstream to the gauging station immediately below the Chessman Lake Dam. The trail serves as the primary access for anglers wishing to fish this 3 mile stretch of river. Anglers will find Brown and Rainbow trout. Special catch and release rules are in effect for this area. If you choose to hike to the gauging station allow 2.25 hours one way for your hike. The first half of the trail is easy walking and fairly well defined. The second half to the gauging station is moderately difficult to negotiate, with a faint trail to follow at times. Beware of poison ivy along the trail.
From the trailhead on County Road 126 the trail drops down a small drainage then up a hill in a general southeasterly direction. Follow the silver diamond markers on the trees and posts. Early in the hike there will be a sign stating all of the applicable fishing rules - please read and observe. After you have walked approximately 10 minutes, the river comes into view to the left in the canyon. From this point onward the river will be in view on the left. The trail stays well above the waterline, so be careful not to follow the many side footpaths to the water. When in doubt always stay on the highest visible trail. The trailhead elevation is 6,548' and the gauging station elevation is 6,610'. Don't allow this to fool you, there are numerous places where huge rocks jut out into the river and to get past these obstructions the trail is routed over the outcrops. The trail has many ups and downs that are quite steep. The last .75 miles to the gauging station is quite difficult hiking. The canyon narrows, the slope increases and the trail is loose gravel.
Directions from Bailey: Drive east from Bailey on Highway 285 to Pine Junction. Turn right (south) on to Jefferson County Road 126 and travel 21.9 miles from Pine Junction to reach the trailhead. the road is pavel the entire way. There is a small parking area on the north side of the road. If the lot is full park at Wigwam Campground, 1.3 miles west.
Directions from Deckers: Leaving from Deckers, the trailhead is 2.5 miles from the bridge in town. A sign is posted along the road to mark the trailhead.
Mid-Spring through Mid-Winter .