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

Quick Facts

Gill Trail

Beginning Elevation: 6,548 Feet (2041.1 Meters) Trailhead
Difficulty: Easy-first half moderate to difficult - second half
Elevation Gain: 62 Feet (19.3 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 6,610 Feet (2060.5 Meters) Cheesman Lake Dam
Handicapped Accessible: No
Length, One-way: 3.5 Miles (5.83 Kilometers) 5.6 K
Other Maps: Pike National Forest
Recommended Season: Fall
Trail Number: 610
Usage: Heavy
USGS Maps: Quads: Cheesman Lake

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

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.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: Mid-Spring through Mid-Winter .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: Day-tripped on March 31st, 2001. Water flow was very low and fishing difficult. Beautiful scenery, but expect to see lots of people. A few nice spots along the river suitable for camping. Lots of trail erosion due to inconsiderate fishermen.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Fishing Gill Trail - South Fork South Platte River
ICON Hiking & Walking Gill Trail
ICON Animal Identification Gill Trail
ICON Bird Identification Gill Trail
ICON Mushroom Identification Gill Trail
ICON Plant Identification Gill Trail
ICON Wildflower Identification Gill Trail
ICON Viewing Scenery Gill Trail
ICON Viewing Wildlife Gill Trail

Nearby Services

nearest public telephone: various (private, for profit) Directions: Deckers - 2.5 miles northeast on Highway 126

emergency services: (non-profit) Directions: Trumbull - 3.5 miles northeast on Highway 126

Related Activities
Goose Creek Campground - Goose Creek Campground consists of ten individual campsites with a table, fire ring and parking spur. Recreational opportunities from this site include hiking, horseback riding and fishing.

Wigwam Campground - Wigwam Campground is located approximately two and one half miles southwest of the small town of Deckers on Highway 126. This campground consists of ten individual campsites.


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