Near Collbran, Colorado
Cayton Gulch #2162 does not offer reservations through Recreation.gov. Please take a look at the area details below for more information about visiting this location. Enjoy your visit!
Cayton Gulch Trail is 4.0 miles long. It begins at Cayton Guard Station and ends at the boundary with the Grand Mesa National Forest. The trail was established by James Cayton during his time at the Guard Station, and visitors can follow in his footsteps as they hike or ride the trail. The trail is remote and rugged in places, making it a serene and rewarding day hike for an intermediate hiker.
From the Cayton Guard Station, follow the trail south past the green gate and the intersection with Lake Fork Trail #2172. After the two livestock ponds the grade increases as the trail ascends toward the ridgeline, following a series of switchbacks to the top. At the top of the ridge, visitors are rewarded with a stunning panorama of the forest on all sides. The view today looks almost exactly as it did to Ranger Cayton over a 100 years ago.
From here, the trail descends from the ridge, passing through oak- and sagebrush. At 2.3 miles, visitors will reach a creek and an intersection with East Fork Trail #2172W.1M. From here, visitors can continue south on Cayton Gulch Trail to the forest boundary, or turn right to make a loop as described below. Please note that the trail is not regularly maintained after the creek crossing.
Cayton Gulch-Lake Park Loop: This loop opportunity is approximately 6 miles in total. From the creek crossing on Cayton Gulch Trail, turn right and follow East Fork Trail for 1 mile, then take a second right onto Muddy Creek Trail #2172.1A and follow it until it reaches Lake Fork Trail. From here, visitors can follow Lake Fork Trail for 2.3 miles back to the Cayton Trailhead.
Cayton Gulch Trail is within the habitats of bear, mountain lion, and elk. The trail is likewise located on rangeland, and visitors may come into contact with cattle. Please take precautions, and do not approach widlife or livestock that you encounter on the trail.
Cayton Gulch is open for hiking and horseback riding. A .pdf trail map is available here.