Longwater Gulch

Divide, Colorado (Teller County)

Last Updated: 12/01/2019
5 /5 ( 1 review )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 5-5
(DIFFICULT )
Length: 3.8 miles
Highest Elevation: 9032 feet
Duration: About 1 hour 30 minutes
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Divide
Nearest Town w/ Services: Divide
Official Road Name: 221
Management Agency: Pike National Forest
District: South Park Ranger District
Distance:
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Longwater Gulch
Longwater Gulch is a 4wd trail that takes you along high mountain ridges and provides excellent views along the way. The majority of the trail was devastated by the Hayman Fire in 2002 leaving very few trees untouched. But without the trees, you can see many different views and a lot of rock outcroppings that were once hidden. There are a lot of steep hill climbs and descents and a locker may help. The toughest obstacle is a large, off camber rock slab.

Weather

7 day forecast for Longwater Gulch

Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
Lightly Modified 4X4 (Small Lift and Larger Tires)
Concerns:
Summary:
The trail is pretty mild through the first portion with a up and down hill climbs. The rock slab is the hardest obstacle due to it being off camber and having some obstacles to avoid.

Technical Rating: 5-5
(DIFFICULT )

Rocky or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 24" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 24" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 54" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep and off-camber.
Read more about our rating system

Description

Longwater Gulch has a middle ground rating between the other two trails, Metberry and Hackett, nearby. This 4wd trail provides excellent 360 degree views as you traverse over a high mountain ridge. The majority of this trail was devastated by the Hayman Fire of 2002. Because of that, there are many burned and fallen trees throughout the trail. On a better note, with the trees gone it gives you a better look at the views around you. It's a good idea to bring an axe if you need to cut up any fallen trees in the trail. Be mindful if it's windy in case any decide to fall. There are a lot of climbs and descents throughout the trail and almost all of them are gravel covered. You may need some momentum to get up a few. There are also some areas that are washed out and a bit rutted that can cause you to get a little tippy. The only difficult obstacle on this trail other than a few ledges and hill climbs is a large slab of rock. It can be tricky lining up your vehicle as the trail takes almost a 90 degree turn onto it. It's also steep, gravel covered, and has notches in it so you must be careful to try not to slide down sideways. There is also a large stump at the bottom you must avoid and one on the rock to the side that you may slide into. There are no longer any bypasses around any of the obstacles.
There are many dirt bikes and ATV/UTV's on this trail. Watch for any burned trees falling in windy conditions.

Waypoints

1. Trail Head (0.00 mi)
The small yellow sign you'll see designating the trail. You can also see in this picture a bit farther back is the gate that will be closed seasonally. (#2 and #3) View of the trail ahead and surrounding landscape as you enter the burned area just after the trail head.
2. Rocky Ledge (1.20 mi)
A medium sized climb on a gravel covered ledge. The line to the right is easier and more level.
3. Rock Face View (2.70 mi)
This is a good spot for photos. You get a 360 degree view of your surroundings, including this massive rock face.
4. Rock Slab (2.90 mi)
This is the toughest spot on the trail. It no longer has a bypass so it must be done. It is a large rock slab that is very steep and causes your vehicle to get very tippy. The trail makes an almost 90 degree turn onto the slab so it can be tough to get a good line, so you may have to back up a few times to get straighter. To add to the difficultly, the gravel makes it slippery so your vehicle may try to slide down sideways. There is also a large tree stump at the bottom you must avoid and also a notch on the side with another stump that a vehicle could slide into. (#3) Rock formation and view at the bottom of the slab.
5. County Line (3.80 mi)
Longwater Gulch is CLOSED at the county line. There is unfortunately no signage stating such but the barricade is still visible. It has been bypassed so much it now looks like the trail. Travel beyond this point is unauthorized and they do patrol the area. You may consult your map and GPX trail file. Please stay on the trail and do not go beyond this point. Efforts are being made to get this portion of the trail officially reopened and people not violating the closure is a huge step towards making that happen. Check the access portion of this trail for more information as it becomes available. The best place to contact is the South Platte Ranger District: 303-275-5610 Please do not travel beyond the county line.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 39.098099, -105.275046

Starting Point: Colorado Springs, Colorado

From Colorado Springs, on I-25 take exit 141 to Highway 24 and head West. Continue about 25 miles passing through Woodland Park until you reach Divide. Make a right onto County Road 5. A short ways down this road make a slight left onto County Road 51 (Cedar Mountain Road). About 3 miles down, the road will appear to fork, be sure to keep right onto County Road 51. Travel down this road, that will eventually turn to dirt, for 6.7 miles. The road will fork again with an additional (sharp turn) road on the left. Continue on the middle road (Still County Road 51). You are now entering the OHV area. Please be aware of ATVs and Dirt Bikes traveling and be mindful to those camping along side the road. 7 miles down you will see the trail head on the left. There is a small sign, yellow that says Longwater Gulch. It's not visible from the main road so try not to accidentally pass it. You will see it once you turn onto the road.

Camping

Dispersed
There is dispersed primitive camping areas are available along County Road 51. Most areas are within the trees. You can get pretty decent sized campers to most spots.
Camping: Longwater Gulch

Land Use Issues

Please also refer to waypoint 5. Please stay on the trail and do not drive past the county line closure and do not drive into or past the river. Efforts are being made to get this portion of the trail officially reopened and people not violating the closure is a huge step towards making that happen. More information can be found through: Predator 4WD: http://www.predator4wd.com/trailnews.html and South Platte Ranger District: 303-275-5610

Trail Reviews (17)

Author: Official Crew
Status: Not Reported
Offroaded on:
NOTE: There have been reports of various people receiving tickets for traveling beyond the county line into the closed area and crossing the river. Authorities are actively patrolling the area. Please do your part to help us in getting the entire trail reopened by adhering to the partial closure and do not travel past the county line or cross the river.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
We hit Longwater Gulch after staying the night at the end of Metberry Gulch. It was a great trail! Lots of loose rutted, rocky, dusty and steep accents and descents. No real issues but I did hit my rock slider and rear bumper HARD on a blind, washed out bolder. Just could not see that is was soooo deep. No damage, so all is well. Pretty happy I had a rear locker on parts of this one. It was pretty loose footing and my tires are in need of being replaced. Put a small slash in one side wall too, but like a say they are old, worn and dry. On the Rock Slab section someone has added a trail off to the left (if descending). It is not noted in the above description and is obviously not supposed to be there, as it crosses over two downed cables designed to keep people on trail. I have never done this trail and took that rout completely by accident. Took about 45-50 min in and 45 out, so the description was spot on for us.

Author:
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
Got ~1mile into the trail and the snow drifts were to large. Blowing wind covered the trail, not only was the drives large but the snow hard and made highcentering easy. We followed some other tracks and ended up turning around at the same location they did.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
We ran the gulches and had a good day. Minimal ice and snow just saw LOTS of off trail usage.

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
TL;DR: Hackett and Longwater are confirmed closed indefinitely at the Park/Teller county line as of late 2017 and it's important to stay on the trail and off closed roads. There's a lot of confusion and misinformation both ways so I did a bit of research to confirm it. We can and should get involved to get and keep them open and maintained. Hackett 220/220A, Longwater 221 and others are closed at the Park/Teller county line. There are no gates because the forest service and counties are having issues putting them up. Hackett 220 was open to the river briefly in 2017 but closed again because of erosion that may have been caused by people using closed roads and going off trail. Hackett (and many others) were closed after the Hayman fire in 2002. According to the 2017 South Park Ranger District MVUM, Hackett 220 and Longwater 221 were closed at the Park/Teller county line. According to the Predator 4wd website (the sponsor of those trails), Hackett 220 (but not 220A) was opened to the river in early 2017 and Longwater 221 is still closed at the county line as of mid 2017. However, Hackett and others were closed at the county line again in late 2017. I contacted Predator 4wd on 12/5/2018 and confirmed all the trails are closed at the county line again. Jerry Panek at Predator 4wd: All the trails in Wildcat Canyon are technically closed at the Park County border. The FS opened some ATV trails that tie into the closed trails and have not marked them well or closed access going down Hackett. Going down that leg is easier than going up so people were coming to the back side of Teller Counties closed gates and going around. Teller County made the decision not to keep putting the gates up until the FS fixed the issue they created. I hope this helps. The whole issue is fluid along with the PSI Law suit. From the Predator 4wd website: September 5, 2017 The trails in the Wildcat Canyon have continued to deteriorate at a disturbing rate. This is not good news for 4-wheel drive enthusiasts. The Forest Service allowed motorists use of the trails but unfortunately motorists are also using the closed trails and the Forest Service does not have the resources to stop them. The Forest Service said there is too much sediment run off at the river. They haven't had the funding to find the true cause so they decided to close the trails to motorized vehicles, even though the actual cause could be attributed to bikers, hikers, environmental issues, animals and weather conditions. June 25, 2017 Forest Service 540 is still closed. Longwater is still closed at the county line. The Forest Service opened Hackett Forest Service 220 to the river and currently has no plans to close it. March 23, 2017 The trails remain closed at the Teller County line. The trails include: Longwater Gulch FS 221, Hackett Crossover FS 220A, Corral Creek FS 540 trails. Metberry FS 205 is open to the Platte River. Hackett FS 220 was opened by the Forest Service, but keep in mind there is not a maintenance agreement for Park County, so the trails may be more hazardous in Park County.

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
For anyone taking the drive out to Longwater, after seeing the post below where the guy got a ticket I did some digging. Apparently, the trail is closed after mile 3.8 where it falls into the next county. This means you can't go to the river or you can be ticketed. You have to turn around at the county line. Hacket and Metberry are both completely open, use Metberry if you want some river time. I've also been assured that Longwater and Metberry are fine for stock JKs, but Hackett needs lockers. That's good info to have for noobs like me.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Beautiful day and the trail was in good condition. No issues to report.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
The trail was quiet everything has dried out.

Author:
Status: Not Reported
Offroaded on:
I got a ticket from the DOW for having a motor vehicle on this trail. I stopped at the river and set up to go fishing when he put me through the ringer and wrote me up. I told him that everything I read said it was legal as long as I stopped at the river. He said I couldn't get within a half-mile of the water with ANY motorized vehicle.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
We did Hackett and Longwater for an easy day on the trail. Longwater was nice all the way out and back with nothing to really note in the trail, change wise. Please remember, this trail is still closed at the county line, waypoint 5. A number of vehicles have violated that this year and paid dearly losing entire vehicles. Note, if you flood your vehicle here, it's not an authorized road and therefore insurance will not cover it. Someone lost 46K for trying to go through the river at the bottom this year.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
The trail was dusty, but had no issues going down and back up. Used a locker coming back up on Longwater Rock, but felt like it was doable without a locker with a little better approach and departure angles. The River was a lot deeper than 12" this time. It was closer to 2ft at the crossing, and that is next to the large hole that needs to be driven around. I was unable to see any signs or even markings that looked like a gate, and had followed a UTV down to the river. On the way up, another UTV group was headed down to the river also.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Besides Longwater Rock, this trail is fairly mellow with a number of steep climbs and descents. Longwater Rock is certainly a puckery obstacle. Line yourself up for a good straight approach and you should be fine, but don't be surprised if your back end slide a little towards the fall line against the hill where there is an old tree trunk sticking out. The cable where the trail is closed at the county line no longer exists.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Nice day on all three gulches, we ran this one second. There wasn't another soul on the trail and there's almost no snow or ice on the trail right now.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
It was a very windy and cold day up on Longwater. Some areas had a small amount of snow/ice, more in the trail in and out however. The majority of the trail itself was dry. The water crossings looked to be in the middle of their range with only some ice chunks.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Gate at entrance is still open. Reports of snow 12"-18" deep in most spots. There is also reports of a tree down across the trail, unsure of exact location, but appears to be just after one of the first big hill climbs.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
The weather was so nice out that we decided to take a quick trip up to Longwater Gulch for the day. You couldn't have asked for better weather in late September. The trail is in pretty good condition and not too many areas were washed out from all the rain we've been having. Tree growth in the burn areas seems to be coming along nicely. The views were spectacular as all the aspen trees were changing for the season and were mainly a beautiful golden color. The only traffic on the trail were two other Jeeps that had pulled over. The drivers were sitting out in their folding chairs soaking up the sun and admiring the views just as anyone else would do on such a lovely day. There were still some areas where burned trees fell near the road where you have to mind where your tires are. The rock slab is still the toughest part of this trail. It causes your vehicle to come down at such an awkward angle and the gravel all over it and a large stump right in your path doesn't make it any easier. But with a little navigation and some puckering from sliding sideways, we made it down successfully! A quick drive down some more steep gravel hills and we arrived at the river. It's such a beautiful setting. The water was crystal clear. I took the opportunity to fly my quadcopter around to get some amazing shots of the river. It was a very fun and relaxing day.

Questions & Answers (2)

Q: Looks like Hackett is open to the river, is longwater still closed past the county line?
–dwight (08/08/2018)
A: Oddly enough Hackett is open to the river, but not in or across. Longwater is still closed at the county line and there’s still a visible barricade there. Going past it is not advisable.
–Lauren Martin (08/08/2018)
Q: At one time, it appeared you could drive across the river. Is that not the case now?
–Todd (07/05/2017)
A: Unfortunately it is not the case. The trail currently remains closed at the county line. Going beyond this point is illegal per MVUM rules and you therefore cannot access the river. You can review waypoint 5 for more information.
–Lauren Martin (07/05/2017)

Writer Information

Lauren Martin

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Lauren Martin started offroading as a small child with her father in a 1996 Toyota Tacoma in the beautiful state of Colorado of which she now calls home. Like many, once they first made the trek to Moab, Utah, they were addicted. Still a lover of all things Toyota, especially Tacoma's, Lauren now has a Tacoma of her own that she enjoys on the trails of Colorado and makes the journey to Moab yearly. Rig: 1998 Toyota Tacoma 3.4L V6 TRD 33" BFG KM2s Siped, 16" TRD Ivan Stewart Wheels, ADS Racing Shocks 2.5" Extended Travel Coilovers with Reservoirs, Total Chaos Uniball Upper Control Arms, All-Pro 3" Rear Suspension Kit, Rear E-Locker, Tundra Brake Upgrade, Trail Gear Front Stinger Bumper and Sliders, CBI Offroad Rear Tube Bumper, Smittybilt XRC8 Winch, Skid Row Offroad Front and Transmission Skid Plates, Low Range Offroad E-Locker Guard, Rock Lights, Rigid DOT/SAE Fog Lights, CB/PA, Custom Satoshi Grille with 12" LED Light Bar
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