Chihuahua Gulch

Keystone, Colorado (Summit County)

Last Updated: 06/01/2021
4.9 / 5 ( 13 reviews )
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Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: 05/20 - 11/23
Length: 2.13 miles
Highest Elevation: 11263 feet
Duration: About 1 hour, 30 minutes
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Keystone
Nearest Town w/ Services: Dillon
Official Road Name: 263
Management Agency: United States Forest Service
District: Dillon Ranger District

Highlights

Highlight: Chihuahua Gulch
One of the more popular trails in the Keystone area, Chihuahua Gulch is used by 4x4’s, hikers and sometimes a little horse traffic will be seen. The first 2.1-miles of this trail is used by all, but the last four are for hiking only. The scenery on this trail does not disappoint and packs a lot into a small trail. After the climb to the marsh, the views of the mountains open up as you look into the valley. With two stream crossings and a little rough rock here and there, this makes for a great trail for beginners and seasoned wheelers. The Forest Service road once went to Chihuahua Lake, but is now blocked off. The hiking trail has been rated as moderate and shouldn’t be taken on by someone with no training. This is a great trail to pair with Warden Gulch (FS 265) for a day of off-roading.

Video

Route Information

Technical Rating

( MODERATE )

Read more about our rating system

Waypoints

1. Trailhead Off Peru Creek (0 mi)
Take a sharp left (northwest) here off Peru Creek (FS 260) to begin the trail. Immediately after you start the trail there are some rough rocks and ruts to negotiate as you start to climb up. There are some sizeable rocks to be careful of along the way.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Dillon, CO

Take US-6 east for 5.8 miles and take the Montezuma Road exit and continue onto Montezuma Road for 4.4 miles. Turn a sharp left (north) onto CR 260. The trailhead is 2.2 miles into Peru Creek (FS 260).

Camping

Dispersed

Trail Reviews (26)

Author:
Status: Open
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Absolutely beautiful. Trail was slightly busy with hikers but only had to pull over once for another SUV. The trail was short but well worth it when we combined with Walden as the writer notes. Both trails had some fun water spots and great rocks to climb over. Not to many spots for fall colors but still super fun. Used our Jeep Rubicon and yes there are some spots where picking a good line is needed. Overall no issues and I agree with the rating.
Author:
Status: Open
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I've hiked this trail a few times and finally decided to go for it in my stock JL Sport. It was definitely the challenge I expected. The area where the marsh starts has been washed out and is now rocky and full of deep ruts. The mild incline that followed required careful wheel placement to make it though. After that, the rest of the drive was straightforward. Water crossings were a non-issue this late in the year. I managed to make it 95% of the way without scraping but caught a rock right before finishing. That was completely avoidable. I picked a bad line. My goal was to hike Grays from the SW ridge (highly recommended), so I was on the trail early and didn't run into any traffic. When I left, there was only one other Jeep parked in the upper lot. Overall, I would rate this trail as a 4.5. Some of the rocks are large and hard to avoid and the ruts by the marsh are deep. I wouldn't try this in anything with less clearance than my JL. I did use 4L, but that was only for speed control convenience on the way down. Completely worth it. I will do it again. Beautiful views. Lots of hiking options at the end.
Author:
Status: Open
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On
Offroaded on:
Fun trail with great views. Was a nice challenge on 2" lift and 31" tires. Would recommend sliders and skid plates on close to stock vehicles. Rocks are large enough that sliding off an obstacle could cause damage. Water crossings were low and brush is taking over the trail near the end. Need someone with a full size and bullbars to do some clearing up top.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Rock and roll for sure on this one. Worth it though! Rating of 4 is maybe a smidge low in a couple of spots, but proper lines on my stock JLUR were okay. No exposure, just rocky, and rutted. I scraped a couple of spots, but I chose poorly on those sections. Pinstripes are a thing. Air down, and buckle up. Fun trail!
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great trail, very rocky and mildly challenging for a beginner. 2" lift on 33s and still used my sliders a few times. Saw several other vehicles but no issues passing, despite the trail being narrow for much of the route. Water was pretty shallow in most places, except for the final water crossing just before the trailhead was roughly 20". I'd run this trail again but did find the campsites to be lacking in good views. Also, lots of mosquitoes.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Really enjoyed this trail, nice and challenging but payed off with some gorgeous vistas. I was glad this was my first experience with a real, good, technical trail. Was able to complete about 95% but turned around only because it was getting late. Water crossings were approx. 12-22 inches deep and were flowing at a pretty good clip. Really was the only active vehicle on this trail. One thing to definitely remember. Much of this trail is very narrow and will only fit one vehicle. Be mindful of others coming up and down the trail. The pinstriping is no-joke in some spots as well. Definitely a trail to remember and would say earns its tech. rating fair-and-square in areas.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Open all the way to the top, water crossings werent too deep but were moving pretty fast. Snow is fully melted out. Fun trail with some great views
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Awesome trail with great selection of obstacles rocks, mud and water crossings only made it to waypoint 5 as there was a large snow drift on the other side of the second water crossing. there was tracks of someone making it threw but as I was by myself and no winch didn’t want to attempt it. first and second water crossings were about two feet deep and running at decent speed. Scrapped skids a couple times mostly due to slipping off rocks. Ran in 4th gen 4Runner on 32inch mud terrains minor lift
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
This trail is open for the season but snowdrifts may still exist at higher altitudes, use caution and enjoy your summer!
Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Made it to the marshes, heavy snow drift (impassable) after that.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
These trails are now reopened and the forest closure has cleared. Trails may be impassable due to snowfall.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Temporary Closure
Offroaded on:
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (Oct. 20, 2020) – Due to unprecedented and historic fire conditions, the USDA Forest Service’s Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests is announcing a temporary closure of all National Forest land in Clear Creek, Jefferson, Gilpin, Boulder, and Larimer counties, effective at midnight tonight (closure begins at 00:01 Oct. 21). This decision will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This was a fun trail with many fun things to do. Water, mud, rocks, hiking. It was the highlight of the day.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Chihuahua Gulch is awesome. Great mix of obstacles and scenery. The Fall colors looked great last weekend but the views here should be good any time of year.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating is spot on at 4. Only a couple of rocky spots that required careful placement in order to prevent scraping. Water crossings are always fun as well. Any high clearance vehicle should be fine. Stocks Jeeps with no lift or bigger tires may scrape. I’d be shocked to see a stock Subaru at the back part of the trail! Hike at the end is worth doing albeit tough. The views from the drive back are amazing and the hike to the lake is even better. Super quiet up there today and had very little traffic. Couple of great dispersed camp spots I’ll be heading back to at some point!
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Beautiful views today. Stock Rubicon (no lift / 33" tires) scraped a bit between waypoints 3 & 4. Otherwise a great trip.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
First time on this trail today. Took the SxS and found it to be a little technical in a few places. Just had to stop and pick a good line to get around some of the larger rocks. Some areas are pretty rutted out and the rocks are getting exposed more. The lake was really cool to see. Then on my way down there were very few vehicles but a ton of hikers.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Lots of hikers, ATV's and other 4x4's. Beautiful flowers and vista's. Some tougher areas to navigate thru yet never scraped the skid plates or need to lock the diffs. Upper parking lot for the Grey's and Torrey's trail head was packed. That's what I get for a summer midday Saturday outing.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
One of my favorite trails near Keystone. Here’s a quick video I made showing the trail from start to finish. Made it easily in my stock Jeep, but required 4low for a few spots.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Trail is open all the way to the lake trailhead. Outside of being bumpy (make sure you air down) this trail was a breeze.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
The trail and area is now closed for the season.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail is open and there are no major changes to report on it. The start of the trail is now noted as being tougher than in previous years.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
First trail ride for the Gladiator. We only went up to waypoint 7 and made camp but it was an excellent trail. Hope to go back and do the hike up to the lake sometime soon.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
I talked to Dillon Ranger district today (7/9/2019). Peru Creek is still closed and gated. They said the open date is a "moving target." The road needs some repair before Chihuahua. Just past there, the road is blocked by avalanche debris and will be closed for some time yet.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
The 2nd trail we did in the area that day and it did not disappoint. We had never been up to this trail before and the scenery and flowers at the top were great.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This trail is well worth all of the rock sections you encounter. The scenery is INCREDIBLE!

Questions & Answers (3)

Q: We are planning to head up there this weekend ( early sept 2020) and do some camping in a dispersed camping spot. Any wild life lurking around to be concerned about? Looks beautiful up there!!!
–patrick grooms (08/31/2020)
–JD Marshall (09/01/2020)
Q: This trail shows seasonal closures. Do we know when it will be open for this season 2020?
–Scott Golubic (04/27/2020)
–Ryan Boudreau (04/30/2020)
–JD Marshall (04/28/2020)
Q: I have a stock 2003 Nissan Frontier SC Club Cab. Do you foresee any issues with this trail?
–Jesse (06/21/2018)
–JD Marshall (06/22/2018)

Writer Information

JD Marshall

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Jen & JD moved to Colorado from Chicago in May of 2015 for work and brought with them a 2001 stock Jeep Wrangler that had been garage bound for two years. Within a month of arrival, all rusty 170,000 miles of it was shaking on Colorado trails and they've never stopped. As time as gone on, their 2001 TJ had to be traded and a 2015 Jeep JK has been added to the family. JD works as a Systems Engineer for a cable company and Jen runs a business from their home during the week to pay the bills. When the weekend hits, they're almost always hitting the trail. When Sunday night rolls around, the question turns to, 'so what's next week?!'.
For individual use only, not to be shared.