Eureka Gulch

Silverton, Colorado (SanJuan County)

Last Updated: 10/12/2021
5 / 5 ( 7 reviews )
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Typically Open: 07/01 - 11/01
Length: 5.13 miles
Highest Elevation: 12164 feet
Duration: About 1 hour
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: West
Nearest Town: Silverton
Nearest Town w/ Services: Silverton
Official Road Name: San Juan County Rd. 25
Management Agency: San Juan National Forest
District: Antonito Ranger District


Highlight: Eureka Gulch
Eureka Gulch is a gorgeous route that climbs up to the location of one of the most disastrous mining accidents to ever happen in the mining industry; the collapse and total drainage of Lake Emma. The Sunnyside Mine had tunneled directly under Lake Emma, 70 feet above to reach a rich gold vein located there. On Sunday June 4, 1978, on the only day of the week that the mine was completely shut down, the lake burst through into the empty mine shafts. This incident completely drained Lake Emma and left the empty basin that can be seen at the end of the route. First hand accounts of the Sunnyside Mine incident can be discovered in the book "Silverton Gold" written by Allen G. Bird.


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1. Trailhead (0 mi)
The trailhead is easily seen on the west side of San Juan County Road 2 just north of the camping area at the former Eureka townsite and the large foundation that was once the Large Sunnyside Mill. The 4wd trail climbs quickly from this point giving an excellent view of the valley below and the Sunnyside Mill from the top side.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Silverton, CO

From the intersection of Greene Street and San Juan Couty Road 2 in Silverton: Travel northeast for 7.7 miles on San Juan County Road 2. The trailhead is on the west side of the road just past the campground at the Eureka townsite. There is a large OHV parking area near the trailhead as well.



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Writer Information

Greg Stokes

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Greg Stokes Is a Colorado native, born and raised in Colorado Springs. He has been off-roading since childhood, his parents say his first trip was a Jeep run over Medano Pass when he was only 14 Months old. Greg has been at the wheel of everything from dirtbikes, ATV's, early Jeep CJ5's that he has restored, Wranglers, and presently explores in a 1997 80 Series Toyota Land Cruiser and a 2016 Kawasaki KLR650 motorcycle. Greg is a proud Husband and Father of 3. His passion in the off road world is the vehicle-reliant world of Overlanding. He hopes to one day make it to Canada to Explore the Yukon and Northwest territories.
For individual use only, not to be shared.