Hackett Gulch

Divide, Colorado (Teller County)

Last Updated: 05/13/2021
4.6 / 5 ( 16 reviews )
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Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 3.95 miles
Highest Elevation: 8994 feet
Duration: About 2 hours, 30 minutes
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Divide
Nearest Town w/ Services: Divide
Official Road Name: 220
Management Agency: Pike National Forest
District: South Park Ranger District
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Highlights

Highlight: Hackett Gulch
This is the most well-known of the three trails that make up what is called “The Gulch Trails” in the area known as Wildcat Canyon near Divide, Colorado. Not only is it an obstacle-heavy trail, but Hackett also boasts some impressive scenery along the way. When the Hayman Fire of 2002 tore through this area, it wiped away much of the tree cover, opening the landscape to a unique view of the Colorado Mountains. The dense collection of rocky obstacles are a destination on to themselves and are a big draw. These large boulder obstacles are not prominent among many trails in Pike National Forest, which brings scores of wheelers from the Front Range looking for a challenge. You will get rocky ascents that require good tire placement and a rock climb with angles and features reminiscent of climbing rocks in Moab. The obstacles make this a local rite of passage, but the scenery makes it an adventure for everyone.

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Hackett Gulch

Route Information

Technical Rating:
( DIFFICULT )

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Waypoints

1. Trailhead (0 mi)
The trailhead is marked by a large metal sign with the trail name on it just off the west side of Cedar Mountain Road.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 39.078423, -105.272042

Starting Point: Divide, Colorado

Head north on N Road/N Manchester Creek Road toward N Hybrook Road for 0.5 miles and take a slight left on Cedar Mountain Road. Follow this pavement for 9.6 miles to where dirt starts on Cedar Mountain Road. Follow the trail for 6.3 miles to Waypoint 8, the trailhead for Hackett Gulch.

Camping

Dispersed

Land Use Issues

This area has been in dispute since the 2002 Hayman Fire and is actively under dispute beyond the Park County line in 2020. Please see the link for more information about the history of Metberry Gulch and Wildcat Canyon as a whole.

Trail Reviews (38)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Ran Hackett Gulch for the 3rd time this past weekend, with a 2021 Ecodiesel JLUR Wrangler on 37" tires with full skid plate system. Had no issues running the trail, including pulling a side-by-side that died back to the trail head. Trail was in good shape. Lots of bike traffic.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
By far the hardest trail I have run in Colorado. With that said I am running a 2005 Xterra with full skids/sliders, a small lift, and 32" tires. I certainly struggled in several spots, and I had to use the winch twice, and locker more times than I can count. I also used my rock sliders several times. I came across two people driving lifted XJ's with open diffs, they said they were able to make it all the way down and back without issue. There was no snow on the trail but a decent bit of water on the way in. There was enough points to pull off at to let people go by. In total we passed eight vehicles, three cars and five rzrs. Everyone was super respectful.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Good short trail with two significant challenges, and a few other challenges. Ran in new stock JLUR with no issue, but two scraps. We did witness a significant issue that needed to be winched out on obstacle 1, so stay alert all the time!! Ran this the same day as Longwater Gulch (both out and back trails.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great trail but you can no longer do the river section at the bottom. I turned around at that point. Was full of rzr yahoo’s drinking and driving and breaking every rule there is surprise surprise Overall great trail. Could be done in a stock rubicon with some skill

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This was my first time hitting Hackett. It was a very fun trail, with some beautiful scenery and challenging obstacles. There are easier and harder lines for most of the obstacles, I chose the easier for the most part. Next time, I will be trying out the harder lines. We had a stock height 4Runner SR5 with us, and they were able to make it up and down just fine, so I agree with the trail rating here.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Love this trail, especially in the early season of wheeling. Did it in my 4Runner with 3" lift and 33.5's. Would recommend having at least sliders, skids would be a nice bonus. Some awesome views are to be had at the top and there's a few decently challenging obstacles to test out your rig. Only reason I'm giving this 4 stars is because the SXS people out here ABSOLUTELY SUCK. We let every sxs group past us at the next available pull off spot and were extremely courteous to them, only to have multiple people curse us out and even had a guy's wife take pictures of our rigs as we were pulled over letting them pass. The SXS culture is extremely cancerous and this would be a highly recommended spot by myself if it wasn't for them.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Second run of this trail in its in entirety. This is hands down my favorite true 4x4 trail closest to Colorado Springs. This trail changes a lot, and has become more difficult, the holes in front of the obstacles are getting deeper! I scraped a bit here and there but nothing too crazy, some off camber spots can be sketchy with IFS. The camping spots near the river are really nice, and there isn't too much traffic due to the difficulty of the trail!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Still a great winter spot. The legal end to the trail is still unknown though I would personally call it at the river. This is a single track trail, I advise against a group any bigger than 4 as pullover spots are few and far between. The obstacle currently is dry but there is mud at the bottom of the slab and it is getting washed out. Descend at your own risk. There is also gravel covering the slab making it very slick. The ledge at the top is very fun, not TOO challenging, ample articulation or a locker is suggested but probably not required. Not too much gravel covering it and the moisture at the base wasn't too bad. I did not go further than the obstacles due to time There's a bit of snow on the trail but it's compacted as of this review and is perfectly safe if proper judgement of speed is exercised.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Trail head starts at Cedar Mountain Road and goes west. Nice tight and steep trail with beautiful views. This is an out and back trail. But if you start at FSR220A (Old Stage), then you can make a loop out of it. The last quarter mile of Old Stage is one way, so you can't go up it from the end of Hackett Gulch. This is a very rough trail and you should be prepared for breaking down or self recovery.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Just went to the first big overlook on the trail and back out. The metal signs are still there as of today.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Pretty fun trail and probably my favorite of the 3 gulches (Longwater, Metberry and Hackett). I am running a lifted, 35" tire JKU Rubicon. Trail was very crowded with side-by-sides and the water at the optional river crossing at the end of the trail was as tall as someone's 37" tire (at least the path they chose), so be very cautious if you plan on trying to cross. Otherwise, take it slow and exercise caution on the rock slabs.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This was a fun trail to run, the obstacles were a little challenging but nothing too crazy, it has a couple strep rock climbs. I do wish it was clearer where the trail is supposed to end, our group stopped just before the creek but some others went past us, all the way to the river, I suppose. I have a 2011 4Runner with a 2” lift, I scraped up the back bumper a little coming back down but otherwise it handled fine. The scenery is pretty good but still suffers from the fire.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I throughly enjoyed Hackett. It’s a good trail to test your vehicle, but I’d recommend running it with a buddy. Here’s a detailed video guide/review I made with some friends using trails offroad data. I’m an idiot and didn’t review trails offroad prior to running it so we went to the river (but didn’t cross it). I’d stick with the notes here, however locals told us you could go to the river. I don’t know if that’s actually true though. There is no signage so your only way of knowing is if you zero your odometer at the start. I hope the confusion on this gets resolved with the hope that the loop with Longwater will return (less environmental impact to the trail while still benefiting Teller and Park counties economies since off-roaders spend money).

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Trail is clear of snow and ice for the moment and there is very little mud. Enjoyed the views but not the traffic and etiquette of impatient SXS (one of which rolled) and dirt bikers going off trail to get around other vehicles without waiting for a safe spot to pass.

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:
Rating:
Good trail for some puckering effects. Ran the trail in completely dry conditions with no issues. Stock H3 with 2 in lift and 2016 4 runner with 3in lift. Trail after the Hackett Rock is pretty washed out going down to the river. Lockers were a major help!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Snow on trail, but the rock had no snow and the slab before Hackett rock was wet. There is a long steep hill about 3/4 of the way through the trail. It was very shaded and very icy. We had 4 trucks, all slid down the hill and couple of us slid backward trying to get out. Highly suggest chains for that section.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This was a perfect trail for our first-time four wheeler friend. We had my XJ, a modified T100 pickup, and our first-timer's stock Xterra. His running boards fell victim to the trail (we had to remove them at the end), but otherwise he had no clearance or traction issues. The trail is snow covered in some places but we had no serious problems. Very picturesque here. There is a primitive camp site at the end of the trail on the river.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great day running the gulches. It really feels like the amount of whoop de doos and man-made speed bumps has gone up since the last time we were there. Minimal ice and snow and what we did encounter was packed down from traffic.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
EDIT 12/2019: The route described in this comment is no longer open. At the time I ran this, the best information I had was that the Park County segments of FS 220 were considered open. Those have since either been re-closed, or were never actually open in the first place. Only the portions of FS 220 in Teller County are currently open, though this may change with the completion of the PSI travel management plan in 2020. This past Saturday, a friend and I ran the lesser known loop from the main Hackett Gulch trail southeast from the Platte River back up to the junction with Sportsman 897 and FS202, before taking FS202 back out to Cedar Mountain Road. Known variously as the South Hackett route or Old Stage (and sometimes also called Widow Maker, though that name properly refers to a long-closed trail on the west side of the river), this section of trail is actually open, though some sources mistakenly list it as closed. Before running it, I confirmed with Jerry at Predator 4WD that this trail is indeed open, and also found that the Mile High Jeep Club ran it as an official trail run in September of 2017. We also found the Forest Service gate at the intersection with FS897 and FS202 open. According to Jerry, "The Forest Service accidentally opened that section of trail a few years ago. It was called Old Stage for years and before the Hayman fire was marked FS220A. Sometime after the Hayman it ended up as FS220 which is the number for Hackett. It is now on the Federal Registry as FS220 which is open." This section of trail starts out on the east side of the Platte River about 100 feet south of where the south fork of the main Hackett trail reaches the river. It climbs up a steep, rutted hill that can be easy to miss in the trees. We did see some "closed to motor vehicles" signs nearby, but since I confirmed the trail is indeed open, I think they were talking about some other areas nearby, and not the trail itself. This hill, for which some sources have re-purposed the old name "Widow Maker Hill", has a very difficult line to the right in a deep trench filled with loose gravel and large rocks, and an easier bypass to the left. We took the bypass, which required hugging the left side and being careful not to slide down into the trench on the right, risking a rollover. Past this hill, the trail climbs steeply upwards until it reaches a rock obstacle just below the crest of the hill, which requires negotiating a V-shaped notch between two large boulders. After that, the trail continues for a couple miles through a burn area, winding around several hillsides and crossing a series of gullies. Right after you cross a gully with a very sharp left turn, the trail crests a rise and then enters another gully with a series of rock obstacles. These are not very difficult, but can be fairly tight. The trail continues up that gully for a ways, before emerging in a forest of short aspen trees (beware of lots of overhanging branches with high potential for Colorado pin-striping). It continues up the valley through that forest, until coming out into a series of open meadows and sparse pine trees, where there is a Forest Service gate at the junction with FS897 and FS202. Turn left to take FS897, and right to take FS202. Both lead back up to Cedar Mountain Road (FS360). FS202 is the more challenging route with a couple steep rocky hill climbs, and that is the route we took. The portion of trail from the FS220 gate and the last waypoint listed on TrailsOffroad for FS202 was clear and had nothing of interest to note. You could easily run FS202 and FS897 as their own loop. Overall, this was a fantastic and fun trail with a number of more challenging obstacles than you will find on the main Hackett trail. If you want to run this, do it soon, because this route could very well end up being closed in the ongoing PSI Travel Management process.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Everything was open and dry

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail was a bit muddy but in good shape.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
No snow no ice. The optional rock ledge has gotten harder. It’s a good 3’ ledge

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Overview: Definitely passable, just be cautious of ice at the top of Hackett rock that forces trucks to slide into the rock. Vehicles: 2017 Tacoma TRD Offroad (Locking rear diff. Stock suspension w/ slightly larger tires. 265/75 vs 265/70) 2x 2017 4Runner TRD Pro (one with 2" lift/ armor, one stock. Both had locking rear diffs.) 2010ish Tundra (3.5" lift. No lockers) 2007ish Nissan Frontier (Stock suspension. Summer street tires. No lockers) Report: The sun was entirely down by the time we made it to the first rock face. Every truck made it up each obstacle first try with the exception of the Frontier on the hill climb after Hackett rock. He had to winch up because his tires were insufficient for the snow on the hill. On the way out, 3 trucks slid into Hackett rock. There was ice at the top that made the back end of the trucks slide out, forcing the side of the body into the rock. We tried tweaking the line each time with no success. For the last two vehicles, the Tacoma and Frontier, we built up rocks at the bottom and split the "v" on the way down. The Frontier's rear bumper touched the rock, but the Tacoma made it down with no touching.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Raider Off Road - Fort Carson CO Jeepers (10 FEB 2018): One of our favorite trails! Trail was clear and beautiful and we were just getting to have some real fun with the rocks until the snow started and we had to turn around. I think it snowed about 8" in an hour and just crashed our little off-road party. That said, we had a blast and look forward to going back soon!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
We started the trail at 1:30PM and passed one group that was sitting at the trailhead and one group coming back about 2 miles into the trail. The first three miles where the trail winds through the valley had spotty snow on the ground. Past the big rock climb though, the trail was free of snow all the way to the river. The weather was sunny all day and so warm I didn't need a sweatshirt. The wind was pretty intense at some parts.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Ran this with a group of 6 Jeeps and a couple trucks. Weather was perfect and the only ice was on creek crossing before the road split. Only one of our rigs got stuck in large holes in the ice, but a quick tug got him free. The big step after the road split is intimidating but fun. Even more fun going up!!! Only two of us made it up the big step but most of us went down it. Parked and had lunch at river and then we left and headed back up Hackett and that fun big ledge. The creek crossing was a challenge for the big truck we were with, but winched him out. Had a really fun time!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
First time on this trail and found it Awesome. We traveled to the river crossing and down the left trail to the first turn around. Encountered a fallen tree on our return trip. I am looking forward to doing this again and others that have been mentioned. Very pleased as to the maintaining by Predator. Thanks so much.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Much more washed out than the pictures shown in the main coverage of the trail. Muuuuch more fun. Dry, snow in shade and on north side, not much to worry about. Ice at bottom in small creek, don't get stuck in the holes. Maybe some off trail boulders that are huge, not sure if allowed to go over them, didn't attempt. Coming down the slab, there is a huge hole that can easily cause a roll over. Makes for a risky challenge.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
No pics since they're on my phone. Minimal snow, nothing that impedes with main obstacles. Sunny, ice near bottom, careful not to get stuck in holes broken by wheels/tires. Be VERY careful coming down the slab below the rock. Easy potential for a flop

Author: Official Crew
Status: Not Reported
Offroaded on:
Did Hackett and Longwater for the day. Hackett was fine down and back. We did go to the river which was low. Unfortunately we saw people on the other side of the river shooting and didn't stay long. We headed back to the start and then over to Longwater. The 'fill' the Forest Service put in on the first of the two rock slabs has washed away as predicted. Choose your line carefully and stay the trail.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Please note that the trail sponsor, Predator 4x4, has confirmed that as of June 25th, 2017 the Forest Service has declared that Hackett is open past the county line now, but ONLY to, over the river, and back. The trail that connects on the other side of the river over to Longwater and the crossing at Longwater remain CLOSED. The county is allowing traffic, but is not maintaining the trail between the county line and the river. Travel at your own risk. You must turn around after crossing the creek and return to the start of the trail. This write up will be updated soon with this new information.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
The drive to Hackett was very cold as we were driving in the rain and wind with no doors on. The weather cleared as we entered Hackett. We followed the loop route connecting Hackett and Longwater gulches. The water level was significantly lower than two weeks prior and remained below the door sills. The first water crossing (Platte river near the Tarryall confluence) is deeper to the right. The second water crossing (the Tarryall creek) has a large boulder dead center in between the entry and exit points. This boulder can be concealed when the water level is high, but is very apparent when low. The loop route then continues along the Platte river (on the passenger side) for some distance. Watch for a path into the willows on your right. If you stay left you will run into a hiking only trail which is well marked. Through the willows is the third water crossing that will connect you with Longwater Gulch. DO NOT GO STRAIGHT ACROSS! There is a deep channel roughly 2/3 of the way across the river. The best approach is to veer left from the entry point by about 30 yards then cut hard right while hugging the bank before exiting the river. We did see a Blazer there that had taken in quite a bit of water into the intake and was likely hydrolocked. The drive up Longwater gulch is less challenging than Hackett, but it does have some fun, steep obstacles.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Fun run with some decent obstacles. The water level at the Platte was about 2 inches over the sills of my Rubicon which sits 6 inches higher than stock. There is no indication of the trail being closed at waypoint 7 and traffic to the river and back is heavy along the very narrow trail. The ledge at waypoint 7 is large. Going down was difficult, and going up was very difficult due to the size and the scree. I tried several approaches but could not get enough traction on the front tires to pull me over the ledge. We then headed back up the hill and followed the loop route. The 1st Platte river crossing was deep, but it was shallower to the left. The next water crossing was blocked by a 2WD F150 stuck in the Tarryall creek (see pic). We couldn't find the driver so we abandoned the loop and headed back up the Gulch rather than continuing to Longwater Gulch.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Ran the three gulches today. Virtually no snow or ice and we saw all of one other vehicle all day. I noticed that the trail 'repairs' done earlier last year have made a drastic difference in difficulty on at least the first rock obstacle. It's rutting out with erosion, but this was passable without much effort.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
The start of the trail had 1-2 feet of snow but was passable with chains. We broke the trail after heavy snow and everyone in the group had at least one locker, lift, large tires and chains. Watch out for the off camber slab at WP4 if you have chains. Diamond chains seemed to do better than ladder chains. Take the line furthest away from the tree and try to pass before you slide into the tree. This is easier without chains but you may slide off the trail past the tree when you lack traction without chains. Take your chains off at WP6 (Hackett Rock). We did not, and one in our group broke the tensioner on his chains while we tore two crosslinks from ours. The last vehicle in our group winched up as that Jeep refused to climb the rock on any decent line with his chains mounted. We confirm the status of the ledge at WP7. We chose to by-pass it to keep our sleeping baby from waking up as there was no way to descend the ledge smoothly despite running 35's. Overall, this was a fun uneventful run but our group was comprised entirely of heavily modified vehicles.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
At the start of the trail, there was a lot more snow than I expected just because the area hadn’t seen any snow in a few weeks. There was probably a good 10 inches or so hanging around on the ground in the shaded areas. The trail had already been well traveled, so we only had to worry about the possibility of ice, and not actually breaking trail. Everyone in our group was equipped with 37’’ tires or larger. The farther along the trail we traveled, the less snow we encountered. At one point erly on however, one of the members did slide off the trail. Lucky for us, there were two, close by, healthy trees, that we were able to execute "the cradle" winch maneuver and pull him right back up on the trail. By the time we reached the rock slab and Hackett Rock, the trail was pretty much dry. Just for a comparison of the ledge at Hackett Rock, the silver JKU in my pictures is running 40’’ tires. I would say this obstacle hasn’t changed much over the past couple years. The next obstacle at waypoint 7 has certainly gotten worse. The drop on the ledge is larger than it was last year, and it’s about the same size all the way across compared to it getting smaller towards one side like it used to. Definitely be careful while going downhill as the large drop is a very quick and big surprise. When we reached the river, it was almost entirely frozen. We took one Jeep out onto the ice and went about halfway before the ice began to crack so we decided it was better to turn around before the river instead of crossing it for lunch.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
We ran this trail as part of a Poker Run event with a local 4x4 club. The day started out pretty blizzard-like down in the Springs. We thought we were going to be in for a very cold day of wheeling. On our way up to Divide we hit some pretty intense fog, but we still managed to find the trailhead. To our surprise, the wind had calmed down and even though it was cloudy and there was about 6-8 inches of fresh snow, it wasn't too bad out. The beginning of the trail was pretty snow covered. A few vehicles came close to sliding into the tree that sits close to the road on a group of rocks due to it being slick, but everyone passed safely. Some of the more stock vehicles had some difficultly getting up the rock slab and Hackett Rock due to it being wet. The snow did melt off of it at least. One or two of the steeper hills took a while for the stock vehicles since they were slick as well. Once we reached the crest of the mountain, most of the snow had melted off. Initially our views of the mountains were blocked by clouds, but on the way back they disappeared so we could take it all in. Everyone made it down to the river and back to the trailhead in one piece.

Questions & Answers (3)

Q: Sorry, not across the river, but the portion going back up the hill and looping back to the southeast to connect with Sportsman. Never crossing the river.
–Patrick McKay (05/22/2018)
–Colin (06/29/2018)
–Lauren Martin (05/26/2018)
–Lauren Martin (05/26/2018)
Q: According to Jerry at Predator 4WD, the South Hackett route was opened when the Forest Service opened FS220 to the river. Are you sure that section is closed? Mile High Jeep Club ran it last fall on an official trail run.
–Patrick McKay (05/22/2018)
–Lauren Martin (05/22/2018)
Q: What is the legal status of the old "South Hackett" trail, where FS220 curves back around to the southeast after the river (including the obstacle named "Widowmaker Hill")? Topo maps show this trail connecting to Sportsman 897 and FS202.
–Patrick McKay (03/28/2018)
–Ethan Smith (08/12/2019)
–Tracy Barker (04/14/2018)

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.