American Gulch/Humbug Hill is a relatively easy 4WD trail the climbs from Georgia Pass into the heart of the Golden Horseshoe. It is positively riddled with old mine and cabin ruins. The rich history and great scenic views make this a must-do trail.
Combined with any number of adjoining trails, American Gulch can be part of a full day of easy four wheeling and sight seeing. Some suggestions are Prospect Hill Road, Preston Road, and Brewery Hill.
American Gulch/Humbug Hill is part of the Golden Horseshoe trail system which covers over 8000 acres between the Swan River and French Gulch. The area has a rich history and is dotted with countless mines, mills, and cabins dating from the late 1870s through the 1950s.
The Golden Horseshoe is crisscrossed with 4WD, ATV, single track, mountain bike and foot trails. Keep a sharp eye out for other folks using this network and, as always, be considerate. Stay the trail, and pack out what you packed in.
It is vital that all visitors respect historic sites. Please leave them as you found them. Decades of tourists taking home bits of these historic buildings as mementos or carving their autographs have destroyed much of our history. Many historic sites are in a dangerous state of decay. Never enter or climb on historic ruins. It could damage the site, or worse, damage you!
The eastern trailhead leaves Georgia Pass at a well marked intersection. Follow the sign for American Gulch Road.
The western trailhead is at the Lincoln Park meadow. Here several trails converge including Prospect Hill Road, Forest Queen, a connector to French Gulch, and the now closed Lincoln Park Road.
Here we describe the trail beginning at the eastern trailhead.
Fun and scenic! We ran this "backwards/downhill" from Waypoint 11 to 1. Had to back up once, but there are a couple of switchbacks along the way to make that work okay. Very dusty. OHV/ATVs come ripping through there (too fast if you ask me). Great views though!
comment- what you refer to as the Humbug Hill trail is actually Prospect Hill rd. Humbug Hill begins on French Gulch rd. and ends at the intersection of GH 66 & 93. check out this site-http://www.dillonrangerdistrict.com/trails/Golden_Horseshoe_Motorized_TS.pdf
[TrailsOffroad: Very true. Thank you. This trail, along with a few others in the Gold Horseshoe, is slated to divided up and remapped. As it stands now, it is what we call a "route" made up of several trails.]
Hit the West trailhead around 12:30pm. Dry conditions. Trail has some water/mud from the recent rains, though snow was gone. There were only a few cyclists, motorbikes, and razr's that we passed, mostly at the end of the trail. Ran a mostly stock (stock suspension and no lift) F-150 and used 4WD infrequently. It was a pretty stress-free off road event and my son had a blast. The GPS file was a huge help to keep us on point.
Heavy snow from May is still hanging around even at lower altitudes. Most of the trails in the Golden Horseshoe have at least some snow. Humbug Hill has a large snow bank that will stop stock vehicles east of WP 3 (pic 1). Even modified trucks will not be able to get through the snow at WP 9 from the east (pic 2) and east of WP 14 from the west side (no pic).
If you do decide to tackle the snow, PLEASE STAY THE TRAIL! There is already evidence that some folks are skirting off of the trail to get around drifts. When the ground is wet (as it is now), these excursions do a lot of damage. This is a sure fire way to get the Forest Service to limit access or even close a trail.
The trail is still open to the private driveways to the west, but is not open all the way through.
Once the snow sets in, all of the Golden Horseshoe trails are used for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. They are closed to motorized vehicles. The north side of nearby Georgia Pass is open to snowmobiles.
Trint grew up riding dirt bikes in the creek beds of the Texas Panhandle. While attending college in Colorado in the late 1990's, he saw a magazine article about a Ford Explorer four-wheeling club. He never saw his Explorer as an adventure vehicle before, but quickly joined up and caught the bug.
With his engineering background, Trint has always respected the factory design of a good truck (and recognized when manufacturers put cheap parts into something marketed for off road use). "A good driver, with a well built, stock truck can do trails that would break a $50k, built-up rig with an inexperienced driver."
He put that 1st gen Explorer though hell and it always held up, earning great respect from the "big dawgs" in the club. (And earning the nickname, "The Idiot Stocker.") The truck was christened "BamBam" because of the frequent sounds ringing out from the factory skid plates.
Now that Trint is "grown-up" (quotation marks intentional), he's a bit less inclined to dent up his pretty Toyota Tacoma, but still feels the same way about superior engineering.
Trint's love for the mountains was ingrained at a very early age. 8mm film exists of 18-month-old Trint in a backpack on his dad's back while riding dirt bikes through the mountains of Red River, NM. Although Trint does enjoy a good, tough, technical rock trail, he can often be found on easier, winding, Alpine roads just taking the glory of God's country.