Poughkeepsie Gulch

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4.9/5 (52 reviews)
Ouray, Colorado (San Juan County)
Last Updated: 10/23/2023
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Trail Information


Altitude Category Icon Altitude
Camping Category Icon Camping
Forest Category Icon Forest
Iconic Category Icon Iconic
Mine Category Icon Mine
Overland Category Icon Overland
Rock Category Icon Rock
Scenic Category Icon Scenic

Traveled primarily for its technicality rather than its mining history, this 4WD trail has long been considered the hardest in the Ouray, Silverton, and Lake City areas. Although challenging, this jeep trail offers spectacular views along the way as it parallels the Uncompahgre River to its source at the jaw-dropping blue water of Lake Como. Poughkeepsie Gulch is often run for its access to "The Wall," a challenging but optional offshoot to a group of embedded rocks with numerous lines to challenge even built rigs. Camping is also a popular attraction to this trail, as there are several dispersed sites lining the trail in the first few miles. Whether you are here for the thrill or the scenery, this trail will not disappoint.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Poughkeepsie Gulch is a straight-through trail that can be run in either direction. If starting on the north end, the trail starts in a dense forest off Mineral Creek and works its way up the valley and above the treeline. This trail gradually gets more and more rocky as you approach the timberline. Steep climbs with large, loose boulders make traction difficult. Most of the trail is fairly wide, but a few short sections could be difficult to pass oncoming traffic. After a steep climb, the trail splits into two routes at a well-marked Y-intersection, where you can opt to take the much harder Wall route or remain along what is known as the bypass. After both routes reconnect, the trail ends just above the gorgeous high alpine Lake Como and connects to California Pass and Hurricane Pass. This trail is best suited for drivers with a little prior experience. 4WD and high clearance are necessary to complete the Poughkeepsie Gulch.

Trail Reviews

4.9/5 (52)
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Official Crew
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Seasonal Closure
Rated 5/5
Visited: 10/23/2023

The trail is now closed for the season! See you next year!
Rated 5/5
Visited: 10/13/2023

We ran this trail, or at least part of it, last week. It's such a beautiful area and we enjoy playing at the wall. The ice, snow and mud made the wall a lot tougher than usual - and despite several attempts we were only able to get up the right side. There was snow and ice on the trail and past the wall our Gladiator struggled with the larger boulders and slippery conditions so we turned around. I don't know if you can get up to Lake Como and California pass, as we didn't go that far. The waterfall on Engineer was beautiful and the fall foliage was glorious!!
Trail Review: Poughkeepsie Gulch - Julie heyer
Trail Review: Poughkeepsie Gulch - Julie heyer
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Official Crew
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Rated 5/5
Visited: 10/05/2023

Went to run the trail the other day, but the storm that rolled in on Monday brought a lot of snow to the higher elevations. I went to go see if it was passable but had 2-6 inches of snow at the trailhead so figured best not to push my luck, and live to wheel another day.
Trail Review: Poughkeepsie Gulch - Josh Noesser
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Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/17/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

What a great trail! It is definitely one of the most technical trails in the area, and when combined with the amazing views it makes for great wheeling. I think if you have run Engineer Pass from the Ouray side, then you can do any of the obstacles on this trail with the exception of The Wall and maybe some of the rock obstacles from The Wall back to where the bypass rejoins the trail. The Wall itself is a real interesting obstacle with many lines to choose from. We opted to take the right-hand side and go up the V crack by straddling it. The key is to keep your passenger side tire out of that crack and to maintain enough momentum to bump up all the way to the top. With front and rear lockers on and the right speed our Jeep went right up it. There are several winch points at the top if needed. After The Wall the trail stayed technical until we rejoined the trail from the bypass section (our friends took the bypass and said there was a technical section on that as well, but nothing harder than what we had seen). After that point, it was an easy ride. Be sure to stop at Lake Como....the lake is beautiful and the surrounding views are astounding. There was even a dusting of light snow on California Pass to add to the beauty.
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/16/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Challenging trail with awe inspiring views and breathtaking landscapes. Snow line was at Lake Como on Sept 16th. Trail had 8-12 inches of water in many spots and moist soil caked the tires with mud in other areas. Loose rocks make some steep ascents more difficult but can be done w/o lockers if you are patient. The only place I felt body damage more likely was the last climb about 150 feet or so before the wall. Awesome trail with incredible views.

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