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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.
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.
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