Bald Mountain Gulch

Johnson Village, Colorado (Chaffee County)

Last Updated: 07/28/2019
4.7 / 5 ( 17 reviews )
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Status:
Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 3-3
( MODERATE )
Length: 8.64 miles
Highest Elevation: 9337 feet
Duration: About 1 hour, 15 minutes
Shape of Trail: Other Shapes
Best Direction to Travel: West
Nearest Town: Johnson Village
Nearest Town w/ Services: Johnson Village
Official Road Name: 300
Management Agency: San Isabel National Forest
District: Salida Ranger District

Highlights

Highlight: Bald Mountain Gulch
Bald Mountain Gulch (FS Road 300) is a 4WD road in the Fourmile area of Colorado, southeast of Johnson Village. Bald Mountain Gulch traverses scenic, high elevation terrain in a northeast to southwest track. It provides the 4x4 enthusiast spectacular rock formations and sandy terrain, plus occasional tawny rock-framed views of the Collegiate Peaks. There are numerous 4WD roads in the vicinity, making Fourmile an ideal destination for a weekend of 4x4 trails, camping, hiking, and fishing. Bald Mountain Gulch is recommended to drive in conjunction with Bald Mountain Loop.

Video

Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
Stock SUV with High Clearance and 4 Low
Concerns:
Summary:
There are no significant obstacles but the track does include some camber, ascents, and descents.

Technical Rating

MANDATORY
3
MODERATE
OPTIONAL
3
MODERATE
Typically, more rock or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 12" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 12" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 24" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep.
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Description

The northeast segment is generally dirt road with patches of bedrock traversing open meadows and mixed forest. The mid-section transitions to a broad sandy wash and becomes narrower in the southwestern segment. Driving southwest, the final mile departs the wash and traverses caliche hills with a relatively steep descent into the parking lot at the Brown’s Canyon Wilderness Study Area. This road is suitable for stock, high clearance 4WD vehicles.

Waypoints

1. Trailhead (northeast) Bald Mountain FS 300 (0 mi)
Turn into the parking lot where you see the well-marked sign and the information kiosk. Steer left past the information kiosk and proceed south/southwest.
2. Unmarked Road (0.5 mi)
The unmarked road is a shortcut. Where the main road goes straight then right, this shortcut climbs over exposed bedrock and ties-back to the main road in 300 yards.
3. Unmarked Road (0.7 mi)
This is where the shortcut returns to the main road. Continue on the main road toward the south/southeast.
4. Mine Spur Intersection (1.5 mi)
Stay to the left on the main road. The mine spur goes off to the right (west).
5. Intersection Trail 1423 (1.9 mi)
Steer left to proceed on the main road. Trail 1423 is a restricted-use trail.
6. Cattle Guard (2.8 mi)
Continue straight over the cattle guard. This is the first of several you will encounter. The cattle guards appear to have recently been emplaced (replacing gates).
7. Intersection FS Road 300A (3.1 mi)
Turn left (south) in the small clearing/staging area at the trailhead of FS Road 300A.
8. Second Cattle Guard (3.4 mi)
Proceed straight across the cattle guard.
9. Camping Ridge (3.8 mi)
Continue straight over the camping ridge. This a high-elevation point and there are two-track spurs to both the left and right which take you to campsites with existing fire rings. This site provides a gorgeous view of the Collegiate Peaks on clear weather days.
10. Intersection FS Road 185D (4.7 mi)
Continue straight past the intersection.
11. Third Cattle Guard (4.8 mi)
Proceed down the sandy wash across this cattle guard.
12. Bald Mountain Loop FS Road 300B (5.4 mi)
The main road continues straight, but if you have time (about 1.5 hrs) available, the Bald Mountain Loop is well worth it. The views from atop Bald Mountain are extraordinary.
13. Intersection Trail 1434 (6.1 mi)
Continue straight past the intersection with Trail 1434; like the previous 1400-series trail, this one is a limited-use trail.
14. Intersection FS Road 300C (6.5 mi)
Continue straight past the intersection with FS Road 300C.
15. USFS Boundary (7.4 mi)
Proceed straight across the cattle guard where signs indicate you are "Leaving San Isabel National Forest".
16. Panoramic Point (8.4 mi)
Follow the road as it twists and turns, descending more sharply now. This was the first point to provide a glimpse of the Collegiate Peaks since coming down the camping ridge (WP 9).
17. End Bald Mountain Gulch FS Road 300 (8.8 mi)
Arrive at the parking lot for Brown's Canyon Wilderness Study Area and the Brown's Canyon hiking trail. FS Road 300 continues west from this point as an improved surface road.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Fairplay

To drive from the northeast towards the southwest: Take U.S. 285 to Chaffee County Road 307. Follow CR 307 for approximately one mile and turn on FS Road 187 (Bassam Park) and continue about one mile until you see the marked trailhead for FS Road 300. To drive from the southwest to northeast: Take Highway 285 to Johnson Village. One-quarter mile east of Johnson Village, turn south onto Chaffee County Road (CR) 301. Follow CR 301 and turn left on CR 300 just before getting back to U.S. 285. Continue on CR 300 through the Ruby Mountain Campground; the Bald Mountain Gulch trailhead is ahead at the Brown’s Canyon Wilderness Study Area parking lot.

Camping

Dispersed
There are numerous sites suitable for dispersed camping along Bald Mountain Gulch. Recommended sites include the area near the northeast trailhead, the area around Waypoint 4, the trailhead of FS Road 300A (Waypoint 7), and the scenic ridge (Waypoint 9). The nearby and connecting roads also have suitable sites for dispersed camping. Additionally, the towns of Nathrop, Johnson Village, and Buena Vista each have commercial campgrounds with all amenities and services. For more camping information, see Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Camping managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Camping: Bald Mountain Gulch

Trail Reviews (24)

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Writer Information

Tracy Barker

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Tracy is an outdoor enthusiast originally from north Alabama. His family moved to central Utah when Tracy was a child, and subsequently to southern Utah, where he fell in love with the Rocky Mountains. His favorite activities are family trail rides and camping with small groups. He started many years ago in his dad's F-150 pickup truck, and subsequently his own 4x4 acquisition, a 1975 Ford Bronco (in 1991).
For individual use only, not to be shared.