• Activities:

    Hunting, Chillin, Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    9 Miles

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Take in amazing sunset views and enjoy solitude in the Roosevelt National Forest. There is an optional 9 mile roundtrip trail.

Coulson Gulch is a lightly used area of the Roosevelt National Forest which makes it perfect for a weekend getaway without the crowds. This is a great place to camp out under the stars!

To get to Coulson Gulch From Lyons, head west on U.S. Highway 36 for about 9 miles. Turn southwest onto Larimer County Road 47 and drive for three miles until you veer left onto National Forest System Road 118. This turnoff comes as the paved road curves right to enter Big Elk Meadows area. Coulson Gulch Trailhead is to the left immediately after NFSR 118 crosses the cattle guard. Use the Satellite image on Google Maps and you'll be able to see the service roads not shown on "map" version.

Campfires area permitted except when seasonal restrictions are in effect. There are many nice campsites dispersed along the trail and some found on the south side of the creek. Shooting is allowed except within 150 yards of a campsite, occupant trails or roads. The trail gets very little use, which makes for a quiet, secluded experience. The trail is 9 miles out and back which gives you the option to take it all the way to the end or stop at the first sight of a decent campsite (there are some within a mile of the trailhead). The trail is mostly flat and easy as it winds through forests, narrow valleys, and across creek beds. Keep an eye out for swimming holes to cool off after a hike - there are plenty!

Pack List

  • The ten essentials
  • Camping essentials
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Hiking boots
  • Firearms and targets
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

It took a bit of exploring to actually find the trailhead. Really easy to find dispersed camping in this area though! Very secluded, however a lot of mountain bikers venturing on the trails. There are a ton of unmarked trails near NF road 118, so it was fun to explore the area and discover spectacular views of Longs Peak. The Coulson Gulch trail is closed at Higgins Park so you can currently only hike ~2miles of it due to flood damage. It was a beautiful hike into the gulch with a lot of stream crossings (unfortunately did not find any swim holes). Sure hope the trail is repaired soon because I'd love to go back and hike the full 9 miles!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

3 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

7 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves