Corkscrew Gulch is a 6.9 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Silverton, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
off road driving
Easy, gorgeous drive that continues over Hurricane Pass This scenic trail cuts through the heart of old mining country as it winds between Red Mountain #1 and #2. Watch for logging trucks on lower part of trail. You can park and camp at bottom end of trail off Highway 550. From the bottom, you can also explore Brown Mountain and Gray Copper Gulch, which is left at the first major fork, marked as Brown Mountain. This side route is described in our ATV Trails Guide Colorado Silverton, Ouray, Lake City, Telluride. Located in Uncompahgre National Forest. For current conditions call Ouray Ranger District (970) 240-5300 Easy when dry. The road is wide and graded most of the way; however, one section of narrow switchbacks at the top may be intimidating to novice drivers. If wet, the trail becomes more difficult due to slippery clay soil.
Very lovely jeep road, but it can be trickery and slippery in the rain. Very pretty route, and I recommend it.
Great trail with amazing views that is not technical at all. This is a fairly easy trail to drive but the scenery makes it a worthwhile trip
I've driven this trail multiple times and it is very easy and can be done in any high clearance 4x4 SUV, however, what can really make this trail easy or hard is the weather! In July of 2013, I was able to do it twice in 2 days and I got to see this trail at it's absolute worst! One day, I was running the Alpine Loop and after traveling on Engineer Pass to Lake City from Ouray and coming back across on Cinnamon Pass, I reached Animas Forks and had the choice of either coming across California Pass and Corkscrew Gulch to get to the Million Dollar Highway or I could go down the road to Silverton and then drive back to Ouray. But since it was late in the day, my buddy and I decided it would be shorter to cut across the mountains to get back. As we started back onto the trails and onto the mountain passes, the weather started to turn on us like it had been doing almost every evening, but because the trails are mostly composed of rock, I never felt in danger of slipping and I never lost traction, even when it was pouring cats and dogs and even when it started hailing.
But as we started down the switchbacks on Corkscrew, the weather started clearing up a little, and just when my buddy and I had though we had gotten out of the worst of it, we met our first mud slide. On the Corkscrew trail, something you must understand is that if it starts raining, you better get out of there, because that whole canyon is an active mud slide area. If it hadn't have been for my mud terrain tires or my high clearance from my lift kit and my lockers, I'm not sure we would have made it. We ended up having to drive through about 6 thick, deep, and dangerous mud slides that had occurred. With some of them, as you would drive though, you could feel yourself sinking in and sliding off the road but you just had to keep on the gas and hope you got through!
So just know that this trail is a breeze when it's dry, but if it has been storming or is wet, I'd stay away!
Jeeped this one as part of the Alpine Loop. Not too hard, but narrow and steep on some switchbacks. I always recommend people not take stock 4x4 vehicles on these mountain passes; rent a proper Jeep or ATV. But if you think you can do it, don't let me stop you. I just think it's a bad idea.
We drove this trail first from east to west. Very narrow (and busy) in places! Several steep places west of Corkscrew Pass. A few days later, we drove it from west to east. Still busy.
One of the trails we did today... Appropriately dubbed Corkscrew for the amazingly tight switchbacks on narrow clay roads to passes at elevations of 12,930 feet... Plus seeing hundreds of mining remnants, mines, old cabins, waterfalls, and amazing views thanks to steep grades through high alpine tundra. Not for the faint of heart by any means! Moderate to Easy overall from technical perspective however Difficult in terms of grade, narrow width of trail, and passing. We drove a Supercrew F-150 and had to make some hairpin switchbacks by doing 3 to 4 point turns. Great route is to start in Silverton, CO and take CR 2 Northeast out of town towards Animas Forks Ghost Town, then California Pass, next Hurricane Pass, and finally Corkscrew to Hwy 550.
It's an easy trail as long as you take it easy on the corners. I ended up driving through at pitch black night.
I would not recommend doing so unless you have a good roof rack lights.