French Pass Trail is a 6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Jefferson, CO that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible from March until October.
From US Highway 285, take County Road 35 north from Jefferson to County Road 54 (Michigan Creek Road) and continue toward Georgia Pass. Drive just over two miles past Michigan Creek Campground to a point where the road crosses French Creek. Park in a flat area just before reaching this crossing.
Do not follow the GPS directions on this app to get you to the trail head. Mine had me east of Jefferson on Rd 77 which is wrong. Drive to Jefferson and go west up road 34 to road 56 towards Georgia Pass. There is great Aspen viewing along this road. (An excellent alternative to crowded Kenosha Pass) Drive past the Michigan Creek campground and look for a large turnout on the left. You'll see trail marker 651 but the trail sign for French Pass is back in the trees so it's not visible from the road. There is a campground across the road. The trail takes you through pine forest and then ascends above timberline to the pass. The surrounding views of Bald Mountain and Black Powder pass are nice. The trail is moderate with a slightly tricky creek crossing but it's a nice hike. We were the only ones on the trail on a beautiful late September day maybe because it's not an optimal trail for fall foliage viewing, however you get a lot of that on the drive up.
Thoroughly enjoyed hiking French Pass today. Great scenery, mostly moderate in terms of intensity with a few challenging sections. Didn't see any wildlife but loved the trail. Lots of variety in terms of trees, colors and lots of great photo Ops. Really windy at the top.
Fantastic hike that allows you to get away from the busy trails close to the city and really experience some true peace! The parking area could fit probably 7 cars comfortably and the trailhead is in the trees off to the left of the parking area, across the road from the campsite. Google maps has the trailhead spot on. It's very easy to navigate throughout the hike. The first 2 miles are a very steady climb with intermittent tree coverage. Once you cross the stream (which was quite difficult as the water was flowing heavily and there wasn't a great place to cross) the last mile and a half is steeper. I clocked about 3.5 up so its more like 7 mi round trip. Saw elk tracks but no wildlife although it's definitely possible. Highly recommended!
My husband and I took some out of town visitors on this hike on June 28, 2015. Firstly, it is a bit difficult to see the trailhead from the dirt road you take beyond Michigan Creek Campground. But secondly, and most importantly, what a gem of a hike! Though not terribly challenging, once you cross the creek about 2-3 miles up, you reach treeline for spectacular views in every direction. It was not crowded, even for a weekend, and we also saw a few bear and mountain lion prints along the way.
One of my new favorite hikes. This trail has everything...amazing views, water crossings (easy), trees, wildflowers and mushrooms! The trail is well marked and easy to follow, but was not very crowded, even on a weekend. If you want big, above-treeline views, relative solitude, and beautiful forest, this is the hike!