Coulson Gulch Trail is a 5.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lyons, Colorado that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, horses, and backpacking and is best used from May until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Length5.3 miElevation gain954 ftRoute typeOut & back
BackpackingCampingHikingHorseback ridingDog friendlyForestRiverViewsWildflowersWildlifeRockyWashed out
Description
Waypoints (0)
Getting There

FIRE CLOSURE: As of January 2021, there are closures in this park or area due to wildfire. For more information, please visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/arp/alerts-notices. Great day hike near Boulder/Longmont/Lyons. Light usage, could be a bit confusing to arrive at trail head. See Getting There. The trail head is on the left-hand side of the parking area. There are MANY trail options here, so take care of which trails you take to ensure you end up where you mean to! This map will take you on just the out/back Coulson Gulch trail. Mostly downhill on the way out, so keep in mind the way back is where the "intermediate" comes into play. Approximately 1.8 miles into the trail lies an old abandoned cabin, nice place to stop for a snack/water/shade break.

From Lyons, travel 9.5 miles west on U.S. Highway 36. Turn southwest onto Larimer County Road (CR) 47. Follow CR 47 for three miles and veer left onto National Forest System Road 118 (dirt road) as the paved road curves right to enter Big Elk Meadows subdivision. Coulson Gulch Trailhead is to the left immediately after NFSR 118 crosses the cattle guard. The dirt road is fine during summer season with a 2WD vehicle, but to access closer to the trail head, 4WD (high ground clearance) is recommended.

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Reviews (332)
Photos (282)
Activities (244)
Completed (654)
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Haley Kletke
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HikingGreat!
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Elzana Bailey
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Hiking
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Mindy Nicewonger
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Hiking
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Tom Bruch
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HikingIcyMuddySnow

Went on 2/4/21 on a decent day with mostly sunshine. Trail had patches of snow and ice in spots and had to be careful. More muddy later on. Just used regular boots and poles. Mostly in trees but a large meadow on the way. Great scenery throughout and crisscrossed a creek bed several times. Toward the end, there is a fork-left goes to Ralph Price Reservoir and the right goes to a spectacular view of the St. Vrain River coming down the canyon. We took the right.

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Logynn Northrhip
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 17, 2021
Hiking

Very icy in some places. Highly recommend spikes and poles. Some spots not icy at all though.

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Samantha Nyland
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HikingGreat!IcySnow

Hiked 01/09/21 around 12noon. Beautiful light snowfall the entire hike. Nice and easy walk in, and will feel a bit of an incline walking back out. Nothing strenuous. Needed spikes 100% - very slick underneath the fresh snow. Looking forward to doing the hike in the spring to see the views. Saw maybe 6 people total. Be sure to stop at the St. Vrain Market in Lyons on your way back (or your way in) to grab a pastry or one of their bomb.com cookies!

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Rachel Salvay
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HikingIcyMuddy

Probably a very nice hike when people aren't illegally shooting (despite signs posted saying "no shooting"). Oh well. We walked the nearby fire road uphill instead, it offered very nice views. Parking at the TH with simple ol' all season tires today on the icy road: we could not drive all the way to the top, too slick. Even where we did park we had to get an assist from another friendly dude driving by to help us 3-point turn to get out again.

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Alicia Williams
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HikingGreat!

still slick in some areas, but we were able to do without microspikes. it's an absolutely beautiful hike with awesome meadow and mountain views.

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David Carpenter
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Hiking
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James Brache
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Hiking

Pretty mellow, nice views but nothing dramatic.

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Kevin Ferrett
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Hiking

Hiked on 9/20/20. You won't see any mountain top views here, but if you like a quiet walk in the woods, you may like this trail. The river at the far end is pretty and was flowing pretty full. I wanted to cross it and hike the loop around North Sheep Mountain to the west. Saw 2-3 spots I thought I could jump across (none without at least some risk of getting wet or falling in). Decided not to because I wasn't sure my dog (80 lb boxer/German Shepard) would make it safely across. Instead, I took a detour on the way back over to Button Rock Reservoir. This adds a couple miles but you get nice views across the Reservoir from the west end. Keep in mind this trail is downhill going in, so be ready to work a bit coming back out.

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Sven Henderson
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HikingGreat!

Beautiful and quiet with relatively few people.

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Ben Griscom
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Hiking

Got there at 9 am on a Saturday with tons of parking still available. Hike was smoky but got better as the day went on. The trail is downhill to start so it is harder come back. Still an easy hike with just two somewhat steep sections. Trail follows a small creek that is dry so not much to look at until the big creek at the end. Definitely worth it to relax at the big creek for while, it is gorgeous and peaceful.

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Natalie Dovgan
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Hiking

Trail has decent shade and nothing really exciting to see. The parking lot was full but only saw one person. If you go all the way to the stream it’s closer to 6 miles round trip

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Steve Kurtz
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Hiking

Got to the trailhead at 7:30am on a Sunday at it was super quiet. Only passed a few folks on the way back up. We tried to cross the river to go around the backside of Sheep Mountain and make it a loop but the water was too deep for our dog.

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Cait C
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Hiking
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Kyle Sonderegger
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HikingGreat!
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Glenn Harrison
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Hiking
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Annie Lindgren
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Hiking

Awesome. Made the loop with 4 river crossings. Water low enough. Fun backpack.

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Lucas Yaege
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the dude
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Hiking
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Rakan Almazmomi
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Nature tripsFeeGreat!No shadeOff trail

The trial not that too difficult I changed my track to go to the Button Rock Lake. I felt that would be better to add extra mile to my hike

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