Coulson Gulch Trail

MODERATE 33 reviews
#23 of 108 trails in

Coulson Gulch Trail is a 5.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lyons, Colorado that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until September. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
5.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
941 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

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.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike, some washed away areas near end and the connector and bridge at 2.4 miles are gone...

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike, good work out and not a lot of traffic. Perfect for dogs!

hiking
3 months ago

This hike is fantastic, beautiful scenery and just difficult enough to feel like a good work out. I hiked in mid October and it was perfect, nicely sheltered from the strong winds. I was the only person on the trail until I was almost back to the parking lot and passed a couple of hikers starting down the trail. Be aware that it may be a little unnerving to do as a solo hike, since there is definitely large wildlife out there! I was a little scared, but that added to the excitement of the hike.

5 months ago

Nice remote out-and-back trail. Beautiful and unique wildflowers. Waters and streams were absent on our hike at the end of July, except for a few stagnant pools of water. Fellow hikers returning back warned us of a large yellow-gray (non-rattling) snake on the trail about 1/2 mile in, but it was gone when we hiked. The hike commences with medium downhill terrain (so medium uphill returning) and continues with rolling hills until you reach the fork to continue about 1/2 mile to the end of the trail (right) or continue straight to Button Rock Reservoir (aka R.P. or Ralph Prince Reservior). We had a late start and light rain with more threatened by thunder and ominous clouds as we continued towards the reservior. We caught a coyote off guard about .7 miles from the split. It immediately ran to the top of the nearest hill and began BARKING at us. Not howling, but barking incessantly--as if I were wearing a postal or UPS uniform kind of bark. I shouted "you win" as we turned around and the coyote replied with incorrigible barking in response. Essentially, that coyote told us off for being on the trail. I suppose it could have been a momma protecting its young, but be aware of the barking, "ye shall not pass" coyote!

6 months ago

Getting in is easy getting out is all up hill. Seasonal stream runs through mid June making for a nice spot to cool the feet.

6 months ago

Very pretty hike with lots of wildflowers. Challenging return trip with lots of climb.

6 months ago

Awesome wildflowers today! And only saw one group during the whole hike, amazing for Boulder county hiking.

hiking
7 months ago

One of my favorite hikes in Lyons! The first section is pretty well shaded, however, once you get to the meadow you're pretty exposed. We were hoping to make the loop to button rock and then on to north sheep mountain, but unfortunately due to the flood, we were unable to pass the St. Vrain, as the bridge has been washed out. It was still incredible hiking to the river at peak run off season though! A four wheel vehicle is definitely required if you're planning on parking at the trailhead. Overall, really enjoyable. The hike in is mostly downhill, so don't forget you'll have to climb your way out!

hiking
7 months ago

Absolutely beautiful. Good workout but doesn't kill you, views are spectacular and it is amazing to hear nothing but nature around you. Not crowded at all. We will definitely be back soon, probably my favorite trail in Colorado so far.

7 months ago

Beautiful forest with a large Meadow. The trail follows a seasonal stream. I wasn't able to complete the loop around Sheep Mountain because the river was impassable. Beautiful though!

hiking
8 months ago

I loved this trail. Wife and I hiked it in the afternoon; mid-May. Several very small stream crossings, a large beautiful meadow. The majority of the hike follows a small stream. There are stretches where it feels as if the forest is collapsing on you. I think we only saw 6-8 people throughout the entire hike. Small climb at the end but nothing too taxing. I would definitely do this one again!

9 months ago

Great trail! Was the only one on the trail so almost was a little eerie feeling because definitely in bear / mountain lion country....so keep your eyes open! But very well groomed and a nice peaceful stream that runs along side it. The last 0.5 mile of the road to get up to the trailhead requires either a high clearance or a 4WD car. I parked at the bottom of the turnoff which was fine.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Overall good hike. Trail is still closed, but the area is beautiful.

hiking
Thursday, August 18, 2016

If you have a vehicle with decent clearance then bypass the road hike. The trail itself is mainly loose gravel but pretty easy going. The trail is still closed about 2 miles from the trailhead.

hiking
Monday, August 15, 2016

Beautiful trail. The way in is mostly down hill so conserve energy for way back. Beautiful meadows and wild raspberries are everywhere. My fingers are red. Recommend this hike to all. Careful on downhills its dry dirt with some wash out. Can be a little dangerous for small kids without proper shoes. Pack in water you will need it for way back. Great hike. Absolutely beautiful vistas. Others have bypassed the closure two miles in. Not recommended to go off trail but with good gps and some knowledge of trail hiking the closure can be bypassed and you can go through to button rock.

hiking
Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Part of the trail is closed due to flood damage but there is still plenty of awesome trail to be covered! The trail is closed 2 miles after the ACTUAL trailhead (this closure is about 200 yards past the trail that breaks off to the east towards North St. Vrain Lake). Also, the trail as shown on the map is slightly inaccurate. "Johnny Park Road" is an unmaintained dirt road with significant washout. In bad weather without a great vehicle you will have to start where Johnny Park and County Road 47 meet. However, the ACTUAL trailhead is where this road meets Coulson Gulch Trail (at the circle shape trail). I was able to make it most of the way up in in dry weather in a 2 wheel drive Escape (and some fancy driving). Even if conditions prevent you from driving up, you could still park at the bottom and walk the half mile to the top as shown on the AllTrails map. Just know the road and trail are not currently clearly marked until you reach the top of the hill and the true trailhead. Enjoy!!

hiking
Thursday, March 05, 2015

This should read, "Big Elk Meadows." This is a beautiful hike. winding through wooded areas and runs along the St. Vrain Creek. I would rate this moderate because the elevation slopes upwards and downwards all throughout the hike. Take some time to take some pictures of North Sheep Mountain while you're on this trail. For more: http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=874468 (sorry All Trails, but you kind of failed here).

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1 month ago

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