Gill Trail

HARD 66 reviews
#34 of 168 trails in

Gill Trail is a 9.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Sedalia, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until January. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

9.8 miles
1,653 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash




nature trips






wild flowers


Directions from Bailey: Drive east from Bailey on Highway 285 to Pine Junction. Turn right (south) on to Jefferson County Road 126 and travel 21.9 miles from Pine Junction to reach the trailhead. the road is pavel the entire way. There is a small parking area on the north side of the road. If the lot is full park at Wigwam Campground, 1.3 miles west.

1 month ago

awesome hike, steep sandy areas, views of river all along hike are amazing.

2 months ago

This is a beautiful trail along the Platte River. WE wondered why it was rated as hard until we got to about mile 3.5 and it was a scramble to get up so we decided to turn back. There are some places that are extremely narrow and the footing is soft. Hoping to go back and complete this at some point. The trail has markings but they are not well defined and we did stray a few times from the trail unnecessarily.

2 months ago

oh boy. today was an adventure! first, the beware of the bathrooms at the trail head . . . no toilet paper and garbage all over the floor - if I would of had a garbage bag with me, I would of gladly cleaned it up.

the beginning of the trail was quiet and beautiful and then it got hard to follow. luckily I ran into an older couple who were having the same issue so we decided to hike together. the only real helpful (if I can even call it that) sign on the trail was nailed down to a rock with dotted lines in a circle that stated where there was water access, the gill trail or the upper cheeseman parking lot. we wanted to get to the reservoir so we stayed on the gill trail which ended up being a dead end. so we back tracked and took the upper cheeseman parking lot trail which did eventually lead us to views of the reservoir but at this point we were at 5.5 miles. the signs at the trailhead made it seem like you could hop on the road and get to the original starting parking lot fairly easy, but that wasn't the case. we figured hiking back almost 6 miles was a little far. we ended up hitching a ride to the starting parking lot by some friendly folks who had just came out from backpacking on the goose trail.

overall this trail was okay, I kind of wished I would of spent my Sunday hiking something worth while. and there isn't anything hard about it except staying on the actual trail and then having the desire to hike all the way back to parking.

2 months ago

Great hike with beautiful views! Not sure I’d say it was hard though, maybe moderate. Watch out for snakes!

2 months ago

Had a fantastic hike here today with a buddy- weather was fantastic and lots of friendly fishers were at work in the stream. A bit of small climbing areas if you stick on the higher trails but overall pretty manageable and a great workout- leaves you feeling satisfied when done!

3 months ago

Hiked this a week ago on a beautiful, warm, April day! Not one speck of snow. I would not consider this trail hard...a lot of ups and downs and scenic views along the river. I parked at the canyon trailhead on road 126 so I went all the way to the dam turn around (warning signs saying no trespassing) then turned back and took the trail leading to the other parking lot. If you park at the canyon trailhead definitely take the trail at the rock split (it's obvious, there is a map on a rock), otherwise you will miss awesome views of the reservoir! Once I got to the higher parking lot on road 211, I walked/ran back on the road which was definitely faster than taking the trail back. Sorry I don't remember all the parking lot names! If you are more of an advanced hiker, this really is not a workout or hard hike. I would recommend this more for a peaceful nature stroll!

Happy hiking!

3 months ago

Great, steady up and down. Didn't make it past the loose gravel at the 4mi turn because of older dog. Beautiful views of the river.

5 months ago

Very enjoyable hike along the beautiful Platte River and eventually winding up to nice views of the reservoir. You can make this a loop by taking the trail to the lake and then taking the road back. According to my GPS this made for about a 7 mile hike. The trail can be tricky to follow along the river. As others have mentioned, stay to the right when possible. We got into a couple of tricky spots trying to climb the hills to find the trail again. It was very quiet the day we were out (it was also 12 degrees), but i can imagine this is very busy wish people fishing when the weather is nice.

6 months ago

I adore this hike. Trail is difficult to follow and there is a lot of loose gravel, but it’s a fun challenge with an amazing view. Rule of thumb for our crew was to stay the right when heading up and left when descending. The trail follows the Platte River, so if you find yourself off trail then follow the river edge. You’ll eventually hit a river access trail that leads back up to Gill Trail. With the exception of one river bend I would probably rate the actual hike as moderate, and not difficult.

9 months ago

Fun hike, bunch of switchbacks, great view of the damn, glad the area is still restoring itself because it was cold out and the sun allowed us to be quite warm otherwise a shaded hike would’ve been freezing. I recommend this hike especially with a furry companion. :)

11 months ago

Great water views, some rattle snacks scars

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Hike is not a loop, but out and back. Still a great hike with some good views and a nice river.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Gorgeous day to view Cheesman Lake! We hiked on a Wednesday-no other hikers on the trail but did see a few fisherman on the river. We started at the lower parking lot area, first 45-60 minutes of hike-easy. Getting closer to the lake was pretty difficult-lots of loose gravel, pretty steep and hard to follow trail but the view when you get there (top parking lot-has road access) is worth it-we hiked back to the lower parking lot via road. About 4 hours total-with a few pit stops to enjoy the views.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

I'm not sure what Kyle below was talking about because the trail was beautiful. The beginning of the trail had a lot of the downed, burned trees he was talking about but once you got towards the river, you didn't see that any longer. We didn't make it all the way to the other end where the Cheeseman Canyon trail head was because the trail got really steep and was washed out with a lot of loose gravel which was out of my comfort zone. The river was so crystal clear you could see fish from way up above. The wild flowers were beautiful too. Not a lot of hiker traffic, mostly fisherman.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Would have been one star if not for seeing some fish in the river at the end. Scenery is HORRIBLE. How has no one in these reviews mentioned the forest fire which has completely killed away any fauna or flora. Miles of downed and burned trees. Hard rating is accurate. Lots of loose gravel and very steep although relatively short hike. DO NOT recommend. Hiked 6/5/17

Monday, June 05, 2017

Enjoyed the hike with adult family, it is was not much cooler than home in Centennial so take plenty of water if the weather is warm. good view of the Cheeseman Reservoir and the dam, mostly used by fly fisherman. Moderate rating comes from the last section, there is a fair amount of elevation drop and loose granite down to the river. Not very crowded as there were about 5 groups of hikers and people with fly rods we passed on our Sunday outing June

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Great trail with spectacular views of the lake and dam. Didn't see another hiker the whole trail. Went down to the river and ate at the picnic table at the bridge area. Parking at the top as suggested is the way to go. You even have a bathroom.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Nicely maintained trail, dogs welcome on leash. Listed as hard, but easy to intermediate.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Park at upper lot. Starts off with steep switchbacks and then levels out. Beautiful views and you can follow it down to the river if you want.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Great hike. A little confusing on where the trail actually is. We parked at the upper lot and hiked the stream all the way to the dam to the lower lot then hiked the dirt road back. Plenty of spot to rest along the stream to watch fisherman.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Sunset hike in February! The trail was well maintained but the trailhead was not named "Gill Trail" Instead, the winding dirt road (Wigwam Creek Rd) lead down to a parking lot with a sign for "Canyon Trailhead" If you follow the directions posted above it will take you right to the parking lot at the base of the lake. We were driving a sedan that struggled a bit with clearance to get in the parking lot.
The trail starts with a pretty rambunctious inclined switchback, winds around trees, and then drops to the river and the dam. Because the trail wraps around the side of foothills, you are able to see the lake and the surrounding peaks most of the hike. We hiked the out and back in 3 hours with multiple stops to take in the scenery and watch the sunset. The only way this hike would have been more pleasurable is if it went all the way around the lake!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Nice trail. Well maintained with signs throughout yet didn't see one person the whole hike. The trail starts with an incline, levels out, and goes to a decline to a really nice view of a dam and a River in a canyon if you go far down enough.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Great trail with gorgeous views of the lake, dam and Arkansas River. Trail is well maintained, although recent wind storm knocked a few trees onto it in a few spots. Hardly anyone was on the trail except for a handful of fly fishermen. Took my dogs and they loved it. Spotted two mountain goats up close too. Looking forward to going back.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

One of the most beautiful hikes that my dog and I have ever done! We hiked along the trail until we got to the river below the dam then hiked/ rock hopped along the river. Such a fantastic way to spend the day!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

This trail is great. I would say the "hard" rating is a bit much. But it is a lot of up and down but very manageable. You do have to take a dirt road to the trail head. Only a short distance and it's very passable in a car. Awesome views, trail leads to a canyon river below a dam.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Hiked this trail on an impromptu trip to Denver on the recommendation of some friends in the area. I found this to be an excellent day hike and not super challenging like the trail rating would lead you to believe. To put this in perspective I have a walking disability due to a stroke and had very few issues with this trail. The only one I had was where the trail narrows at higher elevation but that is probably due to my fear of heights. I would absolutely recommend this trail to anyone looking for a fun day hike!

Monday, September 05, 2016

The trail starts off with a moderate assent and levels out until you reach the river. Very vertical and a little sketchy to get down to the river, which is a little tight for fly fishing. Definitely saw the fish but had no luck. Great views of the Cheesman Dam (built in 1905) and reservoir. Easy to do in an afternoon; we hiked and fished in a couple of hours and made it back to Denver in time for some evening beers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I don't recommend the middle third of Cheesman Canyon Trail to anyone! It is steep and full of loose gravel. Some areas have VERY narrow footing full of loose gravel on very steep rocky paths. I was truly terrified and have cuts and abrasions from hugging the hillside. A fall at one of these locations would be quite serious. The first third from the upper parking lot was safe and stunning but I would not recommend travel across the middle third. I didn't see the last third (the Gill portion) because we took the path up and over the mountains to the lower parking lot. It was safe but rigorous - took 2 hours.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Took the kids hiking on the Gill Trail up Cheesman Canyon from the lower parking lot. This hike was a little more than we expected for our children. The trail is not level, it climbs and descends several times with some steep drops offs to the river below. Very scenic hike with a lot of folks fly fishing the entire way. Unfortunately, we had to stop at the 'Peg Hole' as the trail became impassible for us with our 3 and 5 year olds do to the eroded trail with severe drops. We are going to complete the trail from the upper trailhead next weekend.

9 days ago

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