Turret Trail and Catkin Gulch Loop Trail

MODERATE 1 reviews

Turret Trail and Catkin Gulch Loop Trail is a 11.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Nathrop, Colorado that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is best used from May until October.

DISTANCE
11.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1981 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

hiking

trail running

forest

river

views

This is a combination of the Turret Trail and the Catkin Gulch Trail in Browns Canyon National Monument. The rock formations and views are spectacular - hiking is moderate with lots of ups and downs though none are long. These trails are relatively unused and become hard to follow at times. Starting at the Ruby Mountain Recreation Area trailhead, the trail meanders through the rocks, giving great views of the Collegiate Peaks and the valley. About 2 miles in your reach the juncture for the River Bench trail - there is a sign for this juncture. Staying on the Turret trail, you go up to a very small saddle, then down to a small wash. The trail follows this small wash and in this area it becomes indistinct at times. Stay in the wash, watching for two cairns on the right side of it. These cairns are 1.1 miles from the River Bench juncture and I would estimate about .7 miles up the wash. The trail leaves the wash at the cairns. Several switchbacks gain some elevation. Next sign you reach is for a juncture for the River Access trail. Once again staying on the Turret trail, you follow the trail to the next sign for the juncture for the Catkin Gulch Loop trail. Following this trail, you eventually reach a sign that indicates you have actually reached the loop. At this point you can go left (clockwise) or right (counterclockwise). We chose left. After a while the trail drops down into a gulch which we took to be Catkin Gulch. Here the trail becomes indistinct again. Follow the gulch to the right. After a bit you will come to a barbed wire fence across the gulch indicating this is a wilderness study area. They are trying to keep the vehicles out, not the hikers. Look for a hiker access point in the fence - you don't have to climb it. Again, head up the gulch. After a bit you will reach a definite fork in the gulch where two gulches feed in. Stay to the right. Soon thereafter the trail goes up out of the gulch on the right side - you are now on the return side of the loop. Following this trail is a little tough at times as it becomes almost nothing. Eventually you will make it back to the loop sign.