Watrous Gulch Trail

MODERATE 74 reviews
#25 of 146 trails in

Watrous Gulch Trail is a 5.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Bakerville, Colorado that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

5.4 miles
2,204 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash




trail running






Directions from Idaho Springs, Georgetown: Travel west on I-70 to exit 218. At the stop sign turn right and then turn right again and take the frontage road east to the parking area. The trail begins by the restrooms in the parking lot. The trailhead is shared with the Herman Gulch Trail.

12 days ago

This hike offers just about everything, except a lake. We hiked Monday - about 6 cars at the parking lot at 7:45 am. Plenty of wilderness, few people.

The wildflowers threw a party, a big one! But the finale is near the end - near and above the treeline.

The first mile of the trail is nothing special and you'll hear I70, but it becomes white noise and eventually disappears. The beauty comes after, including a stream, meadows, trees and mountain views.

We tracked the trail to the saddle at about 3.2 miles one way. At about the 2.1 mile mark (11,400 ft), the trail splits. The more obvious trail is to the left (we didn't see one to the right). We went left. At about 2.5 miles (11,700), the trail peters out. We hiked to the right and picked up a trail and continued on to about 12,300. At that point, the trail ends and you hike to the saddle.

We continued on to Parnassus. Take your time. It's steep. Your knees will thank you if you use poles coming down. The summit offers a spectacular view - Grays, Torreys, Grizzly Peak, Sniktau, Herman Gulch and so much more. With the exception of Grays, you'll see the other 3 peaks on much of the hike.

13 days ago

Beautiful! Sign says 2 miles each way but it’s more like 3+. Took us 4 hours. Keep right at the fork near the end of the trail if you want to go higher up to get a better view. Trail just kind of ends- you can keep going to get to the saddle. Steep hike in several areas.

14 days ago

This is definitely a beautiful hike with tons of wildflowers. For the most part there were few people. Ran into most of them close to the trailhead around 8:30.

The hike to the saddle of Mt Parnassus took about two hours round trip. I left the car around bud 6:20 and the trailhead was already busy. Its a pretty steep climb from where the trail splits on the other side of the creek about 1.5 miles up the trail. Ran out of time to make the Mt Parnassus summit, but it probably would have been another 45-60 minutes to summit from the saddle

20 days ago

Just did this hike today, and I about died at the very end of the trail trying to get to the top, but it was well worth it with the views! I loved every part of this trail and there weren’t many people at all since I think they were all on Herman’s, so it was nice to not have it so crowded. We got there at 8 am and the parking lot was packed by the time we finished and came back, so I recommend getting there early. Such a beautiful trail though!

20 days ago

Dry except for some small streams that you cross. Great for dogs. Wildflowers galore. Not many hikers on the trail.

21 days ago

Beautiful hike.

25 days ago

Great early morning hike up Watrous this morning (6/26). Got to the parking lot at about 5:45am, and there were already lots of cars - they must have been on Herman’s as i didn’t see anyone on this trail until on my way down.

I will say that this is definitely on the “Hard” side of “Moderate”. It is very steep in parts, with lots of considerably rocky terrain to navigate through (some pretty loose). Lots of very muddy areas as well, and the makeshift bridge going over the one stream crossing was too slippery to cross, so I had to wade (no big deal, not too deep). So hiking boots are a must, as are trekking poles for the way down.

Also, I don’t think the GPX waypoints one can download are accurate - downloaded into DW Maps on my garmin fenix 5, and when I got to what should be the 1/2 way point/turnaround based on the mileage noted in the AllTrails description, the gps said I still had a 1/2 mile and almost 750ft of elevation to go. As others noted, where I was standing the trail kinda “petered out”, so there was no place I could continue. Just something to be aware of.

Despite the navi problems, really fun, challenging and beautiful hike.

27 days ago

Beautiful low-volume use hike, with a shared packed trailhead with Herman Gulch. Trail follows a creek up most of the gulch, and then peels off to the right side of the creek up the basin towards a saddle with views reaching out to route 40 and Berthoud Pass. The last .2 miles up to the saddle is just on the alpine tundra with no true trail. The view descending the gulch is primarily Mount Sniktau and Grizzly Peak. We chose to also ascend Woods Mountain which was to the left from the saddle at the top of the gulch. No snow left and just a couple of stream crossings made for a very dry and warm hike. Be aware of the weather as the last portion of this hike is above tree line. Also, no garbage facilities at the trailhead, so please pack out your doggo poop.

27 days ago

Beautiful hike with lots of open fields of wildflowers, streams, and gorgeous Mountain View’s.

28 days ago

This beautiful trail is SIGNIFICANTLY less traveled than the sister trail - Herman’s Gulch - which shares its trail head. While this trail doesn’t have a lake, the views and wild flowers are stunning.

The trail was a bit steeper and more challenging than I was anticipating for a moderate trail, and it’s not a loop. (I can’t figure out while All Trails says it’s a loop). For the first mile you can hear the highway, but once you get deeper in it’s quite. Quite and beautiful!

29 days ago

I definitely recommend this trail way more than Herman Gulch. Barely anyone when I went on a Wednesday although there were lots of cars in the parking lot. Trail slowly disappears up top but it makes for some of the best exploring. Flowers are everywhere as well

1 month ago

Nice waterfall and creeks alongside the trail. Steep for the first bit (maybe 0.5 miles) and it levels off.

1 month ago

Great hike! Very little snow June 5th and there were lots of wildflowers, although no columbine yet. I did lose the trail and had to backtrack once or twice, but it was easier on the way down, and it would have been tough to get lost anyway. The official trail ends at the saddle between Woods Mountain and Parnassus, so I summited Woods to make it 7 miles and more like 2,800 vertical feet total. The view was totally worth it!

1 month ago

Great views and less traveled than Herman's. The trail was clear just muddy in some spots but also very rocky so be prepared for that. Definitely would recommend!

4 months ago

Awesome views, less traveled than Herman Gulch Trail which leaves from the same trailhead. Definitely need snowshoes though even with the meager snowfalls this year. Steady incline. Had to turn around about 2/3 of the way in due to deep snow and constant post-holing. Still saw some great mountain view’s but I bet they’re only more stunning the farther you ascend.

7 months ago

Awesome hike with awesome views. I was a little unprepared, however. Definitely bring sunglasses because the snow will sear your retinas as soon as you get out in the sun. Also, some trekking poles, additional traction for your boots, or both will help immensely. I went without but I did fall on my butt a few times. Again, very beautiful though. Went 12/2

9 months ago

Great hike, started around 8:30am and only ran into a couple of groups there and back. Lot was totally full by noon with lots of people and, unfortunately, lots of dog poop bags everywhere.

There was about 3-4 inches of snow near the end but the pups didn't seem to mind. Plenty of great scenary along the way.

10 months ago

Interesting hike, not sure we ever found the loop, but we got up to about 12,200 ft and the views were gorgeous. The day, 9/16, we went it was snowing when we arrived at the trailhead and extremely windy and cold at the top when we turned around. Fun! See photo above.

10 months ago

Beautiful hike and easy to get to from Denver!

11 months ago

Great hike. Out and back trail with an optional loop at end. Kind of confusing at the end with a couple different forks if you haven't been before. Fantastic views for sure, worth the uphill hike.

11 months ago

Loved this hike. The views were amazing and the trail is in great shape. Much of the elevation gain felt like in first half of hike. Trail kind of fades away at end and it appears people will explore in various directions at the end.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Excellent hike up Watrous as always. There are a couple of steep parts and a couple of muddy parts but the views are stunning and worth it. Get to the trailhead early - the parking lot fills up.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Great hike. Beautiful at the top, although a little hard to follow once it opens above the trees. Only trails Hermann Gulch because there isn't a lake, but HG is much more crowded, so do this one if you feel like ditching people.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

great hike! difficult in some areas and the trail at the top randomly stopped so we had to hike up the side of the mountain to find it again, but great views if you make it to the very top!

Tuesday, July 04, 2017



Wildflowers everywhere and once in the gulch it is endless eye candy. Couple muddy spots towards the start but easy to rock hop through. Stream is flowing well, so ample water to be had. Numerous 13ers to be bagged if you are so inclined.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Beautiful hike. Moderate incline the entire way up. towards the end hit patches of snow. Slippery but still doable. Yaktracks would do ya justice in some areas. River is flowing strong which adds to the scenery. Once you get to the loop they're are portions of the trail under shallow water due to snow melt. Feet got wet in some areas but nothing bad. You have to cross the river a few times to remain on the trail.. one section via a downed tree & the other two I jumped. The mountain range that is to your back is incredible... keeps revealing more & more the further ya go. Picture is attached.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Gorgeous views. Only passed 2 other hikers on the trail. Very peaceful!

Monday, February 27, 2017

great trail on a great day. perfect for snowshoe and skis in the winter. it is equipped with outhouses at the trailhead.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Great views. Not too many other hikers. Nice creek running along side for most of the hike.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Great alternative to avoid the crowds at Herman Gulch. The first mile gets a lot of highway noise, is all incline and mostly exposed – which made for a disgruntled beginning on an unseasonably hot day. :) After the first mile the trail begins to feels much more secluded and you get short breaks between elevation gains. Gorgeous views the entire way! Trail is rather narrow and rocky in some spots. The peaks that the trail leads you to are more than tempting, can't wait to return!

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