Castle Gulch  
USGS 7.5' Map: Boulder
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Easy 2 FR287, FR287A 2.33 7600 ft. Ledge road 1-2 hours
County: Boulder
Adopted by: Trailridge Runners 4WD Club P.O. Box 1716, Longmont, CO 80502  
Managed by: Roosevelt National Forest,
Boulder Ranger District
2140 Yarmouth Ave.
Boulder, CO 80301
Summary: Castle Gulch 4WD road runs in the bottom of Castle Gulch. It starts at the end of Castle Gulch Ridge 4WD road, FR287B, and ends near the Golden Age Mine.
Attractions: Mining history
Natural - closed by heavy snows.
Best Time: June - Best
July - Best
August - Best
September - Best
October - Best, unless early snows
Trail Heads
Camping: No dispersed camp sites exist along Castle Gulch 4WD road.
Base Camp: Not a good area to base camp.
Fall Colors: Poor - no Aspens in the area.
Navigation: Note: You must drive a Moderate Difficulty 4WD road to reach Castle Gulch.
From Boulder take Hwy 36 north to Altona. Head west on County Road 94 for about 4 miles. You will pass Buckingham Park where Old Stage Road ties in with County Road 94. Continue west on County Road 94 to the Lefthand Canyon OHV network parking lot. Take Lefthand Canyon Main 4WD road about 1 mile to 5 Points where there is an information kiosk. Continue on Lefthand Canyon Main to just before the "Squeeze" obstacle. Directly behind you is a road that heads southeast above Lefthand Canyon Main. This is Castle Gulch Ridge, FR287B, a moderate diffiuclty 4WD road. Follow Castle Gulch Ridge over a saddle and down to the lower part of Castle Gulch.
History: Castle Gulch was the access road for the mines in Castle Gulch and the mines on the south side of Golden Age Hill. In the 1860's Jamestown, or as the old timers called it Jimtown, saw some limited mining activity along James Creek. For three years mining was very active with lots and mill sites being planned. Then the boom ended and people moved away. In 1875 Frank Smith and Indian Jack found surface ore that assayed at fifty percent gold. They built a cabin and staked a claim called the Golden Age which they sold for $1,500 not realizing that the Golden Age would be the best producer of high grade ore in the district. By 1902 the Golden Age had been in continual operation longer than any other mine in the state. In 1918 the Golden Age Mining and Milling Company turned to fluorspar mining for the war effort. During this time uranium and radium were also discovered, but the quantities were not commercially viable.
Note: The following description is for the Castle Gulch 4WD road before the 2013 Flood. Many sections of this road have changed due to the flood. Presently the whole Lefthand Canyon OHV Network, including Castle Gulch, is in the process of a new Forest Service Area Plan Analysis, to begin in 2016.

Castle Gulch 4WD road follows the bottom of Castle Gulch climbing toward Golden Age Hill. The road is an easy two track that crosses the small creek twice as it passes mine tailing piles in the trees along the road. Near the top of the gulch is the re-claimed Golden Age Mine to the west. From here the East Golden Age, FR288, 4WD road heads toward a href="">Lefthand Canyon Main, FR286, 4WD road. This is a moderately difficult 4WD road and the only way to access Castle Gulch besides Castle Gulch Ridge 4WD road.
Data updated April 22, 2015       4WD Road driven July 10, 2008       Copyright - 2000-2015