Chihuahua Gulch  
Maps:          
USGS 7.5' Map: Montezuma, Grays Peak
Statistics:
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Moderate 5 FR 263 2.00 10,421 to 11,440 ft. Rocks 1-2 hours
County: Summit
Adopted by:      
Managed by: White River National Forest
Dillon Ranger District
680 Blue River Parkway
Silverthorne, CO 80498
970-468-5400
Summary: Chihuahua Gulch climbs up Chihuahua Creek, crossing it three times, through some large areas of boulders.
Attractions: Scenery, Trailhead
Seasonal
Closure:
Agency - November 23 to May 20
Best Time: June - Snow may still block the gulch
July - Best
August - Best
September - Best
October - Early snow possible
Trail Heads
Accessed:
Chihuahua Lake, FT78 - Hiking, Bike, Equestrian
Camping: There are a few dispersed campsites along the road.
Base Camp: This would be a good area to base camp with Peru Creek FR260, Cinnamon Gulch FR262, and Warden Gulch FR265.
Fall Colors: Poor - mostly pine forest.
Navigation: From Keystone, CO head east on US-6 E for 0.1 miles. Take the Montezuma Road exit and go 0.2 miles. Continue onto Montezuma Road for 4.4 miles. Turn left onto County Road 260 and go 2.2 miles. Turn left on the Chihuahua Gulch road.
History: The small town of Chihuahua, founded in 1879 was named after the state in Mexico, though some old timers said it was named after an old Indian Chief named Shu-wa-wa. It was incorporated in 1880 but had a short life. The town had over fifty substational buildings, including two hotels, a sawmill, reduction works, and a schoolhouse. The town had no saloons, preachers, or doctor, claiming it did not need them being a town of no sin.

The school for Chihuahua also served the town of Decatur. In 1881-1882 there were 24 students. The school house was located within the boundary of the local cemetary. Children would play among the head stones during recess. The sory of how the cemetary was started goes that two prospectors were riding between Chihuahua and Decatur and passed through a quiet wooded area. On prospector stated that the area would make a good cemetary. After a night on the town the prospectors were headed home when one was thrown from his horse and killed. He became the first person buried in the new Chihuahua cemetary.

A tale goes that two prospectors were robbed and killed by a group of thieves. The town's people heard about this tragedy and formed a posse. They shortly caught three of the thieves and hanged them on the spot. (No need for judges, or lawyers either).

The post office was established in 1880. In 1889 most of the town was comsumed in a forest fire that burned down a lot of the business district. The post office closed in 1892, with the town pretty much abandonded.

Southworth, Dave Colorado Mining Camps Wild Horse Publishing, 1997. Print.
Jessen, Kenneth Ghost Towns Colorado Style, Volumn 1, 1st ed. Loveland, Colorado: J.V. Publications, 1998. Print.
Wolle, Muriel Sibell Stampede to Timberline Athens, Ohio: Swallow Press, 1949. Print.
Eberhart, Perry Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps Athens, Ohio: Swallow Press, 1959. Print.
Description:
Leaving the Peru Creek road, Chihuahua Gulch 4WD road climbs up the east side of the gulch. It isn't long before your driving along the side of a large field of talus off of Ruby Mountain. The road is a well defined two track with some wide spots to pull off. Within a half mile you will cross the talus field to the west side of the gulch. As you cross you will pass a left turn to a dispersed campsite.

Near boulder field

photo by:
Adam M

Just as you get to the west side of the gulch you will come to the ostacle section. It is a section of boulders in the main road. The first set of boulders has a bypass. The second rough area separates the talus field from the marshy land that seems to have backed up the drainage of the gulch behind it. Once past this you will climb up into the forest and run along the edge of the marsh.

Upper section

photo by:
Adam M

The road will run along the west side of the gulch for another half mile with a few rocky sections to navigate. Again, below another marshy section you will cross the creek to the east side of the gulch. You will continue along the edge of the forest, climbing up the gulch. Just before you cross the creek again you will pass a few more dispersed campsites.

Near boulder field

photo by:
Adam M

At the last creek crossing, an old road went to the right up into the cirque to your east between Grays Peak and Ruby Mountain. The road ended at the remains of a mine. The main road stays left crossing the creek. It will shortly come to the trail head for the Chihuahua Lake hiking trail, where the road ends.
Data updated - January 11, 2019    4WD Road driven - July 3, 2003    Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2019