Hardscrabble Saddle  
Maps:        
USGS 7.5' Map: Suicide Mountain
Statistics:
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Easy 2 BLM 8383 7.78 7,560 to 9,680 ft. Steep climb 3-4 hours
County: Eagle
Adopted by:      
Managed by: BLM, Colorado River Valley Field Office 2300 River Frontage Road, Silt, Colorado 81652 (970)876-9000
Summary: Hardscrabble Saddle road climbs to a saddle between North Hardscrabble Mountaind and Hardscrabble Mountain. It connects quite a few trail head.
Attractions: Trailheads
Seasonal
Closure:
Agency - January 16 to April 15
Best Time: June - Best
July - Best
August - Best
September - Best
October - Early snows possible
Trail Heads
Accessed:
BLM Trail 8383BD - Hike, Equestrian
BLM Trail 8383M - Hike, Equestrian, Bike
Dead Cow, BLM Trail 8397 - Hike, Equestrian, Bike
Catwalk, BLM Trail 8380C - Hike, Equestrian, Bike, Motorcycle
BLM Trail 8380L - Hike, Equestrian, Bike, Motorcycle, ATV
Camping: There is one dispersed campsite at the north end near BLM Trail 8383BD.
Base Camp: This would be a good area to base camp and explore the area south of Eagle/Gypsum.
Fall Colors: Good - There are lots of aspen on the north side of Hardscrabble Mountain.
Navigation: From Eagle, CO. head west on US-6 W/Grand Ave toward Capitol Street for 0.9 miles. At the traffic circle, take the 2nd exit onto US-6 W and go 2.7 miles. Turn left onto Cooley Mesa Road and go 1.8 miles. Turn left onto Spring Creek Road and go 0.96 miles. Turn left on the Spring Creek Access Road passing the kiosk. This will now be BLM8380. Follow BLM8380 for 2.84 miles. Stay with the main road as there are many spur roads. At the intersection turn right to start the Hardscrabble Saddle, BLM8383, road.

From Gypsum, CO. head south on Valley Road toward 26/Oleson Road for 0.4 miles. Turn left onto Cooley Mesa Road and go 1.8 miles. Turn right onto Spring Creek Road and go 0.96 miles. Turn left on the Spring Creek Access Road passing the kiosk. This will now be BLM8380. Follow BLM8380 for 2.84 miles. Stay with the main road as there are many spur roads. At the intersection turn right to start the Hardscrabble Saddle, BLM8383, road.
History:  
Description:
The Hardscrabble Saddle Road is a two track with some rocky sections. It starts from BLM8380 and immediately comes to an intersection. The road on the right is BLM8383BB. It is a short loop that goes over to a non-motorized trail, BLM8383BD, and then comes back to the Hardscrabble Saddle road. Staying left you will start to climb the side of North Hardscrabble Mountain toward a small gulch.
Northern end of Hardscrabble Saddle road

photo by:
Adam M

You will climb through the scrub oak and cross a small gulch. Past the gulch the road does a switchback and then comes out into an open area where there is an intersection. The left is a short spur road over to the Catwalk Trail. Stay to the right and head back into the scrub oak around another switchback. Just past the switchback spur road BLM8383D takes off to the left. It climbs higher on North Hardscrabble Saddle Mountain for 1.36 miles before ending. It also connects to BLM8383DA which also ends after 0.32 miles. Stay right and continue west around North Hardscrabble Mountain. You will cross the small gulch again higher up on the mountain then come to another spur road on your right, BLM8383BC, which goes 0.15 miles to BLM Trail 8383M. Stay left continuing to head west through the scrub oak. As the brush begins to thin out you will come to the other end of BLM Trail 8383M on your right. Continue across the more open terrain where you will come to another intersection near some high power lines. The road to the right is BLM8383E which goes west for 0.40 miles to an overlook of the valley south of Gypsum. Stay to the left and drive under the power lines. You will come to a faint road on your right near the tall power poles on your left, BLM8383EB, which goes 0.20 miles back to BLM8383E. This road is no longer being used and is revegetating. Continue back into the scrub oak around the west side of North Hardscrabble Mountain.
Western side of North Hardscrabble Mountain

photo by:
Adam M

The two track road will continue south and pass a spur on the left that is BLM Trail 8380L, which is open to ATVs. This motorized trail climb up on top of North Hardscrabble Mountain. Stay right and you will immediately come to a large intersection. The road to the right drops down to access the power line poles in Hardscrabble Gulch. The road straight ahead is BLM8383G, which is a short 0.10 mile spur road that ends at an overlook into Hardscrabble Gulch. The road to the left is the continuation of the Hardscrabble Saddle road. The road will be a wider two track that heads up the valley between North Hardscrabble Mountain and Hardscrabble Mountain. As you come closer to the aspen trees there will be a spur road to the right, BLM8383K, which heads south for 0.21 miles to end in the aspen trees. This road is also faint and is revegitating. Stay to the left and continue up the valley along the aspen trees. You will come to another intersection. The road to the left continues up the valley to the Dead Cow mountain bike trail and is un-numbered. From this intersection there is also a very steep old road that climbs to a step on the side of North Hardscrabble Mountain, which is where lattitude and logitude says Hardscrabble Saddle is. On the topo map, the intersection below is listed as Hardscrabble Saddle. The steep old road is listed on the Hardscrabble BLM map from 2005 as a non-motorized trail that heads northeast to follow Abrams Creek.
In the valley below Hardscrabble Saddle

photo by:
Adam M

Stay right and head into the aspen tress. Just over a tenth of a mile from the saddle intersection you will come to another intersection with BLM8383H on the right. This spur road goes 0.60 miles to end at the non-motorized trail BLM8283J. Stay left and continue southeast into the aspen forest. The road will wind through the trees and cross a shallow gulch. The forest will thicken up and the road will get a bit rogher. You will start a longer steep section that will come out into an open area with a spur road on the left that just goes over to an overlook of The Seven Hermits. Stay right and follow the top of a ridge through the trees for just under a half mile. Here the road changes from BLM management to Forest Service management, and becomes Sawmill, FR451.1B, 4WD road.
Data updated - December 12, 2021     4WD Road driven - September 4, 2021     Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2022