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North Sheep Mountain to Coulson Gulch

Consensus:    (details)
 2.5 from 2 votes
dblack  Extremely Difficult from 1 vote
Rank: #21 in the Boulder area
#209 in CO, #1,625 Overall
Views: 1,087. Last 30 days: 49
Red
Condition:
Dec 22 Red - Severe flood damage
Featured Ride near Lyons,  area, 
“Babyhead surfing and semi-forested singletrack off the beaten track.”
Jim Mapes on Aug 8, 2013
Getting There     GPX File     Print
8.413.6 milesKilometers 1,700’518 m Ascent 8,410’2,563 m High 8% Avg Grade (4°)
65% Singletrack -1,712’-522 m Descent 6,782’2,067 m Low 51% Max Grade (27°)
Restrictions
There is serious flood damage where the trail is near the creek. It is still largely unridable as of October 2014.
Overview
A link up of all of the designated trails at mid-elevation Front Range location. The difficulty of the North Sheep Mountain descent keeps most neophytes away and you'll likely be the only riders on the trail. However, steep and loose isn't the whole story as the vast majority of this ride is buff singletrack or primitive two-track. The section along the creek is spectacularly beautiful.
Description
This ride should only be done counter-clockwise. Park at the Johnny Park Road trailhead at the top of the Coulson Gulch Trail. Ride west up the somewhat rugged and enjoyable Johnny Park Road until you see the large cairn marking the start of the North Sheep Mountain Trail. After a brief climb. descend down towards the North Saint Vrain Creek. The Forest Service Website says that the North Sheep Mountain Trail "is more of a navigation exercise than a trail." While this isn't exactly accurate this trail is a badly eroded gash quickly becoming a stream bed in some places.

Turn left onto the Button Rock Trail when you are within shouting distance of the water.

Follow the Button Rock Trail downstream, crossing the creek twice on wooden bridges. When you reach the open meadow (Higgins Park) turn left onto the Coulson Gulch Trail. The trail crosses a few meadows, includes some doubletrack, and is generally characterized by buff tread and pleasant forest. There is an old log cabin ruin near the creek.
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Forecasting the weather...
COMMENTS
OTHER RIDES NEAR HERE
4.8 (4)
A fantastic way to link together the Heil and Hall ranch trail systems for on...
near Lyons, CO
4.7 (3)
A challenging mountain link-up with a substantial downhill finish.
near Nederland, CO
4.3 (4)
The course of the eponymous underground, unsanctioned, unofficial, mountain b...
near Nederland, CO

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PHOTOS of North Sheep Mountain to Coulson Gulch
 2.7 from 3 votes
Road bed by the creek. (Jamestown, CO)
 2.3 from 3 votes
Log cabin ruin. (Lyons, CO)
 2.0 from 3 votes
First bridge. (Jamestown, CO)
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