North Sheep Mountain to Coulson Gulch

Consensus:    (details)
  2.5 from 2 votes
dblack  Extremely Difficult from 1 vote
Rank: #9 in the Front Range area
#309 in CO, #2,640 Overall
Views: 1,491. Last 30 days: 14
Condition Details | Update
Featured Ride in the area near Lyons,
“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°)
NOTICE: According to our research, this Featured Ride does not have legal public access. The route is not shown on the map.
There is serious flood damage where the trail is near the creek. It is still largely unridable as of October 2014.
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.
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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PHOTOS of North Sheep Mountain to Coulson Gulch
  2.7 from 3 votes
Road bed by the creek. (Lyons, CO)
  2.3 from 3 votes
Log cabin ruin. (Lyons, CO)
  2.0 from 3 votes
First bridge. (Lyons, CO)