Mayflower Gulch Trail

Mayflower Gulch Trail: Hiking Guide, Map & Photos

Nestled in the heart of Summit County, Colorado, Mayflower Gulch offers a breathtaking window into the state’s rugged beauty and storied past. This trail, with its relatively easy access and moderate difficulty, is a gateway to a world where nature and history intertwine. As you traverse the 5.2-mile round trip, you’ll be greeted by stunning alpine meadows, remnants of Colorado’s mining era, and panoramic views that capture the essence of the Rocky Mountains.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker, a photographer in search of the perfect shot, or a family looking for an unforgettable day out, Mayflower Gulch is a destination that promises adventure and awe at every turn. This guide is your companion to exploring the natural wonders and historical treasures of one of Colorado’s hidden gems.

Mayflower Gulch Trail Details:

Mayflower Gulch Trail Guide

To plan your hike, use the trail description, map, and photos below. You can also check the upcoming weather forecast, get directions to the trailhead, and learn about Leave No Trace and safety best practices. If you have a question, check the FAQ below or ask it in a comment.

Trail Description

The trail begins at the Mayflower Gulch Trailhead, just off Highway CO-91 between Leadville and Copper Mountain.

The lower trail is actually a 4WD road. Stay on the right side of the trail as you hike and let vehicles you come across pass.

As you hike up the gulch along Mayflower Creek, the trail gradually gains approximately 1,200 feet elevation. However, it is barely noticeable in my experience.

1.5 miles into the hike you will reach a junction. Take the left path to reach the historic log cabins. The right path leads up to a nearby ridgeline and provides fantastic views.

After reaching the historic cabins, the trail continues for another mile before it gradually disappears around 12,220 feet. It is recommended that you turn around at this point to avoid trampling the alpine tundra.

Return back the same way you came, with an enjoyable downhill ascent and views of the Sawatch Range to the west. 

Trail Map

Use this map of the Mayflower Gulch Trail to plan your hike.

Trail Photos

Here are some photos from the Mayflower Gulch Trail, taken in August of 2023 during a visit with friends.

Trailhead

The Mayflower Gulch Trailhead is located along Colorado Highway 91 and is managed by the White River National Forest

Directions

From Interstate 70: Take the exit at Copper Mountain and continue south on Highway 91 for approximately 5.7 miles. The trailhead will be on the left side.

From Leadville: Head north out of town along Highway 91 and drive for approximately 16 miles. The trailhead will be on the right side.

Access

The trailhead is accessible all year round. Most vehicles can reach the trailhead without any problems. 4WD vehicles with high clearance can also drive up the road to park near the road junction (parking is limited at the upper trailhead).

Amenities

There are no amenities at this trailhead. Bring your own drinking water and pack out all your garbage to dispose of it properly at home.

Learn more about the Trailhead.

Weather

Here is a weather forecast from the National Weather Service for the Mayflower Gluch Trailhead.

Leave No Trace

With more than 4.5 million visitors each year, it is incredibly important to take care during your visit to help preserve the Mayflower Gulch Trail. Here are some tips and best practices to ensure you Leave No Trace during your hike.

  1. Plan ahead and prepare: Conduct research about the trail, the weather, and any regulations before starting your hike.
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces: Stay on the trail, do not cut switchbacks and use established campsites.
  3. Dispose of waste properly: Carry all trash, leftover food, and litter out with you.
  4. Leave what you find: Do not disturb wildlife or plants, or remove rocks and other natural objects. Leave historic structures alone and do not remove artifacts.
  5. Minimize campfire impact: Campfires are not allowed in RMNP unless you are in a designated campsite.
  6. Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance and do not feed animals. Dogs are not allowed on the Mayflower Gulch Trail.
  7. Be considerate of other visitors: Keep noise levels down and yield to other hikers when appropriate.

Safety Tips

The Rocky Mountains are dangerous. Even going hiking at the Mayflower Gulch Trail requires planning and the right gear to stay safe. Here are some tips to ensure you have a good experience: 

  1. Check the weather forecast: The weather can change rapidly in the mountains so always check the forecast before you head out and be prepared for all conditions.
  2. Carry essential gear: This includes a map, compass, first-aid kit, multi-tool, headlamp, matches or lighter, and emergency shelter.
  3. Stay on the trail: To protect the environment and for your own safety, always stay on the designated trail.
  4. Stay hydrated and eat regularly: Mountain air is dry and can dehydrate you quickly, and the physical exertion will require you to refuel with food and water.
  5. Dress in layers: Temperatures can fluctuate greatly in the mountains, so dressing in layers allows you to adjust as needed.
  6. Tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back: If you get lost or injured, someone knowing your plan can save your life.
  7. Be aware of altitude sickness: Symptoms can include headaches, fatigue, stomach illness, dizziness, and sleep disturbance. If you feel sick, descend to a lower altitude as quickly as possible.

 

Learn more about mountain safety by reading the comprehensive outdoor safety guide here.

FAQ

Here are some common questions and answers related to the hike. If your question is not addressed, leave a comment and I will get back to you with an answer and more information as soon as possible.

Q: How long is the Mayflower Gulch Trail?

A: The Mayflower Gulch Trail is a 5.2-mile round trip hike. It offers a moderate trek suitable for hikers of various skill levels, showcasing stunning views of the surrounding mountains and meadows.


A: Yes, backcountry camping is allowed in Mayflower Gulch. However, campers are encouraged to practice Leave No Trace principles to preserve the natural beauty of the area. Always ensure you camp at least 200 feet away from water sources and trails.

A: Mayflower Gulch was historically a mining area, with operations primarily focused on extracting silver and glld. The remnants of old mining cabins and structures can still be seen, dating back to the late 19th century Boston Mine. It closed when the gold deposits in the gulch were found to be too impure to be profitable and the area was abandoned. 

A: Yes, you can drive to the Mayflower Gulch Trailhead. It is accessible via Colorado Highway 91. In winter, the road may require vehicles equipped with four-wheel drive or chains, especially following snowfall.

A: The elevation at the Mayflower Gulch trailhead starts at approximately 11,000 feet. The trail itself gains elevation gradually, offering hikers breathtaking views without an overly strenuous ascent.

A: Mayflower Gulch is located in Summit County, Colorado. It’s situated between Copper Mountain and Leadville, offering easy access for those traveling along the I-70 corridor. It is part of the Mosquito Range of the southern Rocky Mountains.

A: The best time to visit Mayflower Gulch is from late June to early October. During this period, the snow has typically melted, providing clearer trails and access to the area’s full beauty. Wildflower season in July and early August is particularly spectacular, making it an ideal time for photography and nature walks.

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Notice: The material presented in this route guide may not be comprehensive or precise and should not be solely relied upon when planning your climb. Inadequate experience, physical fitness, supplies, or equipment may result in injury or fatality.

The Next Summit and the author(s) of this hiking guide offer no guarantees, neither explicit nor implied, regarding the accuracy or dependability of the information provided.

By utilizing the information herein, you agree to indemnify and absolve The Next Summit and the hiking guide author(s) from any claims and demands against them, including any legal fees and expenses. 

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Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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In 2018, I watched in disbelief as dozens of people hiked into a storm on Longs Peak, unaware of the extreme danger. Soon after, I started The Next Summit to educate and empower the public to safely and responsibly explore America's mountains.

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