After one of our first snowfalls last fall, with the recommendation of friends my husband and I hiked to Mayflower Gulch. It was one a gorgeous sunny day in early November... with skies like this, staying inside wasn't an option (the definition of a blue bird day!)!
Mayflower Gulch trailhead is easy to find ... it's the Copper Mountain exit (195) off of I-70, a few miles west of Frisco. It's about 6 miles south on the left side of highway 91. This is a popular trail with locals, so you can't miss the parking lot. This is the perfect easy trail to take if you live at sea level (you may want to acclimate for a day or two) or to take your sea level visitors if you live at altitude. Since you start the hike at above 10,000 feet you don't have to hike long or steep for a beautiful reward!
The trail is not quite 2 miles each direction, with a gradual climb on a wide path (you may share with a few 4 wheel drives, mountain bikes, x-country skiers, or snowshoers). For a good portion of the climb you are surrounded by tall trees, but this opens up to a meadow and then a killer view of the Mayflower Ampitheater! With an almost 14,000 mountain and rocky ridges as a backdrop, this hike truly has a fantastic reward for a short investment! It's also home to the old Boston Ghost/Mining Camp, with old buildings left to explore.
If you have some energy left, ready for a steep (although short) climb and another spectacular view... then head up the trail to the right of Mayflower Gulch. Seeing that someone had already blazed a trail through the not too deep snow, we couldn't resist a trek up Gold Hill to get a glimpse off the ridge. This part of the trail is very steep, so it's definitely a more difficult climb than the walk to Mayflower Gulch.
After a few short stops to rest our burning lungs, clear off the snow, and brace ourself against a whipping wind - we were amazed at the view we encountered from the hike up to 12,000 feet! As this was the first time we had hiked these trails, we were blown away at what lie on the other side of the ridge! This won't be the last time we hike to Mayflower Gulch and Gold Hill - can't wait to explore this area in the summer!
Until the next adventure - bon voyage!