Adams Gulch, Sort of. Or, I Still Can’t Read Trail Maps.
Directly following our morning hike at Chocolate Gulch we popped down the road a few miles towards the trailhead for Adams Gulch. We found the busy parking area and were initially dismayed thinking the trail would be crowded until we looked at the map and realized how many trails actually departed from this trailhead. Apparently I didn’t look at the map close enough however because I selected the wrong route. We had intended to hike the trails that form “Adams Gulch Loop” on recommendation from the ranger but I led us onto a trail to the east of the more popular Gulch Route. I realized our mistake after about a mile when we didn’t see the trail junctions I expected but after referencing the photo I took of the map and confirming that we could loop back to the trailhead on this route we proceeded.
Despite our route not following the one the ranger had gushed about, we were not at all disappointed with the hike. We began by walking up green grassy hills filled with wildflowers and then began circling to the north alternately climbing gaining elevation and crossing gullys. Spectacular views of the mountains emerged and amazingly, the density of wildflowers increased. After a mile and a half the trail turned west and continued ascending; this route easily took us a thousand feet up. Just before we reached the next trail junction we turned into the welcome shade of tree cover and we rested here before the seemingly-endless descent down the mile of steep switchbacks into a gulch. From this point there were not so many views but we were not only satisfied with what we’d seen, but just quite happy to not have the continue climbing upwards under the hot sun.
Lastly, I leave you with what is very possibly the best trailhead sign ever: Moose = furry locomotives with an attitude.