Hitchens Gulch

This hike starts at the Colorado River trailhead and follows the Red Mountain trail up to the Grand Ditch which leads to the Hitchens Gulch trail.

Be sure to click on these thumbnail photos for larger versions.

1. The trail climbs up through "Hells Hip Pocket" and crosses Opposition Creek a couple times.

2. A Pica sits still long enough to get a photo.  They rarely stop moving.

3. A delicate waterfall from a side stream flowing into Opposition Creek and rich vegetation.

4. Upon reaching the Grand Ditch you can see Red Mountain for which the trail was named.  The Grand Ditch was completed in 1934 and was constructed to divert about one third of the water shed from the east side of the Never Summer range across the continental divide for irrigation of crops on the eastern plains.

5. I'll follow this road along the Grand Ditch north until it crosses Big Dutch Creek where the Hitchens Gulch trail starts.  The Grand Ditch was dry here.  A little farther ahead, Lost Creek flowed into the ditch and along the ditch for about 100 feet.  The ditch was dammed there and the water was released through a gate to follow the normal path of Lost Creek.

6. Along the way you get a good view of the Colorado River valley looking north.

7. Specimen Mountain, from the point where the Hitchens Gulch trail leaves the ditch.  Looking east.  Big Dutch Creek flowed into the ditch here and was not released through its drainage gate.

8. A bird in Big Dutch Creek.  Is this a Water Ouzel?  It was constantly bobbing up and down on it's brief stops while hoping from rock to rock.

9. There were a lot of mushrooms along most of the trails I hiked this trip and some were quite colorful.

10. Cabin ruins at Hitchens Gulch.

11. View from the little pond near Dutch Town.  Lead Mountain is just right of center.

12. A Panorama from near the little pond.  Howard Mountain is at far left, Mount Cirrus is left of center and Lead Mountain is right of center.  Just past this line of trees on the left side marks the spot where you can begin a rock hopping climb up to Lake of the Clouds.  Roach describes a path leading toward a visible waterfall to the south.  I didn't see a waterfall and the remaining climb up the partially snow covered rocky slope looked tough so I didn't continue into the boulder field.  Perhaps another day.  Super Size It!  (219kB).