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Ben Tyler Trail

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Basics
Location:
45 miles southwest of Denver
Setting:
Mountainous
Length:
22.8 mile roundtrip
Difficulty:
Intermediate,
Difficult
Time:
2 days
Trailhead Elevation:
8300 feet
Elevation Change:
3400 feet
Season:
Summer - Fall

Description

This popular trail is named for Ben Tyler, who lived with his family in the gulch that bears his name. He operated a lumber mill during gold rush days, hauling the sawed timber over the ridge and into Fairplay.

Major attractions include the numerous and colorful wildflowers in late spring and early summer. The trail also offers spectacular views to the north and south from its high point, and the changing colors in September, particularly in the large aspen groves in Ben Tyler Gulch, are outstanding. Because the trail is almost entirely in designated wilderness except for about a mile at each end, Wilderness regulations apply.

Beginning at the North Ben Tyler Trailhead, the trail climbs steeply in a series of switchbacks. Please do not cut across these switchbacks. After the last switchback, the trail becomes less steep up to a crossing of Ben Tyler Creek. At this point the trail gradient increases and the valley tightens. There are few areas along this section of trail suitable for camping. The final section up to the Craig Park Trail junction is a series of long switchbacks that, when traversing east, offer spectacular views down Ben Tyler Gulch. The Craig Park Trail junction is marked by a sign indicating the Craig Park Trail to the left (east), and the Ben Tyler Trail to the right (west). The trail continues to climb, crossing Ben Tyler Creek again, to a high saddle above treeline, which offers some spectacular views. From here the trail descends to the south into the Rock Creek drainage. As you near the trailhead, you pass the remains of an old lumber camp. At the South Ben Tyler Trailhead, you can continue hiking down the road and, where the road leaves the creek, continue following the trail down along the creek to eventually join the Colorado Trail.

Location:
45 miles southwest of Denver
Setting:
Mountainous
Length:
22.8 mile roundtrip
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Difficult
Time:
2 days
Trailhead Elevation:
8300
Elevation Change:
3400
Season:
Summer - Fall
Useful Map(s):
USGS Quads: Observatory Rock, Mt. Logan, Shawnee
Additional Details:
Usage: day hiking, backpacking, horseback riding Backcountry water is available along first three miles of the trail. on the southwest side, and most of the way up from the 285 side.
Basic Directions

1) North Ben Tyler Trailhead: Drive west from Denver on US 285 for 34 miles to the town of Shawnee. Continue on US 285 about 2 miles. The trailhead and small parking area will be on the left (south) side of the highway. This trailhead is to be moved east about 1 1/2 miles in 2002. Check with the South Platte District office for current information.

2) South Ben Tyler Trailhead: Approximately 2.5 miles west of Kenosha Pass on US 285, turn east on Park County 56 (Lost Park Road). Travel about 7 miles and turn left (north) on Forest Road 133 (Rock Creek Road). Approximately .6 miles up this road is the Rock Creek Trailhead on the Colorado Trail. Continue north on Forest Road 133 another mile to reach the South Ben Tyler Trailhead. Where the road forks stay to the right. The road continues to Rock Creek, but the final portion is rough and with little room to turn around. It is recommended that you park above and walk down to the stream. The trail begins on the west side of Rock Creek. Alternatively, the southernmost end of the Ben Tyler Trail can be accessed via the Colorado Trail by hiking .6 miles east from the Rock Creek Trailhead on the Colorado Trail to its junction with Ben Tyler.

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