19316 Goddard Ranch Ct.
Morrison, CO 80465
- 3.5 miles
- 1 - 2 hours
- Trailhead Elevation:
- 6600 feet
- Elevation Range:
- 6600 feet to 6610 feet
- Elevation Change:
- 10 feet
- Spring to Fall
The trail begins at the Cheesman Canyon trailhead on CR 126 and ends at a gauging station immediatly below Cheesman Dam. The trail begins by briefly following Wigwam Creek, then crosses Forest Road 211 and climbs to the first views of the river. At this point, hikers need to make a choice to stay on a high trail or drop immediately to the river. If you choose stay on the high trail and hike to the gauging station, allow 2.25 hours one way for your hike. The high trail parallels the South Platte River and provides views of the river and dramatic rock formations. The high trail also provides access routes to the river, but you must walk about 1/3 mile to reach the first river access route.
This Gold Medal section of the river is under special fishing regulations; all fish must be released and only flies and lures are allowed. With the recent discovery of the New Zealand mudsnail in 11-mile Canyon, we ask all anglers to learn how to recognize this snail and work to avoid introducing the snail into Cheesman Canyon. Cheesman Canyon is also home to a threatened butterfly, the pawnee montane skipper. The South Platte River corridor is the only place in the world where this butterfly occurs.
Volunteers recently completed a great amount of work on the trail and river access routes to reduce erosion and keep sediment out of the river, as well as protect habitat for the butterfly. We ask that you respect this work and stay on the marked routes only.
The trail is moderately difficult and has many ups and downs that are quite steep. The soil is loose gravel and there is poison ivy along some of the routes.
The Gill Trail is named for Tom Gill who had a sawmill at location of the present trailhead from 1904 to 1907. He also constructed the road from there to Deckers. Cheesman Dam, at the end of the trail, was constructed as a water supply reservoir for the city of Denver and was completed in 1905.
The trail is used primarily by anglers wishing to fish the 3 mile Cheesman Canyon between the Wigwam Club and Cheesman Dam. Anglers will find Brown and Rainbow trout. Special catch and release rules are in effect for this area. This 3.5 mile trail follows along the west shoreline of the South Fork of the South Platte River.
Drive east from Bailey on Highway 285 to Pine Junction. Turn right (south) on to Jefferson County Road 126 and travel 21 miles from Pine Junction to reach the Cheesman Canyon trailhead. The road is paved the entire way.