After just moving to Colorado from the Midwest, I was dying to get some good hiking in. I needed the perfect trail: challenging, but not too challenging. After browsing trail after trail online, I came across McCullough Gulch and decided to give it a go.
Just south of Breckenridge, McCullough Gulch Trail is a 2.8 mile out and back trail. It is beautiful. Not only is the trail surrounded by tall pines and trickling waterfalls, but it’s nestled in between massive, snow covered mountains. You weave in and out of wildflower fields and jump over snowmelted creeks all the way to the top where a glacial lake sits waiting for you.
All was well on the trail until I was about half a mile from the lake. Because I went mid-June, there was still a decent amount of snow covering the trail that I was not prepared for. I couldn’t find the trail, assuming it was covered with snow. My supposedly “all-terrain” hiking shoes were slipping on the wet snow, making it difficult to climb the last bit of (what I hoped was) the trail. I found myself wishing I had hiking poles and proper shoes…or maybe a sled for the way down. Needless to say, the slippery climb was worth the view. Although I’m sure I don’t need to tell you Coloradoans that.
Hiking in Colorado is always going to be an experience to remember. The diverse landscape and somewhat unpredictable weather patterns are sure to make for an interesting hike, so what can you do to prepare yourself for the unexpected?
My advice is to do some quick research on the trail you’re planning to hike and its surrounding areas. The more familiar you are with the trail map, the easier it will be to navigate yourself around an area that’s say, snow covered. It will help you know what to bring in your pack so you’re prepared for any surprise. A few things to note here: rain jacket, trail snack, sunscreen, and, of course, water! I like to pack some duct tape in my pack for any blisters I acquire during the hike (trust me, it’s a life saver!).
You want your hike to be a good experience, right? So do the research, pack correctly, and get ready for another awesome Colorado adventure!