In keeping with my theme of running new trails every week and never making proper plans...... I had a 5 hour window today (my only day off this week) and I needed to get out a little.
I called a buddy down in Castle Rock and told him to drop what he was doing and let's go take a ride. I wanted to check out a trail called Illinois Gulch as a possible addition to the 2nd Annual Run the Gulches Run this winter.
I started on the north end of Rampart Range Road off 67. Illinois Gulch is all the way down near Rainbow Falls road, so I took the long way. Too long, I hate Rampart Range road as it is, and that many miles on that road in the rain was a little much.
In any case, I finally found it. 348.B to 344. It required a topo map, those roads back there are a total maze. I wanted to add some difficulty to this years Run the Gulches, and from what I could find this trail would provide that. There are a few steep hills made up of tiny rocks and sand that are prevalent in that area. Similar to Metberry or Hackett, but much steeper. The main obstacle is called Moab Hill and that's what I was really looking for. It's a wide hill, not overly steep with ledges of slickrock going up. Very similar to what you'd find on Top of The World trail. The bottom ledge is the biggest. Probably 3 or 4 feet. It was big enough that my front bumper was the first thing that hit and I had to walk the bumper up the rock until my front tires could get to it. It's steep enough that my rear bumper was dragging as well. A 40 probably wouldn't have that issue, but the 100 is pretty fat bottomed.
I took what looked like the hardest line and had to stack a few rocks at the top of the first shelf and bottom of second ledge. The 100s wheelbase was just long enough to fit perfectly in between the two, so it made climbing the second step a little difficult. Plus, the rain and mud wasn't helping. I was able to make it up all the lines, but the sliders and bumpers took a good beating. The rain probably added some difficulty and its probably easier when the sun is shining and the rocks are dry and warm. I didn't come down the hardest line because we were solo in my truck and I was pretty sure my front bumper would have dug in and hung up as I dropped off. I didn't want to get into a sticky situation alone. Just trying to be smart and save it for another day.
It's only about 15-20 minutes from West Creek where we start Metberry Gulch. I'll be adding it to this years Gulches Run. The great thing is you don't have to do this obstacle at all on that run. You can watch others do it, or take one of the very easy lines with small ledges to see how you and your vehicle perform on that type of stuff. Lots of fun.
My buddy has all the pics and video, so I'll get them up tonight when he sends them to me. Passed some vehicles on Rampart and just a few dirt bikes. No one else on Illinois Gulch but judging by the campsite, that area sees plenty of use. I *think* that side of the trail remains open off Rainbow Falls Road all winter, so it will be a nice addition to this years run. I heard Hackett Gulch is closed again, so we'll do Metberry and Illinois this year. Stay Tuned, pics are coming.