We'd heard good things about Arrastra Gulch, and we were excited to go check it out. It was pretty from the start as it crossed over the river, and then we headed up. We looked up to find the old tramway cables over our heads, complete with old cars hanging from them. It was really cool.
We knew there were two spurs, and we decided to climb first. We followed the tramway and the huge towers that were still in such good condition. There were structures everywhere to stop avalanches, and mine tailings everywhere. We could see foundations for old buildings here and there, too. We couldn't stop looking around -- even the scenery was amazing.
The higher in elevation we got, the more the trail turned into a serious climb. We were above timberline, and the previously mellow trail turned into something loose, bumpy, and narrow in spots. We stopped at the first switchback and looked up, not seeing anyone coming down. We knew we couldn't see the whole trail, though, so we crossed our fingers and kept going. Luckily, we didn't find anyone on their way down.
The parking area at the mine is huge and flat, and we were up there for a long time. There was so much to look at. We had our usual conversation about the timing when something that was once garbage became historic. The hillside was covered in history, but it must have looked really trashy over the years. It was a jumbled mess of rusted metal and foundation blocks.
We talked a long time about the hillside next to the mine and everything we saw there. The avalanche protection was the weirdest, and we spotted them all over the place. It must have been a very busy basin and mountain at one point, and it would have been so cool to see it.
We finally decided to head back down, going to the spur that is at the base of the mountain following Arrastra Creek. We were very disappointed to see we couldn't get far, when we came to a wide turnaround spot with rocks along the perimeter and signs telling us to stay on our side of the rocks. We were even given a time limit to enjoy the view. It was definitely a bummer to see the trail on the other side of a shiny, new gate.
We saw the spur to go to Little Giant Basin when we were on our way down, so we headed back up to do that trail, too. Arrastra Gulch was a new favorite.