We had always heard about how Hackett Gulch and Longwater Gulch used to connect on the other side of the South Platte River, but we first visited the Gulches after the Hayman Fire of 2002. That side of the river had been closed since then, and we were happy to find it reopened in 2016. We came down Hackett Gulch first and crossed the river at Hackett Crossing. That meant we were on the southern end of Corral Creek.
Axle Breaker was right next to the river crossing, a steep hill that looked fun. With a name like Axle Breaker, it must be a crazy hill, right? Well, it may have been crazy back when it was named but now it was just a fun hill. We cruised up it and then found a wide spot to turn around as the trail didn't go much farther.
We headed back down Axle Breaker and then north on the west side of the river. Tarryall Crossing was very mellow compared to Hackett Crossing, but it was nice. Then we worked our way along the river.
We found signs practically hidden in the bushes next to the river that said the trail was closed, but there was no evidence of a trail there anymore. It looked like there was an old connector to Longwater Gulch, but it was long gone. After a bit of exploration, we kept going.
We saw another possible connector to Longwater Gulch, and we took that one. The short bit of trail to get to the Longwater Crossing was very overgrown, with leaves that reached into our Jeeps. But the beach at the shoreline was wide and big, though rocky. We checked out the crossing and decided to go for it, moving to Longwater Gulch.