All of our trails for the day were all very close to each other, and Eureka Gulch was just a bit north of Minnie Gulch. It was easy to find, with the remains of the Sunnyside Mill next to the trailhead. There were many people camping in what used to be the town of Eureka. It was tough to imagine this place as it used to be.
We started up the trail while many people at the Sunnyside Mill watched us go. But we were soon around the corner and out of sight. We had hoped to be able to explore the trail further down in the gulch, but it was gated and marked as private property. It looked like a new house was built down there, and we were all jealous.
The trail was very easy, though the drop-off on the site was severe. We all noted the tramway towers we could see, and marveled at the Ben Franklin Mine. It looked like it was recently used, and we wondered how it could stay up there through year after year of harsh winters. It was a bummer that we couldn't get anywhere near it, but we enjoyed looking at it from across the gulch.
We went past the site of the Sunnyside Mine, intending to come back through later to explore. We sat in Lake Emma and couldn't believe that they had accidentally drained it, ruining a mine in the process. At least no one was killed. Whoops!
The trail ended soon after that. We got out to enjoy the amazing views of the mountains around us. It was what you picture when you think of the San Juan Mountains.
We headed back, driving around the Sunnyside Mine location on the way back. There wasn't much left, but you could see that it must have been a huge operation when it was going.
We soon headed back, glad that we explored this area even though the trail was pretty easy. It really was a great day for scenic wheeling.