Hackett Gulch was the third and final trail for us this weekend. It was getting late in the afternoon when we reached the trailhead and it was beginning to snow in earnest. We stopped to read the signs proclaiming Hackett Gulch to be "Rated Most Difficult." This, in conjunction with the accumulated and freshly falling snow caused a little concern, but we knew we could always turn around if we encountered anything we felt was too dangerous or that might trap us on the trail. With the forecast for deteriorating conditions, we did not want to spend the night on the trail!
Unlike Metberry Gulch and Longwater Gulch, Hackett Gulch starts with some descents following the contours of the gulch that contains the trail. While steep and somewhat off-camber, these presented no problem. We were soon at a short but steep climb. The trail splits around a tree with the right side of the trail having a deep wash down the center. We opted for the left side and were soon at the base of Hackett Rock. We all went up the right side of this with little trouble except for Mike, in the lead, making a couple tries before finding the right line with some spotting provided over the radio. With the snow, no one really wanted to get out, so we didn't spot each other and, unfortunately, we also didn't get any pictures.
After Hackett Rock, the trail climbs and descends with one more rock slab climb to navigate. While there is a winch point provided above the slab, no one needed it. The descents to the end of the trail at the Park County line were a little challenging but we all had no problem with traction even through there were some moguls in some sections.
After a brief stop at the end of the trail, we turned around and headed back out. At the bottom of Hackett Rock, Mike opted to go down the washed out section of the trail and had one brief scare when the driver's side of his Jeep dropped into the crack. The ground was awfully close to his driver's window but he didn't flop. He managed to drive out of the crack without further incident. Walt followed Mike without the drama, and Roger opted for the other side of the tree.
We were soon back at the trailhead. With the weather now rapidly getting worse, we decided to call it a weekend. We went north on Cedar Mountain Road and aired up at the fire station in Westcreek. We parted ways at Deckers with Roger and Walt going home through Pine Junction and Mike heading off via Sedalia. The trip past the end of Rampart Range Road ending up being the most stressful part of the day with it snowing so hard visibility was down to about ten feet.
Reports from Other Days: 4
Use the arrows or dots to flip through the previews of the other reports for Hackett Gulch. Click one of them to read more and see all of the photos from that day.