Hungry Gulch

Round Trip Distance: 11.7 miles
Difficulty: Moderate +
Elevation: 8137 - 8482 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 4 hrs. 45 mins.
Trailhead: FR 402.1A
Fee: none
Attractions: Forest hike, wildlife, double track

The Hungry Gulch trail is located in the Uncompahgre National Forest near Grand Junction, Colorado. The trail runs between the Rocky Pitch trail and the Gill ATV trail. The actual length of the Hungry Gulch trail is just over 3 miles but some extra hiking is required to get to the beginning of the trail. Just looking at the elevation difference between the lowest and highest values it looks like the elevation gain is a mere 345 feet when in actuality it is 1138 feet for a round trip hike.

Due to wet weather we opted to begin this hike at the turnoff on the Divide Road for FR 402.1A. This is where anyone in a passenger car would probably have to park. The turnoff is located 1.6 miles from the northern boundary of the Uncompahgre National Forest on Divide Road. The Google Maps 'Get Directions' function can be used to get complete directions from anywhere you like.

From the Divide Road it is 0.86 miles down FR 402.1A to the lower Rocky Pitch trailhead. Other than a few ruts at the beginning of FR 402.1A the rest of the road is pretty good. That is in dry weather anyway.

The Rocky Pitch trail is a nice wide double track that serves as a connector to the east end of the Hungry Gulch trail.

The Hungry Gulch trail begins 1.7 miles into the hike near a fence corner.

The trail begins with a long climb to the summit of the Gill Creek Divide.

At an elevation of 8482 feet this is the high point of the hike and we get to climb it again on the way back. From this vantage point game can be seen moving about at times far below.

The Hungry Gulch trail follows a fence in a straight line. At 3.27 miles the trail passes the upper trailhead of the Wildcat trail. The Wildcat trail has a lower trailhead on Highway 141 in Unaweep Canyon.

The trail eventually begins turning away from the fence that it has been following since it began at the Rocky Pitch trail and at 3.62 miles it passes through a trail squeeze. There are a half dozen of these squeezes that help insure that nothing wider than the allowed 50 inches can use the trail.

The trail drops down into the Gill Creek drainage on a well crafted cut in the cliff where the trail builders laid large slabs and used a little concrete to hold it all together.

At 3.91 miles the Hungry Gulch trail meets part of the Gill Creek ATV trail. From here the trail makes a gentle climb out of the drainage where it levels off for awhile.

Hiking in the Uncompahgre National Forest can be among the most pleasant hiking that you will find anywhere. Even with all the rain there are no mosquitoes. Maybe they just haven't discovered this area yet.

The last part of the trail drops down a hill again and at 5.84 miles it reaches the Gill Creek trail where the elevation is around  8301 feet. If you were to follow the trail/road to the left you would come out at the intersection of the Divide Road and the Big Creek Road FR 403. The total distance is just under 3 miles from here to there.

Even though this hike came out to almost 12 miles and had over 1100 feet of elevation gain it didn't really seem that strenuous. There are miles and miles of trails just like this on the Uncompahgre. Located less than 30 miles from Grand Junction it is quicker to get to than most places on the Grand Mesa. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.