Corkscrew Gulch  
Maps:        
USGS 7.5' Map: Ironton
Statistics:
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Easy 3 FR 886
CR 20A
4.68 9,750 to 12,217 ft. Ledge road 2-3 hours
County: Ouray and San Juan
Adopted by:      
Managed by: Uncompahgre National Forest, Mountain District
San Juan County
2250 Highway 50, Delta, CO 81416
1557 Greene St, Silverton, CO 81433
(970)874-6600
(970)387-5766
Summary: Corkscrew Gulch is one of the first pass roads built to connect Silverton with the towns and mines on Red Mountain. It climbs to a saddle off of Red Mountain No. 1.
Attractions: Mining History, Scenery, Mountain Passes
Seasonal
Closure:
Natural - closed by heavy snows.
Access: June - Snow in the west basin will still block the road
July - Late in the month
August - Best
September - Best
October - Passable, unless early snows
Trail Heads
Accessed:
 
Camping: There is one dispersed camp site along the road.
Base Camp: This would be a good area to base camp and explore the sites around Ironton and Red Mountain.
Fall Colors: Poor - Pine forest.
Navigation: From Ouray, CO. head south on US-550 South/Main Street toward Camp Bird Road. Continue to follow US-550 South for 7.7 miles. Turn left onto County Rd 20 and continue east past the large tailings where you will turn right and start the Corkscrew Gulch 4WD road.

From Silverton, CO. head southwest on County Rd 2/State Hwy 110 toward East 9th Street. Continue to follow State Hwy 110 for 0.4 miles. Turn right onto County Rd 2 for 417 feet and continue onto US-550 North/Million Dollar Hwy for 14.9 miles. Turn right onto Co Rd 20 and continue east past the large tailings where you will turn right and start the Corkscrew Gulch 4WD road.

Second way from Silverton, CO. head northeast on County Rd 2/Greene Street toward 11th Street. Continue to follow Greene Street for 0.7 miles. Turn left onto State Hwy 110 and go 6.4 miles. Take a slight left onto County Rd 10 and go 1.5 miles. Take a sharp left onto County Rd 11. This is the start of Corkscrew Gulch 4WD road from the east side of the Red Mountains.
History: The road through Corkscrew Gulch was built in 1882-1883 as an alternate route from the rich mines in the Red Mountain District to Silverton. It connected Ironton, Red Mountain City, Red Mountain Town, and Rogersville and their associated mines with Gladstone and then on to Silverton.

Corkscrew Gulch was built in the early period of the race to get wagon roads from Silverton and Ouray up to the silver mines that had been discovered on the Red Mountain Divide near the present day Red Mountain Pass.
Description:
Starting just off of Hwy 550 at the end of a large tailings pile there is a large parking lot and staging area for the Corkscrew Gulch road. Right after you head up the road from the parking area you will come to an intersection. The left road is the way to the Brown Mountain, FR884, and Gray Copper, FR887, roads. The right is Corkscrew Gulch. The Corkscrew Gulch road will head south into the trees making its way to Corkscrew Gulch. As the road heads up Corkscrew Gulch you will cross and eroded section that is the same color as the mine tailings.
Start of Corkscrew Gulch

photo by:
Adam M

The road will get narrow and steep in this section.
Narrow section

photo by:
Adam M

Once you get back into the trees you will continue to follow the creek up the valley.
Middle section of Corkscrew Gulch

photo by:
Adam M

You will do four switch backs to continue climbing. Red Mountain No. 2 will be to the south and Red Mountain No. 1 to the north as you climb higher into the valley. Just as you get to timberline there will be a Forest Service out house.
Looking down from the switchbacks

photo by:
Adam M

After this you will do four more swtich backs with great views of the Red Mountains before reaching the top of the pass.
From the pass looking west

photo by:
Adam M

At the top by two small ponds there is a road to the right that takes you even higher up on the ridge between Red Mountain No. 1 and Red Mountain No. 2 for great views of the surrounding mountains.

From the top it is a short drive down the east side of the pass to the Hurricane Pass, Cnty 10, road in a valley above Gladstone.
Heading down the Gladstone side

photo by:
Adam M

Almost to the bottom with the Hurricane Pass road in the distance

photo by:
Adam M

Data updated - December 26, 2015       4WD Road driven - August 11, 2015       Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2016