Dakota Hill  
USGS 7.5' Map: Central City, Nederland
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Easy 2 FR412, 717, 719 5.37 10,620 ft. NA 3-4 hours
County: Gilpin
Adopted by:      
Managed by: Roosevelt National Forest
Boulder Ranger District

Clear Creek Ranger District

2140 Yarmouth Ave.
Boulder, CO 80301

101 Chicago Creek Road
P.O. Box 3307
Idaho Springs, CO 80452


Summary: Dakota Hill 4WD road is a series of easy 4WD roads through the old mines on Dakota Hill.
Attractions: Mining History, Scenic Views
Natural, closed by heavy snows
Best Time: June - May still be drifted in on the north side and in the heavy timber early in the month.
July - Best time.
August - Best time.
September - Best time.
October - Watch for early snows.
Trail Heads
Camping: The southern end of the Dakota Hill 4WD road offers the most dispersed sites. Be aware of private property and do not camp at old mine sites, they are also private property.
Base Camp: There is a good network of other 4WD roads in the area to explore. Most roads are old mining roads of moderate challenge.
Fall Colors: Good - The south side of Dakota Hill has large aspen stands.
Navigation: From Black Hawk, CO. head northwest on Bobtail Road toward Gregory Street for 0.4 miles. Turn right onto Gregory Street and go 0.2 miles. Continue onto Black Hawk Street for 236 ft. Turn left onto CO-119 and go 1.9 miles. Turn left onto County Rd 4-S and go 1.4 miles. Slight right to stay on Co Rd 4-S and go 4.2 miles. Continue ahead to start up Dakota Hill 4WD road.
History: Below Dakota Hill is the town of Apex, founded in 1891. Its peak population of 1000 was reached in 1896. The best mine was the Mackey, named for its owner, Dick Mackey. The mine was leased to a man named Mountz and a partner. After extracting $30,000 in gold ore the partner stole the money. Mountz had $400 to continue working the mine. After running a crosscut for 90 feet he was out of money and gave up. He placed the remaining dynamite at the end of the tunnel, lit the fuse, and went home. When he returned the next day the final blast had uncovered the mother load. The ore assayed at $1,800 a ton. Later a mill was constructed at the site to process the ore.

Jessen, Kenneth Ghost Towns Colorado Style, Volumn 1, 1st ed. Loveland, Colorado: J.V. Publications, 1998. Print.
From the semi-ghost town of Apex you will head north on a wide graded road out of town. At the first switchback a spur road, FR719.1C will continue straight ahead. It climbs to the top of the ridge and connects with 4WD roads on the Boulder Ranger District. Follow the main road through three switchbacks to a large intersection. There are some mine buildings to see, though they are not that old. There is also a county building on the north side of the road.

The road to the right is Utah Hill, FR716.1. Dakota Hill 4WD road will continue up through four more switchbacks.
Climb to the top of Dakota Hill

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After you cross over the top you will be on the Boulder Ranger District and the road will now be FR412.1. There is one more switchback that gives you some nice views to the north.
Switchback on the north side of Dakota Hill

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Continuing down Dakota Hill 4WD road you will pass through a heavily mined area with many spur roads. Dakota Hill, FR412.1, will head mainly east. You will come to a large intersection. FR412.1I will be to the right with FR412.1K straight ahead. FR412.1I sees more traffic, but both of these roads will come back together in about a half mile and tie into the Perigo 4WD road, FR417.1. FR412.1 will be the main road to the right which continues to the south around Dakota Hill.

From here the road heads into the trees. If you keep your eyes pealed you might see some of the old mine sites, a few with old buildings, in the trees along the road. After about 3/4 of a mile you will come to another four way intersection. The road to the left is Gamble Gulch, FR411.1, which will take you out to County Road 15. The road to the right becomes Oregon Hill, FR713.1. Oregon Hill will connect with Utah Hill and bring you back to the "not so old" mine buildings at one of the switchbacks you went through on the way up Dakota Hill. Continue straight ahead to stay on FR412.1.

In less than a quarter mile you will cross into the Clear Creek Ranger District and the road will now be FR717.1. At just over a mile from the last intersection you will come to another intersection in an open meadow on a wide saddle. To the left is a short spur road that ends after just over a quarter mile. The road straight ahead and along the edge of the valley is Pickle Gulch, FR718.1, which is a moderately difficult 4WD road. The road to the right is Stewart Gulch, FR714.1. It passes along the large tailing pile and heads down the gulch to connect with Silver Creek, FR707.1 and it also loops up to the north west and connects with Oregon Hill, FR713.1, though it requires a steep hill climb. This is the end of the Dakota Hill 4WD road.
Data updated: February 3, 2014        4WD Road driven: July 11, 2011        Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2014