Mayflower Gulch - Snowshoeing

May 4, 2019 · White River National Forest

Mayflower Gulch is on the west side of the Ten Mile Range and part of the Avalanche Amphitheatre along the range. This very short trek has spectacular views. There are two ways into the bowl of Fletcher Mountain. The first is along a trail that obscures views of Fletcher Mountain, the other is pretty much straight up the middle of the valley following the stream to the bowl, this is the preferred route with spectacular views the entire length of the gulch.

It's difficult to tell, but it seems this hidden gem is a multi-use trail, including hiking, biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, and there are signs that indicate that in the summer gas powered vehicles are allowed in here as well. That seems like a shame to me, it's such a short trek and the views are breathtaking. It was very peaceful when I was there.

Since the trailhead is on the west side of the Ten Mile range, I opted for a slightly later start because I wanted to wait until the sun had filled the valley and lit up the bowl that is surrounded by several big-name peaks. At the back of the bowl is Fletcher Mountain, then off to the north is Atlantic Peak and early in the trek you can see Pacific Peak tucked behind Atlantic Peak. The views are incredible, there is so much snow in the valley and it has been lightly treed on during the winter season - or the wind howls down the valley at night, erasing all tracks from the previous day.

Either way, the snow and the blue sky and clouds racing by make it look like a winter wonderland. The walls of the bowl are covered in snow and they are very steep. It's easy to see why this valley is part of Ten Mile Range Avalanche Amphitheatre. There are three abandoned cabins sitting in the bowl. I can't imagine the feelings the people who stayed there must have had when an avalanche let loose in the middle of the night.

I was one of first people to arrive at the abandoned cabins, though there were three people who were already on their way back out by the time I got there. The clouds racing over the peaks make shadows along the mountain walls of the bowl, giving it a different texture and personality by the minute. Because this is valley is on the west side of the Ten Mile Range it acts as a collecting point for condensation. There's almost always a haze in the sky just above the bowl as it creates new clouds.

This was a great day to be here, there was a very light and infrequent breeze, in a place that otherwise when the wind blows would probably howl down the gulch. While I was at the abandoned cabins, I could make out the tracks of what looked like four mountaineers making their way up the back wall of the bowl to the summit of Fletcher Mountain. I don't know if they planned on going over the top or getting up further to ski down, either way it was crazy to watch them slowly make their way up the nearly vertical face of the back wall of the bowl. I didn't stay long enough to see if they were skiing or summitting as there was a large group of cross-country skiers on their way to the abandoned cabins where I was.

On the way back down I took my time, taking a lot of pictures on the way out as the clouds kept changing the texture of the snow on the mountain walls of the bowl and the valley floor. This was a very easy 3.9 miles and the weather was great.


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AREAS HIKED

Collegiate Peaks Wilderness9
Eagles Nest Wilderness10
Fossil Ridge Wilderness1
Fraser Experimental Forest1
Gunnison National Forest1
Holy Cross Wilderness12
Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness3
Indian Peaks Wilderness17
James Peak Wilderness1
Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness2
Mount Evans Wilderness2
Mount Massive Wilderness2
Pike National Forest1
Raggeds Wilderness1
Rocky Mountain National Park41
San Isabel National Forest6
Sangre de Cristo Wilderness1
White River National Forest10
Zirkel Wilderness1

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SEASONS ON THE TRAIL

2021

The 2021 Season has started. Though the pandemic created a challenging 2020 season, I am looking forward to building on the 2020 season to create an incredible 2021 season. The pandemic has taught me a few things about when and where to go hiking. As such planning for the 2021 se...

2020

The 2020 hiking season has been incredible, even in the face of adversity. The pandemic has made for a logistically challenging season. Somehow, I was still able to piece together an incredible 230+ miles on the trail this season and able to see some truly spectacular places. Enj...

2019

The 2019 hiking season was an interesting season, this was the first season that I started and ended the season snowshoeing and a full summer of hiking for a total of just under 225 miles on the trail. What this season has taught me is that it's winter in the mountains for a long...

2018

The 2018 Summer Hiking Season has come to an end. What a season, incredible views and just over 230 miles on the trail. Even with 230 miles, this season seems short to me, perhaps I'll add something to it during the winter season - snowshoeing perhaps. In the meantime, I hope you...

2017

The 2017 hiking season was interesting, I was able to explorer more of Colorado's National Forests and get in some camping, not as much camping as I would have liked, but hopefully next year I'll able to get in more multi-day hikes. This season came in just under 129 miles roundt...

2016

The 2016 hiking season was about spreading out and exploring more of Eagles Nest Wilderness, Indian Peaks Wilderness and touching on White River National Forest - and of course a few trips into Rocky Mountain National Park. These are amazing National treasures. This season came i...

2015

The 2015 hiking season was a big hiking season, I decided to do a fundraiser for The Red Cross (I learned a lot about fundraising - it was very interesting) with my pledge to hike over 200 miles for this season, I came in at 217 miles for the season; what a great time out on the ...

2014

The 2014 hiking season was almost all about exploring Rocky Mountain National Park, it really is a beautiful park. What I learned during the course of this hiking season is, although people may roll their eyes when you say you're going on a hike in RMNP, it really is spectacular ...

2013

2013 is the year this all started. The hike to Pitkin Lake started it all. Although it was a difficult trail, I was hooked immediately. However, I didn't have the right gear and the seasons were changing quickly. So, even though this season only brought two hikes, I new this was ...