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Goulding Creek Trail


A beautiful fall hike with stunning views from the top of the ridge.

Hiking Difficult

9.6 km
670 m
670 m
3-4 hrs
Low Point
2.4 km
High Point
3.1 km
Goulding Creek Trail Map

While Goulding Creek is a great hike all year long, it is "especially nice in September and early October when the aspen groves are shimmering gold," according to DurangoTrails.org.


Goulding Creek climbs steeply from Highway 550, gaining about 2,200 feet of elevation in three miles, most of which comes in the first 1.5 miles or so. The trail switchbacks back and forth as it climbs the steep mountainside, but thankfully, the beautiful aspen groves and occasional views through the trees will help keep your mind off the aerobic difficulty.

After you've gained the top of the ridge, "the trail leads above the Hermosa cliffs and poises you for a great view across the Animas Valley," according to Jenna Mulligan on TheOutbound.com. You'll also break out into beautiful meadows and, eventually, gain views into the Hermosa Creek Valley.

A logical turnaround point for the hike is an old log cabin and a corral, "both of which are moderately intact despite decades and decades of weather," according to Mulligan. If you choose to continue on, you'll connect to the greater Hermosa Creek trail network. In theory, you could create a multi-week backpacking expedition in this region, but the route mapped here provides a more bite-sized itinerary.

Sources: DurangoTrails.org TheOutbound.com



Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between July and October


  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area