Saturday, December 26, 2015

French Gulch Snowshoe

Distance: 3-6 miles roundtrip
Elevation: 10,280-10,880 ft
Elevation Gain: 600 ft
Dogs: Off leash
Bathroom at Trailhead: No
Tags: #Breckenridge, #snowshoe, #coloradooutdoors

There always seems to be lots of snow on a French Gulch snowshoe. 
French Gulch, near Breckenridge CO, is a lovely snowshoe whose gradual ascent is suitable for both beginners and more experienced snowshoers looking to get their winter activities started. It seems to be used less than some of the other trails in Summit County and is off limits to snowmobiles.

Map to trailhead. Red arrows show the route. 
Parking area
You get to the trailhead up French Gulch Road, which starts at the 7-eleven just south of Breckenridge. This road is usually plowed but snowpacked in the winter. It travels by a new subdivision and several mining ruins before dead ending into a large plowed parking lot with kiosk. 

Steep hillside to the left
French Gulch on a cloudier day
The trail starts up the road to the left of the kiosk. Shortly thereafter, another road splits sharply off to the right. This road will take you to the Sally Barber Mine, a snowshoe to a mining ruin on a hill. The initial part of the route passes several large homes before breaking out into the open with views of Mt. Guyot dominating the southern sky.

Mt. Guyot (13,376 ft ) is visible for much of a French Gulch snowshoe
Further up the road is a large avalanche chute that should be crossed with caution. Before that, however, there are numerous places to leave the road and frolic in deep snow.

A final view of Mt Guyot

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