Ben Tyler Trail
|Type:||Day Hike - Car Shuttle|
|Distance (Total):||11.4 miles / 18.3 km|
|Elevation Gain:||3,390 feet / 1,033 meters|
|Minimum Elevation:||8,260 feet / 2,518 meters|
|Maximum Elevation:||11,650 feet / 3,551 meters|
|Hiking Season:||- Spring - Summer - Fall|
|Things To See:||- Creeks - Mountain Views - Wildflowers - Woods|
|Rating:||Trail has not been rated.|
|Nearby Town:||Bailey, Colorado, United States|
This popular trail is named for Ben Tyler, who lived with his family in the gulch that bears his name. He operated a lumber mill during gold rush days, hauling the sawed timber over the ridge and into Fairplay. In 1903 a 3,000 acre fire burned up and out the end of Ben Tyler Gulch and is responsible for the huge aspen grove dominating the valley.
Major attractions include the numerous and colorful wildflowers in late spring and early summer. The trail also offers spectacular views to the north and south from its high point, and the changing colors in September, particularly in the large aspen groves in Ben Tyler Gulch, are outstanding. Because the trail is almost entirely in designated wilderness except for about a mile at each end, Wilderness regulations apply.
Beginning at the North Ben Tyler Trailhead, the trail climbs steeply in a series of switchbacks. Please do not cut across these switchbacks. After the last switchback, the trail becomes less steep up to a crossing of Ben Tyler Creek. At this point the trail gradient increases and the valley tightens. There are few areas along this section of trail suitable for camping. The final section up to the Craig Park Trail junction is a series of long switchbacks that, when traversing east, offer spectacular views down Ben Tyler Gulch. The Craig Park Trail junction is marked by a sign indicating the Craig Park Trail to the left (east), and the Ben Tyler Trail to the right (west). The trail continues to climb, crossing Ben Tyler Creek again, to a high saddle above treeline, which offers some spectacular views. From here the trail descends to the south into the Rock Creek drainage. As you near the trailhead, you pass the remains of an old lumber camp. At the small South Ben Tyler Trailhead, you can continue hiking down the road and, where the road leaves the creek, continue following the trail down along the creek to join the Colorado Trail a short distance downstream.