*Editor’s note: Long before ambitious engineers built I-70 as a major east-west corridor across the Rockies, explorers, hunters and sheepherders cross the Gore Range via Red-Buffalo Pass. Explore the Gore Creek Trail with local guidebook author Kim Fenske.
By Kim Fenske
The Gore Creek Trail ascends east to Red-Buffalo Pass, where it joins the Gore Range Trail west of Silverthorne. The lower mile or two of Gore Creek is a popular destination of dog-walkers and waterfall-lovers who can take leisurely walks alongside the tumbling cataracts as Gore Creek drops steeply into the valley. For more ambitious hikers and backpackers, Gore Creek offers dense fir and spruce forest, open wetland meadows, and views of scenic mountain peaks. A full trail description is included in Greatest Hikes in Central Colorado, available online as an E-book.
The first two miles of trail rise steeply from the trailhead, at 8,700 feet, to a bridge that crosses the stream to the south side, at 9,500 feet. The next two miles of trail pass through wildflowers in wetland meadows broken by stands of fir and spruce.
At four miles, the trail divides with a branch ascending sharply to Gore Lake, on the north side of the valley. The graves of early Swedish settlers Andrew and Daniel Recen mark the junction. Since any log crossing has been washed-out by the heavy snowmelt, there is a traverse through knee-deep water at this point.
At six and a half miles, the trail continues east across Black Gore Creek, a tributary. Again, there is no bridge, but a scattering of rocks and logs provide a crossing a few feet upstream. The trail continues on switchbacks east with views of the boulder fields from which Black Gore Creek arises. The saddle of Red-Buffalo Pass, 11,740 feet, overlooks Red Peak and Buffalo Mountain. The trail continues down to meet the Gore Range Trail, providing access to the South Willow Creek watershed east to Silverthorne.
Kim Fenske is a former wilderness ranger, firefighter who has hiked thousands of miles in the Colorado mountains. He has served on the board of directors of Friends of the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area.
Fenske has authored several hiking books filled with hundreds of photographs of Colorado wildlife, wildflowers, and scenery. His books are enjoyed by thousands of outdoor enthusiasts. His current electronic book titles are published on Amazon for Kindle, as well as Barnes and Noble for Nook. Search for these titles: “Greatest Hikes in Central Colorado,” “Holy Cross Wilderness Area,” and “Eagles Nest Wilderness Area.”
Filed under: Uncategorized