Length: 3.25 miles to the Continental Divide
Difficulty: Easy to moderate hike
Season of use: June through October
Amount of Use: Light horse use; light hiking
Beginning: 10,880 ft.
Ending: 12,900 ft.
How to Get There: From Lake City take Hwy 149 south, 2.5 miles. Turn right on the road to Lake San Cristobal. Follow paved road approximately 4 miles, then continue on dirt road for about 8.3 miles. Turn left at the fork and travel 1.4 miles to the Cataract Gulch trailhead. Park your 2WD vehicle and walk or drive a 4WD vehicle about 3.2 miles further along the road to the Cuba Gulch trailhead.
Trailhead Parking/Camping: Parking and camping is available at both the Cataract Gulch and Cuba Gulch trailhead. A restroom is available at the Cataract Gulch Trailhead.
Attractions: The Cuba Gulch Trail is one of the easiest hikes in the area. With a gentle grade, and only a few steep spots, the trail offers some beautiful scenery. Spectacular views of narrow canyons and waterfalls can be seen along the trail. A small herd of Bighorn sheep can be seen occasionally along the cliffs to the north. While the trail disappears just past the thicket in the marshy area, hikers with energy to spare may wish to continue up the tundra to reach the Continental Divide.
Narrative: Aspen and spruce stands are passed with frequent views of the surrounding cliffs during the first section of the trail. About 1/8 mile up the trail, a bridge has been constructed across a narrow gorge. If you lean to the right, just before crossing the bridge, you can get a spectacular view of a beautiful waterfall. Approximately 2 miles into the trail, you run into the thicket where the trail disappears. Head towards the creek to the right. The trail re-appears by the creek. The trail disappears again 1/8 to 1/4 of a mile up the creek. At this point you may wish to cross the creek and choose your own path up the tundra to the Continental Divide.
Hazards/Considerations: It is important to be prepared for typical July and August afternoon thundershowers. During storms stay off ridges and away from open ground to avoid lightning strikes. Be sure to bring sunscreen, rain gear and drinking water. Remember, hiking at high altitude requires more time and energy. Take your time, enjoy the scenery and avoid over-exertion. Be sure someone knows where you are going and when you plan to return.
Additional Information: Cuba Gulch Trail may be used in conjunction with the Cataract Gulch Trail and Cottonwood Creek Trail for overnight hiking trips.
Created by the Bureau of Land Management, Colorado
Point of Contact: Jim Lovelace
Last modified: January 6, 2011