Middle Fork Trail, T#3023

Length: 6.3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate hiking
Season of use: Mid-June through October
Amount of Use: Light hiking and horse use
Elevation Gain:
    Beginning: 9,600 ft.
    Ending: 11,800.

Location Map

Topo Map

How to Get There: This trail will be accessed from the Powderhorn Lakes Trailhead or the East Fork Trailhead. From Gunnison, go 9 miles west on Hwy. 50, take Hwy. 149 south 17 miles. Turn left at Powderhorn on County Rd.27 and go 1 mile south to the old Powderhorn Store. Turn west for .25 mile to the Powderhorn Cabins and turn left on the Ten Mile Springs Road. Continue on this road for 10 miles to the trailhead. Four-wheel drive or high clearance may be necessary toward the end of the road.

Trailhead Parking/Camping: Parking and low impact camping are permitted at both the Powderhorn Lakes Trailhead and the East Fork Trailhead. Low impact camping is also permitted along all three trails. Popular camping sites along the Middle Fork Trail are at Hidden Lake and the Powderhorn Swamp.

Attractions: Hidden Lake, seldom visited, quiet and secluded is located along this trail and offers fair to good fishing (please practice catch & release fishing here since the fish population is small). The trail is used to connect the Powderhorn Lakes Trail with the east side of the Wilderness.

Narrative: From the Powderhorn Lakes Trailhead, hike in about 3.5 miles to the trail fork and take the left fork. The trail proceeds through a grassy area and is difficult to see but it follows the West Fork of Powderhorn Creek downstream for about .25 mile to the creek crossing. A directional sign to Hidden Lake is found at this point and the trail forks to the right, across the West Fork and up a steep rocky slope to high tundra. The trail proceeds across the tundra and passes a small lake (.25 mile) and Hidden Lake (.5 mile). A short walk from Hidden Lake brings the hiker to the Middle Fork of Powderhorn Creek. Turn left on the trail for an easy, 2.5 mile hike along the Middle Fork to Powderhorn Swamp. From the Swamp, the trail leads east to the East Fork Trail which, in turn, takes the hiker 2 miles north to the Ten Mile Springs Trailhead or 2 miles south to Robbers Roost and the Powderhorn Park Trail.

Hazards/Considerations: Be sure to take a map of the area and a compass to aid you in staying on the right path. It is important to be prepared for typical July and August afternoon thunder showers. It is best to get an early start and to avoid ridges and open areas during thunderstorms. Be sure to take sunscreen, rain gear, and drinking water. Remember, hiking at high altitudes 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: The Middle Fork Trail can be used in conjunction with the East Fork Trail, the Powderhorn Park Trail, and the Powderhorn Lakes Trail for a beautiful 3 or 4 day trip.

Middle Fork Trail Location Map


Created by the Bureau of Land Management, Colorado
Point of Contact:
Jim Lovelace

Last modified: January 6, 2011