Poplar Gulch lies just outside historic Saint Elmo, a ghost town with many original buildings. The trail begins at the base of Tincup Pass and winds up through pine and aspen forests before switchbacking up the mountain. It climbs along a mountain creek to a very pretty meadow with beautiful views of the mountains and the headwaters of Chalk Creek.
There is no longer any parking available at the bottom of Tincup Pass – my trail book was wrong – so you’ll either need to have a 4WD vehicle to get up to the new trailhead or, as I did, ask the gentleman at the store filling hummingbird feeders where the best place to park is. 😉 I could have easily made it up the road but I parked on the far end of Main Street instead.
The trail is used by dirt bikes so it’s a bit slippery in places with loose sand and gravel. I had a tough time breathing today due to allergies (I think) and took it slow to the meadow (11,251′). I hiked about 4.5 miles round trip but the trail is actually 5 miles in length and traverses a large ridge. I just didn’t have it in me today to do more. 🙁
Anyone know what this bird is? She did have a few little fluffy chicks with her and she moved really slow after she spotted me. Maybe a ptarmigan?