Gill Trail #610

Gill Trail #610 provides foot access to Cheesman Canyon.  The area is frequented by anglers.  This five-mile trail follows the South Platte River through Cheesman Canyon and ends at the upper canyon trailhead at Cheesman Reservoir. The trail is difficult and steep in many sections.  Help protect the canyon by staying on designated trails.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Although open year-round, access during the winter may be limited due to snow.
Permit Info: You will need a fishing license. Please contact Colorado Parks & Wildlife for more information.
Open Season: Open year-round
Best Season: Summer
Busiest Season: Summer
Restrictions: The following restrictions apply to this trail:
  • Dogs must be leashed at all times.
  • Pack it in; pack it out.
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles.
  • Stay on designated trail. Do not cut switchbacks.
Closest Towns: Deckers
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Appears on the following maps:
  • Pike National Forest
  • USGS Quad Devil's Head
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated #135 (Deckers / Rampart Range)
  • Cheesman Lake
Contact the South Platte Ranger District at 303.275.5610 for more information.

General Information


From Pine Junction (Highway 285), turn right (south) onto Jefferson County Route 126 leading to Pine and Buffalo Creek. Continue south for approximately 22 miles (from Pine Junction) to reach the trailhead. The trailhead is on the south side of the road. If you are driving west from Deckers, the trailhead is approximately 2.5 miles from the bridge at Deckers.

General Notes:

This 3.5 mile trail follows along the west shoreline of the South Fork of the South Platte River from just above Wigwam Club (private), upstream to the gaging station just below the Cheesman Lake Dam. As such, the trail serves as the primary access for those wishing to fish this 3 mile stretch of the river. This stretch of the river is considered good for brown and rainbow trout, and special “Catch and Release” rules are in effect. If you choose to hike to the gaging station, allow 2 to 2 ¼ hours one way. The first half of the trail is easier walking and the trail is fairly well defined. The second half up to the gaging station is moderately difficult to negotiate. Watch out for the scattered patches of poison ivy along the trail.

From the trailhead on Jefferson County Route 126, the trail drops down over Wigwam Creek then up a hill in a general southeasterly direction. Shortly into the hike, there will be a sign stating all of the applicable fishing rules – please read and observe. After you have walked approximately 10 minutes, the river comes into view in the canyon. From this point onward, the river will always be in view on your left. The trail stays well above the waterline, so be careful not to follow the many side footpaths down to the water. When in doubt, always stay on the highest visible trail or path. The trailhead elevation is 6,548' and the gaging station elevation is 6,610' – only a slight elevation gain. But don’t let this fool you, there are numerous places where huge rocks jut out into the river and to get past these obstructions, the trail is routed up over the outcrops. The trail has many “ups and downs,” some are quite steep. The first 1 ½ mile is easier walking on a well-defined trails. Then as you pass mile 2, the trail narrows and becomes difficult in places. You will need to always be on the watch for the trail – “hike with your eyes.” Again, when in doubt, always take the highest route. The last ¾ mile to the gaging station is quite difficult hiking. The canyon narrows, the slope increases, and the trail is all loose gravel. Be very careful here! At times, you may need both hands to move. You can reverse this hike by driving on NFSR 211 (turn off Jefferson County Route 126 just west of the trailhead) to the parking lot on the north edge of Cheesman Lake. You have to hike up then down for approximately 2 miles to reach the gaging station.


River and Stream Fishing

Day Hiking

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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