Three Forks Trail #2150


Three Forks Trail is 5.3 miles long and extends from East Rifle Creek to the top of Coulter Mesa. The trail is accessible from Forest Road 832 (Lower Trailhead) and the Bar HL Road (Upper Trailhead), and can be traveled in either direction. Three Forks Trail winds its way through several gulches and passes through a variety of forest growth, including blue spruce, douglas fir, and aspen. Along the way, visitors are treated to several expansive views of the surrounding topography. The trail also passes by several beaver ponds.

Starting from the Lower Trailhead, the first two thirds of the trail has a gradual elevation gain and stays close to the creek. Over its final two miles, the trail turns up Hoover Gulch and ascends to the top of the Mesa. The top of the trail is also an outstanding location for viewing aspen colors in the fall.  

The trail is open to hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Please yield to horseback riders. A popular use of this trail is to hike or ride from top to bottom and arrange a car shuttle pickup.

View the Recreation Opportunity Guide and Map for Three Forks Trail (.pdf documents)

At a Glance

Fees No fee
Restrictions: Forest Road-832 and the Bar HL Road are closed to wheeled motorized use from November 23 to May 20. 
Closest Towns: Rifle, Colorado
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Rifle Ranger District, (970) 625-2371

General Information


From Rifle, CO go north on Railroad Ave (Highway 13) to County Road 325 and turn right. Follow CR-325 north for approximately 14 miles to the White River National Forest boundary. Along the way you will pass Rifle Gap and Rifle Falls, and you will also drive through Rifle Mountain Park.

To access the Lower Trailhead: From the Forest Boundary, continue north for 1.8 miles on Forest Road 832. Do not take the left turn for Coulter Mesa or the right turn for Littlebox Road; proceed straight until you reach the parking area and trailhead.

To access the Upper Trailhead: From the Forest Boundary, continue north for 1.4 miles on Forest Road 832, and then turn left at the sign for Coulter Lake Guest Ranch. Continue up the winding road (still FR-832) for 5 miles until you reach FR-833.  Turn right onto FR-833 and proceed for 3.5 miles to FR-211.  Turn right onto FR-211 and travel east approximately for 3 miles to trailhead on your right.

General Notes:

The Lower Trailhead on Forest Road 832 is a day use only site; no camping is allowed in the trailhead area. While driving to the Lower Trailhead, please obey all speed limits and other regulations in Rifle Mountain Park (City of Rifle).

Per winter travel management, Forest Road-832 and the Bar HL Road are closed to wheeled motorized use between November 23rd and May 20th. These roads are open to motorized over-the-snow travel during this time, as snow conditions allow. 



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Horse Riding & Camping

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Areas & Activities


  Area/Length : 
5.3 miles

  Elevation : 
7,700' - 9,000' +


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