corbly-gulch-hike-3I decided to go on a solo hike during the work day to get some time away from the computer and other screens. There are 100s of miles of hiking around here, which is great. But some of the hikes may have 30 minutes or an hour of rough driving on “unimproved” gravel forest roads.

So I’ve been focusing on the west side of the Bridger range which is very close since we live on the west side of the range. I picked this hike, Corbly Gulch, because it was about the right distance for me that day at 5 miles. It also looked like I’d be able to see the tallest peaks from just at the foot of the mountains.

I was wrong about both the distance and the views!

It still turned out fine of course…

It was a little tough understanding exactly where to park since I was following a guide book that’s about 9 years old. I parked about a mile away from the NEW parking area that is apparently less than 9 years old. I was happy about that anyway since the road was a deeply rutted single lane. You can see in the image below.

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You can see down to the Gallatin Valley and the mountains on the other side (I think the Tobacco Roots or Gallatin Range). And there is the rutted lane. There’s actually some room here to pull off if another car approaches, but most of the lane is truly one lane.

I saw some berries on the side of the road – not sure what they are. They might be huckleberries. I’m not sure…corbly-gulch-hike-4I walked about an extra mile each way on the single track lane. About halfway up I saw that people were using the road – only trucks and they all had dirt bikes, i.e. motorcycles, in the back. I believe the primary users of the trail are mountain bikers or motorcyclists. That was actually a great thing because the trail was a bit wider and a bit flatter the whole time. Other trails that are made for hikers only are more narrower and can have an grade on all the switchbacks.
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I believe these are raspberries. There were lots of these throughout the hike.

The trail weaves through the sort of hillside prairie with wildflowers, dense forest, and rocky outcrops. Some places seemed really dry while others were lush and green, mostly by the creek.corbly-gulch-hike-7 corbly-gulch-hike-8 corbly-gulch-hike-9

The trail joins up with a large trail system, Bridger Foothills National Recreation Trail, and that goes all the way to the tallest peak in the range. That one is called Sacagawea Peak and we hiked there last year. I wasn’t planning on going that far since it’d be 12 miles or so.

I planned on going about 5 miles based in the hiking book recommendation for the turnaround point. The turnaround point was right in the middle of the forest with dense trees and brush. There was no view. So I decided to keep going until it opened up a bit.

Eventually, I reached this…

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I found a bigger opening and a nice rock to sit on to have a snack. The trail was amazingly quiet most of the time. I passed 1 other hiker, 1 mountain biker, and 4 dirt bikers.

You could hear the motor bikes very loudly, but I don’t think the noise carried very far. I think I could only hear them while they were in direct line-of-sight… Here is what it was like when they went by:

 

The other part that I mentioned before was the view. So I guess I was too close to the peaks to actually see them. I should have suspected that since you really can’t see the peak that you’re hiking to until you’re at the very top. And I didn’t think about the fact that I was only about 2+ miles from the biggest peak. I thought I might be able to see some of the adjacent peaks, but I was in a gulch! Duh! So I couldn’t really see beyond the gulch that I was in.

Overall, it was a great hike and I ended up going about 8 miles instead of 5. I’ll probably seek out some of the other gulch hikes that are further to the south by a few miles and I should be able to see the peaks better.

Mountain Biking on the Corbly Gulch Trail

Here is a random video of some mountain biker on the same trail…

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