Slaughter House Trail is rated as a Moderate trail during dry conditions and its difficulty increases during wet weather. A winter with heavy snow or a spring with significant rain fall will provide a trail with some mud bogs that will challenge most vehicles. The Forest Service has placed a seasonal gate at the trail entrance to help with the erosion control of the mud bogs during the wettest time of the year. This gate will remain open as long as we respectfully recreate in this area!
From Colorado Springs head north on I25 to C470 on the south side of Denver. Go West on C470 to US285 and head south for about 24 miles. Take a right on Deer Creek Rd or Park County 43 and travel for about 6 miles. Turn left onto Saddlestring Rd and after about .25 mile turn left on FSR101. Travel on FSR101 for about 2.5 miles and look for the steel Slaughterhouse sign.
The trail starts out as a gentle uphill climb with the first obstacle being a rock that will throw the vehicle off camber to the left if driven around or a small climb if driven over. Please DO NOT take the road that goes straight up the hill! Continue to the left to the rock obstacle. The road continues past old clear cuts and through Lodge Pole Pine forests and Aspen groves. The road will have some small rock challenges as well as some seasonal standing water. After a few miles you will see a hill that has been called Stump Hill. Please stay off of this hill! This used to be a short cut to the Slaughter House loop but because of negligence it has been closed. Even if there are no signs please stay off! The start of the loop begins around the corner.
The Slaughter House trail loop is marked with a sign that points to the right. Crow Gulch and the controversial mud bogs are to the left. The trail continues up the hill and tops out at a small saddle. The challenging section comes as you descend down the hill. With a steep and slightly off camber to it, the hill takes you to the small valley floor through Aspen trees, moderate size rocks and potentially deep mud. Some of the mud bogs have required winching in the past but trail maintenance has reduced some of this. There has been some by passes made around the mud but most of these have created more damage than have helped. The trail's descent ends at an opening that is a great place to stop and eat, rest or reminisce over the just traversed trail.
The second half of the trail takes you up a section that has an area to test your vehicle's articulation or you can choose the smoother section to the right. As you continue, the trail takes you through some undulating and rocky challenges while being surrounded by Ponderosa Pine and Aspen. The major obstacle on this half of the trail is a rock that is about 2.5 to 3 feet tall that if not taken properly could send you sideways down the hill. There is a bypass to the left but it is off camber and leans you into a tree. As you approach the end of the loop the trail descends through more Lodge Pole pine with some significant washouts that will twist up your suspension and put you close to some of the trees.
The loop ends at a tee in the road about a mile from the beginning of the loop. To the right is the controversial mud bogs and to the left is back to the trail head and County Road 43 and Hwy 285. The trail can be run in a few hours but to completely enjoy the trail and it's surroundings plan on trip of more than 4 hours. This is by no means a hard core trail but it is one that can be a lot of fun and can test some new skills without putting your vehicle at risk.
Slaughter House trail is one of many trails that could be closed because of a few individuals not Treading Lightly on the trail! Please encourage others to wheel responsively and report anyone not Staying the Trail!