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Trailridge Runners 4WD Club review of Lefthand after 2013 flood

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Trailridge Runners 4WD Club - Article - Lefthand Canyon 2013 Flood Review
Lefthand Canyon - 2013 Flood Damage Review
by Adam Mehlberg
The Lefthand Canyon OHV 4WD road and trail network was seriously impacted by the September 2013 flood. The main entrance was destroyed as well as all roads in the lower parts of drainage's as well as sections of roads that had drainage's cross them. The Boulder Ranger District has reviewed the area on the ground several times to collect information on the impact. On July 5, 2014 the Trailridge Runners 4WD Club and the Boulder County Trail Riders members were escorted by the Boulder Ranger District on one of the reviews.

Main Lefthand Canyon OHV entrance
The main entrance to the Lefthand Canyon OHV area was destroyed by the flood waters. The metal kiosk and gate are still in place. The section of 4WD road between County Rd 94 and the first hairpin turn has been scoured out and only small sections remain. This entrance would require a major amount of work to repair.


Lefthand Main, FR286 entrance kiosk and gate


Lefthand Main, FR286 entrance


Lefthand Main, FR286 entrance


Lefthand Main, FR286 hairpin turn

Lefthand Shooting spot
The shooting area has been scoured out about 40 to 50 feet wide.


Shooting area FR286



Shooting area FR286

Above the entrance the Lefthand Main 4WD road has little impact up to 5 Points. There is rutting on the switchbacks near the meadow restoration area and some sections of 4WD road that have had small debris flows cross them.


Lefthand Main, FR286 meadow switchback

From 5 Points to Upper 5 Points there are a few debris flows around the old mine tailings above Squeeze Rock. The ledge road past the mine tailings has a small section that needs some repair. At a bend in the road before the final climb to Upper 5 Points a drainage cut the road at the curve and will need equipment to repair.


Lefthand Main, FR286 curve

Mother Hill, FR286C
It is unknown the extent of damage to Mother Hill. Most likely the upper section that is at the top of the ridge did not get impacted.

Fireman Hill, FR286D
The upper section of Fireman Hill had little to no damage. The water bars that were put in place are working.


Fireman Hill FR286D, top

The switchbacks have seen some rutting at the lower sections and will need maintenance.


Fireman Hill FR286D, switchbacks

Upper Carnage, FR286E
At the start of the road there was moderate impact from the flood with some scouring of the road. What remains of the road in the lower section is mainly missing the fine material fill.


Upper Carnage FR286E, start

After twenty yards or so the canyon narrows and the flood damage becomes more pronounced. In some sections the water flowed down the drainage, in others it flowed down the road. There were places that the road has been scoured out down to large boulders.


Upper Carnage FR286E



Upper Carnage FR286E



Upper Carnage FR286E

Sections of the road had been removed to four or five feet deep. From the end of the gulch the switchbacks up to FR286 have very little damage.

Old Fairview, FR288A and East Golden Age Cutoff, FR288B
At Upper Five Points the decomposing granite that makes up the road to the west where FR288A and FR288B connect has been severely eroded.


Upper 5 Points



Upper 5 Points

Castle Gulch, FR287
Castle Gulch was also heavily damaged by the flood. Most of the lower road sections near the creek have been destroyed.


Castle Gulch FR287, lower section



Castle Gulch FR287, soils flow across road


Castle Gulch FR287, near Golden Age Mine road


Castle Gulch FR287, at top below chute

Spruce Gulch Trail, FT836
The Spruce Gulch Trail has been impacted and rutted from its starting point near the upper kiosk.


Spruce Gulch Trail FT836, top

Cavanaugh's Trail, FT838
Cavanaugh's Trail lower section is damaged where it connects with Upper Carnage, FR286E.


Cavanaugh's Trail FT836, lower section



Cavanaugh's Trail FT836, lower section

Saddle Trail Loop, FT840
The Saddle Trail Loop was damaged. It has been repaired by the State Trails Trail Crew.


Saddle Trail Loop FT840, damage from flood



Saddle Trail Loop FT840, Trail Crew repair



Saddle Trail Loop FT840, Trail Crew repair

Saddle Trail West, FT841
Saddle Trail West to its connection with Saddle Trail Loop, FT840 and Saddle Trail East, FT842 was not impacted by the flood.

Saddle Trail East, FT842
Saddle Trail East is in good condition at the top. The lower sections of Saddle Trail East have some rutting up to a foot deep and will need to be repaired and better water bars installed.


Saddle Trail Loop FT842, Trail Crew repair