McCullough Gulch near Breckenridge is the next gulch to the south from a hike I did late last summer to Mohawk Lakes. I had planned to return to Mohawk Lakes earlier in the summer this year when the wildflowers were at their best, but I had the poodles with me on this particular day so I opted for the much-shorter hike to White Falls in McCullough Gulch.

White Falls - McCullough Gulch

White Falls – McCullough Gulch

McCullough Gulch lies in the shadow of 14,271 ft (4,350 m) Quandary Peak’s imposing north face. The hike to White Falls must be one of the toughest 1-mile hikes I’ve been on. It was fairly steep all the way and quite rocky, plus I had two dogs tethered to me who seemed to have been doing their very best to see me fall flat on my face (which I skillfully avoided doing). Nevertheless, the wildflowers were stunning and the beautiful waterfall made every treacherous, lung-busting step well worth the effort.

Bunches of Colorado Columbines

Bunches of Colorado Columbines

Shooting Star

Shooting Star

Orange Agoseris

Orange Agoseris

Jacob's Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder

Little Pink Elephants

Little Pink Elephants

Along the way, we met up with this Yellow-Bellied Marmot, who proceeded to tell us in no uncertain terms that we really needed to just keep moving and leave him alone to tend to his very-important marmot business.

Yellow-Bellied Marmot

Yellow-Bellied Marmot

White Falls can be heard long before it comes into view. McCullough Creek cascades down the mountain from far above like a beautiful, white braided ribbon.

White Falls

White Falls

White Falls

White Falls

White Falls

White Falls

American Bistort and Cinquefoil living precariously along the edge of the falls.

American Bistort and Cinquefoil living precariously along the edge of the falls.

I spent a while sitting next to the falls, taking photos and enjoying the cool spray. When Cooper started looking at me like this, I knew it was time to go:

“Can we go now PLEASE?”

I opted not to continue on up the trail to the lake above the falls, Upper Blue Reservoir. The dark clouds were building and I hadn’t brought a raincoat, plus I didn’t want to deal with two whiney, wet dogs in my car on the way home. 🙂 I’ll have to save the lake for another hike in McCullough Gulch.

Here are a few of the flowers I photographed on my way back:

Colorado Starwort  (this was a new one for me)

Colorado Starwort (this was a new one for me)

Meadow Death Camas

Meadow Death Camas

Spotted Saxifrage on a cliff high above the creek

Spotted Saxifrage on a cliff high above the creek

Monkshood

Monkshood

Brook Saxifrage

Brook Saxifrage

I heartily recommend this beautiful little hike, especially in mid- to late-July when the wildflowers are at their peak. It’s a very popular trail, however (and quite a lot busier than I prefer my hikes to be), so if you go, be sure to get an early start to avoid the crowds and to snag a decent parking spot at the trailhead (and to avoid the inevitable afternoon showers), or go during the beginning of the week if possible.

To view a gallery of these and many more photos from my McCullough Gulch hike, CLICK HERE.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *