Near Shawnee in the Pike National Forest, the Slaughterhouse Gulch Trail is a 4.4 mile route. The Slaughterhouse road crosses over a low divide out of the Deer Creek drainage and drops into Slaughterhouse Gulch, named for a slaughterhouse which once stood at its foot across the river from the town of Shawnee. The original wagon road from Denver to Leadville crossed over this same divide into the North Fork valley until it was rerouted through Bailey.
From the junction of FDR 101 and 105, you make a short climb to the divide then descend steeply into Slaughterhouse Gulch and through some rocky obstacles. Below this the angle eases up, although there are some sections which are very uneven side to side. In an open meadow, the road forks, the right fork continuing down valley only about a mile before ending at private property. There is no through access to US 285. The left makes a dificult climb out of the valley, then the angle eases but continues climbing to again cross the divide into the Deer Creek drainage, generally following the route of the old wagon road. The descent is rocky and tight to rejoin FDR 101. At 101, a right turn will take you eventually to a dead end. A left turn takes you back to the point of beginning and back out to Park County 43.
To reach the trailhead from Denver, travel southwest on US 285, to a traffic light at Park County 43. Turn right (west) at the light and drive a little over 6 miles to a left turn onto Saddlestring road. Less than 1/2 mile up Saddlestring, turn right onto FDR 101 and drive approximately 2 1/2 miles to FDR 105.
Note: Colorado residents must register their off-highway vehicle with the Colorado State Parks (303) 866-3437. Out-of-state residents who bring OHVs into Colorado must purchase a Colorado Non-Resident OHV permit which is valid from the date of purchase through the following March 31. These permits can be purchased anywhere you get your hunting/fishing licenses in Colorado. All off-highway vehicles must have an approved muffler and spark arrester. These requirements are subject to change so make sure to contact the Colorado State Parks prior to using your off-highway vehicle.
Note: As of September 2007, ATV riding on Forest Service roads is limited to designated roads that are signed as open or marked on the forest recreation map. To be safe (and legal), contact the Forest Service HQ to obtain a map at (719) 553-1400.