Trail Length: 4.09 miles
Low-End Rating: 2
High-End Rating: 3
This is one of the easier trails in the area, but it offers some fabulous views and historical sights. It's on the road from Silverton to Animas Forks, and it's easy to spot.
The town of Eureka no longer exists, but the wide area where it used to be is now a popular camping spot. There is a bridge there that crosses the Animas River where Eureka used to be, and on the side of the hill you can see the remaining foundations of the Sunnyside Mill. These foundations are stacked on top of each other up to the top of the hill. The Eureka Gulch trail starts just past these ruins, and the trail climbs to the top of them before it turns to continue up the gulch.
Keep in mind that a tramway ran from the Sunnyside Mine near the end of the trail to the Sunnyside Mill at the trailhead. It was an ambitious operation. The trail is mellow and easy the entire way, though sometimes passing may be challenging.
Watch the hillsides to the left of the trail across the gulch. The Ben Franklin Mine is high above the gulch and is very well-preserved. Unfortunately, the entire area is private and there is no access.
Continue up to find the remains of the Sunnyside Mine. There are many foundations and old buildings, with a network of roads snaking around them. Hanson Peak is behind the mine, and Bonita Peak is to the left of the trail across the gulch. Hurricane Peak is directly ahead as you work your way to the end of the trail.
If you have a GPS with you, you may notice that the trail goes through Lake Emma but no water is to be found. Much of the most productive mining was done just under this lake, but in the winter of 1977 the water from the lake began to leak into the mine that was still being worked. Then, on a Sunday in June, the entire lake flooded into the mine. Lake Emma was gone and the mine was destroyed. Luckily, no one was inside at the time. They spent two years restoring the mine, but it never returned to the same level of profitability it once had.
Continue past and through Lake Emma to where the trail ends at the remains of the Washington Mine. The views here are amazing. If you take the overlook on the Hurricane Pass trail you will be looking down on this area from the Sunnyside Saddle. This saddle is directly behind you now, between Hanson Peak and Bonita Peak.
Return the way you came in.