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Difficulty Creek

TRAILHEAD:

Follow the Dexter Creek Trail to its end. The Difficulty Creek Trail branches off to the right.

ATTRACTIONS AND FEATURES:

The 4.1 mile Difficulty Creek Trail offers the intrepid a 14.5 mile wilderness loop beyond the Dexter Trail end through forest and wildflower meadows, along streams, past towers and monoliths, over high passes--culminating in the Bridge of Heaven and the Horsethief Trail. (NOTE: Water may not be available from the north fork of Dexter Creek to Difficulty Creek.) From the Dexter/Difficulty junction at 11,470 feet, follow ridges south to the overlook at 0.2 mile, then follow blazes and saw cuts to a ridge and hill (0.8 mile) with a monolith to the right. Ahead on the left is a huge tower with a sheer drop to the southeast. The trail approaches a talus slope with a high ridge and a drop to the right, goes east (left) of the high point, and climbs an 11,770 foot saddle 1.2 miles from the junction. Uphill (east) is a rock marker dated 1898. The downhill portion is through woods and pinnacles; the next pass is 11,830 feet (1.9 miles). Look for bighorns here. After another ridge (2.4 miles), the trail continues 2.9 miles to Disappointment Gulch. At a stream crossing at 3.6 miles you can see the Horsethief Trail ahead. Look for a cairn here. There is a waterfall below the trail at 3.9 miles just before a stream crossing. At a cairn and a large log, cross and head to Cascade Pass and the Horsethief Trail junction (4.1 miles).