Finding the Echo Canyon trail can be a bit difficult. Fortunately, Roach's directions are accurate. The turnoff is exactly 12.5 miles from the CO 82/US 24 interchange. The dirt road is marked by a real estate sign. 2wd parking is 100 feet up the road on the left, while 4wd vehicles can make a right and continue for a 1/2 mile.
2wd parking area
Looking up the 4wd road from the parking area
The 4wd road terminates at a concrete foundation. Right before this foundation is a trail sign that points to a flooded creek crossing.
don't cross here
Eschewing wet feet, I decided to follow the creek up 100 feet and found this much more amicable crossing over aspen logs.
cross here instead
Shortly after crossing, I intersected the Echo Canyon trail. This trail steeply ascends for a bit and eventually starts to switchback up a slope to the east. At about 1.5 miles from the crossing, the trail reaches an intersection marked by a cairn.
stay straight for casco, turn right for Bull Hill
Though a well-trodden trail switchbacks up to the right towards Bull Hill, the Echo Canyon trail continues straight through some bushes. 100 yards after the bushes, the trail widens and continues up the beautiful valley.
headed up the valley
Casco peeks out
Eventually, the trail crosses a talus field, though cairns do mark the way. Once past this talus field, the trail continues to gain elevation. Right around 12, 200', I left the trail and proceeded up steep grass slopes, gaining the ridge around 12,800'.
view from the ridge
The ridge run is 1000 feet of class 2, with a climber's trail leading around most obstacles. The summit was all boulders.
Great views of French, Frasco, Lackawanna and northeast towards Elbert.
towards Bull Hill and Elbert
Clouds were starting to build around 9:45am and percluded my intended 2 mile ridge run to Bull Hill. I returned via the descent route and made it back to my car at 11:50.
looking down the Echo Canyon valley
For solitude and scenery, I highly recommend Echo Canyon.