Irvin Homestead via Lion Gulch Trail | Roosevelt National Forest
Estes Park, CO | 08/05/19 | 10.64 miles | 1,970′ gain
Homestead Meadows is one of those places that you can return to again and again, and find something new each time. A network of trails leads to various homesteads, both near and far. This was my third visit, though on both prior visits, I only went to the closest homesteads. But if you go a few miles farther, you can access a number of other homesteads that are much less visited. There was no way we could see them all in one visit, so Nicholas picked one that looked good (the Irvin) and we made that our final destination.
The Lion Gulch Trail takes you all the way to the main meadow, and signage from there indicates which direction each homestead is located.
Wildflowers and fungi dotted the forest floor, making our walk all the more bright.
We followed the creek for a few miles before we finally climbed out of the forested gulch and into the open meadow.
The meadow was a welcome sight as that means we’re getting close to seeing some homesteads!
We followed the signs to the Irvin Homestead, but we’d also pass the Walker & Griffith Homesteads. Interpretive signs at each homestead site told us of the family’s history.
The first homestead on our tour belonged to Sarah Walker. She had outlived her husband and two children and moved to Colorado from England to start fresh all by herself! There isn’t much left to see here, but a few artifacts can be found if you look around.
The Griffith Homestead is just past the Walker, and consists of a few foundations and a number of artifacts that people have placed around the structures.
After leaving the Griffith Homestead, our single track hiking trail turned into a two track wagon road/Forest Service road. We followed that all the way to the Irvin Homestead, watching for signs at a few intersections.
We walked along for what felt like a long time but eventually we crested a small hill and saw the Irvin Homestead in the distance!
The Irvin Homestead was definitely the most well preserved of the three. The buildings were used much later than the others so they were updated and maintained for much longer. Not only is there a main house, but numerous other farm buildings can be explored if you follow a short loop trail around the area.
We explored every building we could find and found a ton of neat artifacts.
We definitely thought it was worth the long walk to visit the Irvin Homestead, and we can’t wait to come back to explore the others!