Draft plan expected by end of month as Hot Sulphur continues work on Himebaugh Gulch

Hot Sulphur Springs is moving forward with plans for Himebaugh Gulch, the 270-acre parcel south of town. The county has given Hot Sulphur permission to use county-owned land as a parking lot and trailhead for the space.
Courtesy photo

Work is moving forward on Himebaugh Gulch, the 270-acre open space parcel purchased last year by Hot Sulphur Springs.

The Grand County commissioners unanimously agreed Tuesday to allow Hot Sulphur Springs to use county-owned land that sits between the property and Country Road 55 as a parking and trailhead area.

The county granted Hot Sulphur non-exclusive rights to use the property recreationally. The town will not have to pay rent, but will be solely responsible for any improvements.

Also known as the Jones Creek Ranch property and Himebaugh Valley, Hot Sulphur Springs purchased the property for just under $500,000 in May 2021. The parcel sits south of town and provides a corridor for public access to the adjacent Arapaho National Forest.

Hot Sulphur Trustee Dan Nolan explained that the town has decided on Himebaugh Gulch as its official name after he further researched John Himebaugh, the man for which the creek running through the parcel is named. Nolan found a letter from Himebaugh that called the area “Himebaugh Gulch.”

“After we discovered that historic name, we decided that’s what we’d call it,” Nolan said.

The parcel is in a conservation easement held by the Colorado Headwaters Land Trust, which protects the land from development and division in perpetuity. Permitted uses of the land include recreation and agriculture, though motorized recreation is prohibited.

Nolan said the town would be looking at developing the main access point to Himebaugh Gulch on the county-owned parcel they now have permission to use. The area will likely serve as a small parking lot, possibly with an information kiosk and other trail amenities. He said the town would be pursuing grants to fund that work.

He added that the Headwaters Trails Alliance is helping the town plan a trail system on the property. Hot Sulphur is also considering annexing the property into town limits but hasn’t made any official decisions.

“I imagine we probably will, but we haven’t moved forward on that yet,” Nolan said.

Nolan noted that the draft management plan for Himebaugh Gulch is almost done and hoped it would be available for public review by the end of this month.

“It is a really special, remarkable, wonderful addition to the town,” Nolan said. “Just knowing that it’s going to be kept as it is for open space … and for the natural recreation opportunities, everyone’s pretty excited about that.”

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