Rainbow Road

Idaho Springs, Colorado (ClearCreek County)

Last Updated: 11/10/2020
4.1 / 5 ( 19 reviews )
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Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 3.17 miles
Highest Elevation: 10747 feet
Duration: About 30 minutes
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Idaho Springs
Nearest Town w/ Services: Idaho Springs
Official Road Name: 275
Management Agency: Clear Creek County
District:
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Rainbow Road
Fishing, hiking, and camping. Rainbow Road takes you to the popular Fall River Reservoir and connects you to the Chinns Lake Trail. Along the route you will come to a Continental Divide National Scenic Trail access point which provides long distance hiking access north to James Peak Wilderness and southeast to Bill Moore Lake and Breckinridge Peak. This road also connects you to the more interesting and remote Chinns Lake Trail.

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Weather

7 day forecast for Rainbow Road

Route Information

Technical Rating

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Community Consensus

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Waypoints

1. Rainbow Road Trailhead ( mi)
Turn onto the dirt road here.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 39.804283, -105.641830

Starting Point: Idaho Springs, Colorado

Exit off of I-70 on exit #238 to Fall River Road. Travel up Fall River Road approximately 6 miles until you get to the second switchback at a large gated home. Turn left onto Rainbow Road.

Camping

Dispersed

Trail Reviews (33)

Author:
Status: Open
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Beautiful day. I was the only person at Falls Res. Caught several fish. The road in was empty on a Friday Afternoon. Aspens are all very pretty, lots of fall colors. Last two kilometers have gotten rocky and needed 4WD low.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
3rd try is a charm, last big snow barrier was gone and we finally made it to the reservoir this time and had a great hike all the way around. Mostly dry with a few puddles. Waterfalls are awesome.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Trail is open full of campers Chin’s lake is open to
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Roads a little bumpier than last year, two good sized puddles at the moment but no issue for most stock off-road vehicles (not sure how the Toyota sedan got through, I’d bet his floor is a bit wet). The last two drifts are still impassible, easily 6ft tall and 10+ feet long, few more warm days maybe 7-10 and you should be able to drive to damn. Lakes less than 59% ice and cutthroat are hungry
Author:
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
Only made it a little less than half way due to snow on the ground. Snow is up to about a foot in most areas.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Stage 3 fire restrictions have been lifted as of 6am, 11/10/20. The forest is no longer fully closed. Areas within fire perimeters remain closed. See closure maps here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/arp/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD844558 Expect winter conditions on trails. Some trails may be impassable due to snow, including this one.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Temporary Closure
Offroaded on:
Due to extreme fire danger, the National Forest Service has temporarily closed all National Forest land in Clear Creek, Jefferson, Gilpin, Boulder, and Larimer counties. https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/arp/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD831612
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Fun little trail , we did chinns lake also in one day, The lakes were low
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Fun, short trail with some smaller rocks that shouldn't stop anything with decent clearance from making it up. I saw a Ford Escape that had stopped about a half mile from the end due to a rocky section.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Bumps and rocks but quite passable, scenery at the lake is outstanding.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Easy drive in. Has not changed. Was packed at the parking area with trailers. Plenty of folks camping along the road too. To avoid crowds, go during the week. :)
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
One of my favorites to take the kids. A short easy drive with just enough puddles to haul thru and enough bumps to keep the kids excited. Once up to Fall River reservoir I recommend parking to the left. The trail around the lake is much more accessible that way and some great fishing spots.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Made it to the top today. Looks like several vehicles drove through the last two snow drifts and cleared the way.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail is open and was able to make it to the top no problem.
Author:
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Probably another 7-10 days before the last 1/4 mile is passable. Solid 2-2. Lots of great dispersed camping along the creek.
Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
the trail was fun and not very difficult. However due to snow i was not able to make it to the end. I think you could go through the snow if you had a modded vehicle or a winch.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Calvary 4-Wheelers went up to play in the snow on Rainboe Road on Saturday, Februaty 15. Along for the trip were me in my wife's stock TJ, Karen in her stock JK (not a Rubicon), and Richard in his stock Ford Ranger. The snow was very deep (3+ ft,) but the local property owners have plowed the road for about the first mile. Even where it was plowed, the wind (and possibly the last strom) had left a few inches of powder, drifting in places up to a foot. We had to use 4wd but did not have to chain up. Once we reached the end of where it had been plowed, we debated about chaining up and attempting to go on. There were some tracks continueing but it looked like mostly quads or side-by-sides (possibly on Matrax), snowmobiles, XC skiers and snow shoes. We decided it would not be worth chain up for the few hundred feet we might be able to make it, turned around and headed for York Gulch and Bald Mountain Lane. Big rigs equipped for heavy-duty snow wheeling could probably make it further.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Heads up - significant amount of snow for Oct and will surely get worse with tonights storm. Years past I've seen less snow at Thanksgiving. Saw a few hunters, started cutting my own tracks & made it to the last river crossing/small bridge before I gave up. Likely could have made it over with a little more effort, 250 yards later you hit the drift that always lingers in June, its probably 6-8 feet deep already. Chinns is done for the season, I'd be very cautious on other trails nearby (Loch Lomond, Hamlin Gulch, West side of Yankee Hill). Travel in groups, recovery gear, etc.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Ran Rainbow Rd and Mackinaw Lane up to Chinns Lake today. Had never been on Mackinaw lane before, followed Google Maps to get me there and wow, that trail/road needs to be added to this site. Shocked that Google Maps would send me there, the majority of the road is barely wide enough for my cherokee, lots of tight angles and big boulders to maneuver. I highly suggest taking that little offshoot if you are up for it. Anyway, Rainbow road was nice and easy as always. Chinns Lake was beautiful, weather was perfect for taking the dog on a hike around the lake. Ran all this in my 2001 Cherokee with a 2" budget boost, open diffs, and 31s. Saw plenty of full size trucks up camping at Chinns lake and one camper. Awesome day trip or camping location.
Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Did Rainbow Road in a stock 5th gen 4Runner, there was a small amount of snow at the top but made it through no problem with the stock Dueler tires. The gate is still locked, but you can go left and park past the abandoned camper then hike ~1/4 mile to the reservoir. The trail was fun with some great camping spots along the way.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Went up and did rainbow road and made it all the way. Had some snow at the end but made it through. The gate is still locked by the reservoir. Was in a JKU on 37s Locked.
Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Made it a little less than half a mile from the Reservoir before I lost traction in the snow drifts - I think a couple people made it up all the way but I wasn't going to risk it in my stock-height Xterra. Couple more weeks of sunshine and it should be fully passable all the way up to Fall River Reservoir.
Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Made it to about 1/4 mile from the reservoir today before hitting some deep drifts, same spot where the drifts are always last to melt in the spring/summer. Shorelines have reopened at the res, nice short hike but bring your snowshoes the drifts are DEEP already especially in the bowl around the res.
Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
The gate at the reservoir (as stated) is closed. This was a decent trip out and i did not take the hike to see the reservoir but in my opinion the trail was far more bumpy than i expected and not worth the drive. i went up to the other 2 lakes with the other trail and they were very low(maybe 30ft), i would recomend going to loch lomond instead.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Open and clear to gate at reservoir. There were a few puddles, nothing more than 3 inches deep for about 10 feet.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Visited the trail just before a large storm hit. At that time we were able to bust through a couple deep drifts just shy of the lake and made it all the way through. I wouldn't expect it to be passable that far now since a big storm rolled through the next day. There is a lot of private land and a lot of new homes being built in the area. Areas that were once great camp spots 10-12 years ago are now blocked off and marked as private.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
This was a fun little trail that we just decided to do while out and after we'd done Kingston Peak. The trail is open all the way through and we saw plenty of traffic up at the top.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Open all the way to the reservoir. No snow and very little water on the trail.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Road is open all the way to the top. A Subaru Forester and Honda CRV crawled up behind me with pretty impressive ease.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
road is clear to the top. I have 8 inches of clearance
Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
You can almost make it to the Fall River Dam, but there are two large snow drifts approx. 500 feet from the end of the trail. Probably another 2-3 weeks before it will be passable to the top.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Not Reported
Offroaded on:
Rating:
In attempting to break through Chinns Lake four-wheel drive road I decided to go the reservoir and take in the views. The area was very crowded with dispersed campers littered along the road and up by the Fall River Reservoir.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Headed up Rainbow Road as it's close to Denver and would give me a good idea of what the snow conditions were like on the higher trails. Had my LJ on 37s, locked front & rear and a buddy's LJ on 35s also locked front & rear. It's was fairly packed snow right from the beginning and you could tell the trail had been well used recently. We made it to waypoint 3 no problems as again, the snow was just packed from other trail users. After the Chinn's Lake Split, the snow got a little deeper and you could tell there were less users going past this point. Eventually there were no more tracks and we were cutting fresh trail. A few hundred yards from the trail end was a large snowdrift that took some time to work through, but we were both able to get through it without using our winches. If anyone is thinking of running this trail this time of year, only someone with a well built rig with lockers will make it to where we did at this point in the season. I would suggest stock vehicles turn around at the Chinns Lake Split. When the trail is dry, it is an easy cruise that could be done in 2wd.

Questions & Answers (4)

Q: are kayaks allowed in the resevoir?
–manuel (08/29/2018)
–Todd (08/30/2018)
Q: Is the reservoir dried up yet?
–Nick (08/21/2018)
–Todd (08/30/2018)
Q: Anyone try and drive this recently? What are the conditions like?
–Evan Thompson (05/20/2018)
–Kris Davis (07/23/2018)
–Todd (05/21/2018)
Q: you think it's clear for Father's day weekend to get to the res ... I drive a stock tacoma TRD off Road
–Kyle Anderson (06/13/2017)
–Kyle Anderson (06/14/2017)
–Todd (06/14/2017)

Writer Information

Todd

Founder

Todd is an avid wheeler who loves to explore new trails whenever and wherever he can. They say necessity is the mother of all invention and that holds true for Todd. His want and desire to find passable trails and new nooks and crannies of the Great American West to explore were his reasons behind starting Trailsoffroad.com. On any given weekend you can find Todd on some obscure 4x4 trail or using his legs to hike to an alpine lake.
For individual use only, not to be shared.