Yankee Hill to Central City

Central City, Colorado (Clear Creek County)

Last Updated: 05/08/2022
4.4 / 5 ( 57 reviews )
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Highlight: Yankee Hill to Central City
Excellent off-road route for either beginners or those just looking to escape the city while being in the heart of mining country. The Yankee Hill to Central City Route takes you directly into the Yankee Hill Network where you could spend a day or two exploring many different trails and route combinations which gives you plenty of off-road miles to enjoy. With two different destinations at each end; one being the popular St. Mary's Glacier and the other being Central City/Blackhawk, you can fit in other activities besides off-roading.


Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
Stock SUV with High Clearance and 4 Low
Standard road with small rock gardens or free standing rocks to crawl over.

Technical Rating

Typically, more rock or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 12" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 12" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 24" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep.
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Community Consensus

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This route is part of what is considered the "Yankee Hill Network". This route follows two Forest Service Roads, 175.1 and 273.2 to take one back and forth from Central City to St. Mary's Glacier through the heart of the Yankee Hill Network. Trail conditions include Forest Service type roads with rocks, boulders and in some areas deep ruts. Any high clearance stock SUV can safely navigate this route. Route instructions are described from St. Mary's to Central City and the trail can be run in either direction.


1. Mine Road Trailhead ( mi)
From Fall River Road shortly after passing Alice Road turn right onto Mine Road. Continue up Mine Road and stay right. Once at the power poles there are two entrance points onto the trail. The first one is more difficult while with a minor obstacle. This stretch until the overlook is fairly rocky and bumpy.
2. Dead End 175.4B (0.13 mi)
Dead end trail 175.4B Stay straight on 175.1
3. Overlook (0.55 mi)
From this point there is a great view of St. Mary's Glacier, James Peak, Fox Mountain and Silver Lake. Continue on 175.1
4. 271.1G (0.71 mi)
271.G connects you the trails further south such as Cumberland Gulch, Washoe Gulch and Sheridan Hill. Camping location down 271.1G
5. 175.4A (0.74 mi)
This is the loop taking you back down from Yankee Hill, but go up the hill at waypoint 6. Continue onto 175.1 unless you wish to climb and descend Yankee Hill.
6. Yankee Hill 175.3H (0.81 mi)
This is the loop here which takes you up Yankee Hill. Continue on 175.1 unless you wish to climb and descend Yankee Hill. There are some camping rings up on the hill.
7. 271.1D Washoe Gulch Trailhead (0.84 mi)
Continue on 175.1. Turn south if you wish to descend onto Washoe Gulch and exit onto Fall River Road or loop back over to Cumberland Gulch. Down Washoe Gulch there are a couple of small camps.
8. 175.3G Dead End (1.23 mi)
Continue on 175.1.
9. 271.1 (1.25 mi)
Continue onto 175.1. 271.1 will eventually connect you over to Cumberland Gulch or Sheridan Hill.
10. 175.3, 172.1A 175.1 (1.61 mi)
Continue on 175.1. Heading north takes you onto the route which would lead you towards Apex Road.
11. 271.1F (1.75 mi)
Continue on 175.1. 271.1F leads you over to 271.1, Cumberland Gulch and Sheridan Hill.
12. 772.1 Miners Gulch Trailhead (2.16 mi)
Continue on 175.1. Take 772.1 for Miners Gulch
13. 175.3I (2.36 mi)
Continue on 175.1 175.3I is a more technical shortcut connecting you onto 175.1 again as well as Miners Gulch.
14. 175.3I (2.75 mi)
Continue on 175.1 If you are running this from Central City 175.3I is a more technical shortcut connecting you onto 175.1 again.
15. Miners Gulch Trailhead 175.3C (3.2 mi)
Continue on 175.1 to the right. Continuing straight (175.3B) also connects you back over to 175.1. Heading north takes you onto Miners Gulch 175.3C and over to Apex Road.
16. Split Fence 175.3B (3.38 mi)
Continue to follow 175.1. This area can get wet and muddy in rainy or snow season. There are some puddles and ruts to play in.
17. 708.1 Dead End (3.79 mi)
If you ran the trail from Central City this is a very good spot to air down. The trail from here to Central City is mostly a trail rated 1 dirt road.
18. 273.2 175.1 and 739.1 Trailheads (5.61 mi)
Continue straight onto 273.2. 739.1 also leads you eventually to the same place, it can have a major water obstacle in wet months and is the more rougher of roads. If you have come from Central City, continue straight onto 175.1
19. 401.1 (5.81 mi)
Continue on 273.2. 401.1 is just a connector trail.
20. To Central City (5.9 mi)
Follow the signs and remain on 273.2.
21. Stop sign/ Bald Mountain Drive (7.89 mi)
Continue straight on 273.2
22. Central City Trailhead (9.59 mi)
If you ran this from St. Mary's this is the end of the trail. If you are running the route from Central City look for the Boodle Mill and turn left up Kings Flat Road.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Central City, Colorado

Mine Road Trailhead: From I-70 take exit 238 and travel up Fall River road for just over 9 miles after passing Alice Road turn right onto Mine Road. Continue up Mine Road and stay right. Once at the power poles there are two entrance points onto the trail on the right hand side. The first entrance is more difficult while with a minor obstacle. Central City Trailhead: From Black Hawk, continue west through Central City. Just past town turn left following signs to the Columbine Campground. Turn up King Flats Road, which turns into Bald Mountain Lane. Continue on this where it turns into 273.2


This route either ends or stops at a developed campground, Columbine Campground. There is also dispersed camping all throughout the Yankee Hill Network but this is not considered a great "camping" trail.
Camping: Yankee Hill to Central City

Trail Reviews (77)

Questions & Answers (6)

Q: Can we go through trail at this time?
–Franzua (12/29/2018)
A: Hi Franzua, the trail is technically open, meaning that there are no seasonal closures posted by the US Forest Service. If you read the trip review below, someone did do the trail on the 17th. Having said that though, expect snow, slippery and potentially impassable conditions. Never attempt winter wheeling alone, so go with another vehicle! For this trail, it's always best to access it from the Central City side during the winter.
–Todd (12/29/2018)
Q: Hey there! Fantastic review, very detailed. Has anybody been up recently? What is the snow condition? Thank you!
–Giorgio Ausenda (11/01/2018)
A: There are definitely patches of snow and ice along the trail. It will build up over the winter with each snowfall and will have patches of snow usually until early summer. As winter moves on, the drifts get bigger, so even if a few inches fell, it could mean a much larger drift you may have to get through.
–Todd (11/01/2018)
Q: Do you know what the actual distance (mileage) from Central City to the trail?
–Brenda Rowan (10/03/2018)
A: Hi Brenda, not off the top of my head, but from Central City you are looking at a 5 to 10-minute drive to get to the trails within the network. Roughly under 2 miles to get to dirt.
–Todd (10/05/2018)
Q: Hey new to the site! Love it! Anyone been up there recently? Hows the snow pack? My first Trip here with the fam...
–Evan (04/27/2018)
A: Hi Evan, We are glad you like the site! In regards to this trail though, there is definitely going to be snow and maybe impassable in spots. The one thing you need to think about is that at that elevation, a lot of snow can fall at night, even when everywhere else looks beautiful, so it the conditions can change daily. Be sure to never go alone and have proper recovery gear.
–Todd (04/27/2018)
Q: does anyone know trail conditions, looking to go this weekend
–Dustin (04/04/2018)
A: Hey Dustin, I live right around there but I have been out of town for a week or so. The neighbors said a good amount of snow fell at high elevation, so its going to be snow covered and potentially impassable. If you attempt it, never go alone and have all the proper recovery gear with you. Most people access the trail from the eastern trailheads.
–Todd (04/04/2018)
Q: Does this trail close down or is it even passable in the winter time?
–Max (02/12/2018)
A: Max, it is technically open per the Forest Service. It does get blanketed with deep snow and can be impassable at times, bad things potentially could happen so do not go alone. Bring proper survival gear for extreme cold weather, extra food and water, tire chains, shovels, vehicle recovery gear etc. Most people access this area from the east side near Central City - the west side is typically deep in drifts and you would not be able to make it. Again, do not go alone and go with someone experienced in recovery.
–Todd (02/12/2018)

Writer Information



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.