My Trail Reviews (32) (within last 6 months)
Currently, San Juan County has issued CLOSURES on all their backcountry passes. San Miguel, Hinsdale, and Ouray County issued a travel at your own risk advisory.
I attended a meeting of the Colorado Association of 4WD Clubs yesterday (Saturday, October 26) and talked with some club members from Leadville. They told me that the peak is snowbound and impassible.
Updating this trail rating to 5 due to erosion, deeper ruts, and more exposed/larger rock. The ruts at Waypoint 4 are now approaching 30" deep which increases the pucker factor. The smoother "easy line" remains as a bypass. There is now a rock ledge at Waypoint 3, roughly 24" high and slightly off-camber. This is a fun road, but certainly no longer suggested for stock 4x4 rigs.
Peak color happening this week!
Drove Aspen Ridge today (Sunday, 9-29) with a group from 14erFest. The area is dry and dusty but the road is in good condition. The foliage colors are vivid! Get out there and enjoy soon!
Did the Natural Bridge drive and hike as part of 14erFest--the road is in good condition. We did the hike with approximately 30 people! It is relatively short but steep with two spots where you have to scramble over big boulders. Took us thirty minutes +/- to reach the top of the bridge. This is a very scenic road in autumn, and the views from the Natural Bridge are amazing!
The road is open to "local traffic" and there are "Road Closed" signs on both the south and north sides. The flood damage is widespread between Waypoints 3 and 4; this is the area where the road traverses the narrowest segment of the canyon. Evidently, the spring runoff/flood swelled in the narrow canyon and caused significant erosion. Attached images are from my drive (south to north). If you drive this road, take it slow and easy. Remember to stay on the road, as virtually all adjacent property is privately owned.
Ophir Pass at sunset, late in the season--fantastic!
Found the road in good condition, remarkably still pretty wet at the lower elevation near Ophir. Red Mountain/Silverton side was dry and good condition, nearly as if it has been graded recently on the lower elevation segment.
Driving with a Land Cruiser group all week from back east, we'd done half a dozen roads/trails across Colorado with the aim of ending the expedition in Ouray/Silverton. We arrived to Ouray on Friday and drove straight through town to Yankee Boy! The road is in decent shape, with some erosion and ruts, but overall Yankee Boy posed no problem for our group.
Mountain views were awesome, though we did observe some haze due to smoke from a nearby controlled/prescribed burn. Overall, a fantastic 4x4 road!
Drove down Schofield Pass with a group of Toyota buddies from back east who visit each year. The rock obstacle at Waypoint 5 is the most difficult part of the road; for our buddy with no sliders, we stacked a rock or two (and then moved them aside after he passed). This is a great 4x4 road, I look forward to it each year.
The road is blocked by avalanche debris at coordinates 39.07723 -107.11922
I entered Lead King Basin from the west and drove to the point of blockage and recorded the GPS coordinates above. There is a narrow track cut through the debris, possibly sufficient to drive an ATV through (personally, I would discourage it) but not adequate to drive a Jeep/truck through without significant additional work.
PLEASE do not use any unauthorized bypass (Stay The Trail, Colorado!)
Drove the Crystal Trail after descending Schofield Pass. Stopped for a brief time in the village itself, and then again at the Mill. Lots of traffic, especially hikers, even on a weekday late in the season.
This is a fantastic drive in the Crested Butte area, suitable for stock 4x4 vehicles (even crossover/sport utility vehicles). The road is in very good condition, and there are no obstacles to impede travel. Be courteous to others and remember trail etiquette--uphill has the right of way, and four wheels yield to two wheels or pedestrians/equestrians.
Be cautious of cattle on the road in this open range area.
Drove the first segment of Daisy Pass to take some friends to see the waterfall between Waypoints 2 and 3. We were a large group (eight vehicles) and were on a somewhat tight schedule to get through the Paradise Divide, down Schofield Pass (including the Devil's Punchbowl), the Crystal Trail, and to put eyes on Lead King Basin (which we're told is impassible due to an avalanche--turns out that is correct.)
Daisy Pass is a gorgeous road, like all of the roads in the Crested Butte area. The trailhead is more "channelized" now, as the boundary with private property is now marked with signs. This simply forces 4x4 traffic to cross at one point on the Slate River, versus two which were thought to be legal access points.
Drove Tincup on Wednesday afternoon, September 11th. I was with a group of Land Cruisers from back east (Keystone Cruisers from Pennsylvania, and Capital City Land Cruiser Club from Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia). We found the St. Elmo side had some erosion and water puddles, but the erosion on the Tincup side was more pronounced, exposing more rocks. We took the "easier" route at Waypoint 8, avoiding the "Old Tincup" portion of the trail. Overall, nothing difficult but we did have issues with one carbureted truck due to elevation. Even with periodic stops to address carb/fuel delivery issues, we completed the trek from St. Elmo to Tincup in approximately 3 hours.
I drove Mosquito Pass with a group of eight Land Cruisers from back east (Keystone Cruisers, Capital City Land Cruiser Club) as part of their Colorado Expedition. We had done Red Cone and Webster Pass the prior day, and used Mosquito Pass to cross over to Leadville where we'd then drive the highway south to access Tincup Pass.
Mosquito Pass doesn't disappoint; it has neat mining history and provides fantastic panoramic mountain views. We had clear weather, so the trip was especially good. The road is in good condition, and there were relatively few others present, maybe three other vehicles and one group of hikers.
I drove Webster Pass from the summit/intersection with Red Cone down to the southeastern side (highway 285 between Grant and Jefferson). The road is in good condition, and water levels and velocity are at end-of-season lows. My group camped at Handcart Campground, which is a nice place to camp this time of year (no one else around). Site fees have increased to $22, and $7 for each additional vehicle per site. Sites are large enough for three vehicles with rooftop tents, making it pretty economical, though I do prefer to "primitive" camp in authorized dispersed locations when alone or in smaller groups.
I drove Red Cone with a group of eight Land Cruisers and Tacoma's visiting from back east (Keystone Cruisers, Capital City Land Cruiser Club). We're all experienced wheelers and had no issues. The rocks at Waypoint 2 require good line selection, and the switchbacks above Waypoint 5 (the last segment of road before leaving the treeline) was off-camber and deeply rutted. This was my second trip on Red Cone, having first driven it in 2015.
Take the author's precautions about braking on the descent--the road surface is loose rock and some segments are steep!
Road is open and in good condition. The avalanche debris field is very impressive to say the least!
The sign at CR 12/CR 10 (east side trailhead near Park City) said "closed" but the road is OPEN. Just a little bit of snow remaining on the side of the road at the false top (WP 8). The road is rocky and bumpy, but totally within the capability of a stock 4x4. Get out and see it before the snow flies again in late September or October!
Ran Breakneck Pass to get a new GPS track and update this guide based on the partial closure of the northern end of the road. The closure/new "end" is approximately half a mile north/northwest beyond Waypoint 10.
Ran the cutoff from the west side, then turned around and drove it back to 300/Bald Mountain Gulch. The road is slightly more rutted than the last time I drove it (especially Waypoint 5, the ruts seemed quite deeper).
One of the best trails in the area for valley and mountain views! I met a Jeep at the top, and while we were chatting a small group from Texas arrived. They were with the All-4-Fun event (Mile Hi Jeep Club) going on this week.
One of my favorite trails in the Buena Vista area. Bald Mountain Gulch is in good shape. There were several groups of trucks, motorcycles, and ATV/Side-by-sides using the trail today. I saw three different groups camping.
Used FS Road 187 as a connector to 300 (Bald Mountain Gulch) and 188 (Castle Rock Gulch). The road is in good condition, surprisingly little washboard surface.
I used FS Road 307 to enter the area and run Bassam Park (187), Bald Mountain Gulch (300), and Castle Rock Gulch (188). 307 is in good shape with a few spots of washboard surface.
I drove FS Road 426 on Sunday, July 28, 2019. This is a fantastic scenic road, especially the south end (I'm amazed there have been no trail reviews because it's a great place to get panoramic photos!). The road is in good condition.
I drove FS Road 173 on Sunday, July 28, 2019. The road is in good condition. There are numerous water puddles holding the last of the recent runoff. The stream crossing at the trailhead has receded to "normal" volume and velocity. I observed two groups camping, one each at Waypoint 4 and Waypoint 5.
Drove Brown's Pass on Sunday, July 28, 2019. Found the road in very good condition; as mentioned, there has been some dozer work to create better drainages. I saw little traffic so this is a great place to get away!
A friend in Canon City informed me that the road is now open (Sunday, June 30th, 2019). There is still snow on the road but it is passable. He posted photos (Lexus LX470 aka 100-series Land Cruiser) on the Colorado Land Cruisers "clubhouse forum" at IH8MUD.
Got a message from a friend who is visiting the CB area; he says Schofield Pass is partially open but impassible, same for Paradise Divide. He says it will be a few weeks yet before they are open to wheeled traffic.
Got a message from a friend who is visiting the CB area; he says Paradise Divide is partially open but impassible, same for Schofield Pass. He says it will be a few weeks yet before they are open to wheeled traffic.
Found the road impassible beyond Waypoint 9 as Cody described last week. The snowdrift in the road is probably 300-feet in length and 15-18 inches deep. We camped at Waypoint 8. Fishing was not good, but the views were spectacular!