Silver Crk/Grizzly Gulch Trailhead


Range: San Juan Mountains
Coordinates: 37.93694, -107.46083
14ers: Redcloud Peak, Sunshine Peak, Handies Peak
Elevation: 10,400'
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Road Difficulty

Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Normally it's rough 2WD dirt to the TH. In spring, early summer, and even some entire summers, the road may be rough and require Easy 4WD.

Driving Directions

First, take Highway 149 to Lake City. From Lake City, drive about 2 miles south on Colorado 149 and turn right on County Road 30 toward Lake San Cristobal and Cinnamon Pass. From the start of the 30 road, it's nearly 16 miles to the trailhead. Stay right near 11.8 miles. After 12.5 miles the road becomes more rough, and between 13 and 14.5 miles it's a shelf road that hugs the south side of Sunshine Peak. Before 16 miles, reach the trailhead in an open area. Parts of this road are rough, but when it's dry good-clearance 2WD vehicles should be able to get to the trailhead.

Winter Access

Usually closed about 6 miles below the TH.

More Info

Parking: Room for ~25 vehicles and then more along the road.
Camping: Plenty of places to pitch a tent near the trailhead or up the road a bit.
Restrooms? Yes
Fees? No
Trailhead added by BillMiddlebrook
Status Updates 
Posted By: kylewiley
Info: Perfectly Clear. We got up it no problem in our crosstrek.
Posted By: Dagmar
Info: CR30 is closed form CR30/CR35 junction. The first mile is dry dry. Afrer that there is a significant snowpack with several avalanche debris blocking the road all the way to the TH. After snow warms up , postholing is significant as the snow pack is still very deep. Postholed 3-5 feet the entire way, flotation device was useless. Tough going for sure .
Posted By: markf
Info: I parked just above the CR30/CR35 split on 11/1 and walked to the Silver Creek/Grizzly Gulch trailhead. The road looked doable in a Subaru or crossover SUV, so it’s possible that some maintenance was done since the last condition report. This morning (11/3) I woke up to 6" of snow at the trailhead, and I found about 8" on my car at midday. CR30 was plowed to the CR30/CR35 split and beyond, but I suspect that CR30 will close for the winter at the split pretty soon.
Posted By: JQDivide
Info: CR 30 is in awful shape. It is the worst I have seen it in 20 plus years. Getting a 2wd vehicle to the Grizzly Gulch TH used to be the norm. I would not take a regular 2wd up that road anymore. It is rough, rocky and washed out, repaired in spots. Between the heavy rains and OHV traffic this summer, the road is no longer an easy cruise. Even 4wd vehicles will be driving slower, so add anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to your trip. You will want a 4 x 4 to get to the top of the pass, some of the switchbacks are all rock. I spoke with a sheriff deputy on top the of the pass, and he said the road has gotten worse since this spring. Not sure what it will be like once the snow melts for the 2023 summer.
Posted By: JasonCrane
Info: CR30 is fine for 2WD until the winter gate & turn-off junction at about 12.5 miles. From there, road is in very poor condition -- deep potholes, protruding rocks, ruts, wash-outs, rock fall, & narrow passes. A majority of traffic was ATV/OHV. There were a number of pick-ups, Jeep Wranglers & a couple of SUVs at the TH. Due to road condition, I ended-up hiking Handies from this TH rather than driving another 3-4 miles to American Basin. Made to Silver Crk in a GMC Acadia by driving cautiously & with a lot of luck involved. Drivers with high clearance vehicles & who are experienced with these road conditions did not seem to have much trouble. "Fun" is not my choice word to describe the road, but the OHV crowd was all smiles seemed to be enjoying themselves. Use your best judgment.
Posted By: 1brokedad
Info: Drove my 1995 GMC G25 Vandura van to the trailhead without any issues. Just took it slow when going over potholes. There were many cars at the TH Saturday and one person even pulled a popup trailer. I did see a couple of sedans parked there too.
Posted By: supranihilest
Info: The road to Silver Creek/Grizzly Gulch has gotten rougher over the years. Whereas in years past I was able to drive my Civic to the trailhead there’s no way I would now, owing to large potholes and more exposed rocks that would give a low clearance vehicle a lot of trouble, if not make the road outright impossible. Outbacks and higher clearance vehicles will have no trouble and 4WD isn’t needed, just some clearance.
Posted By: Shaller13
Info: Made it to the trailhead just fine in stock Jeep Cherokee. Did not use 4HI(nor Low) at all.

Low clearance vehicles may have trouble in some spots from mm 12-15.
Posted By: dr_j
Info: Looks like the monsoon has made the road a lot bumpier than I remember it to be. While most of it was dry, there are a few one lane sections to get around debris, and plenty of sections where you need to take it slow. I think it may be difficult for a low clearance vehicle, but passable with careful driving.
Posted By: Ed_Groves
Info: This trailhead is no problem for 4wd, 2wd, and AWD vehicles. It is a long drive of approximately 18 miles from Lake City on a very bumpy road. Be prepared to encounter lots of side by side vehicles on this road. With all the rain that has been falling, there were lots of huge puddles. There are plenty of places to allow other vehicles to get by even in the narrower sections.
Posted By: Mustavio
Info: Road is easy in a Forrester. Didn’t have to pick any complex lines, just take the first obvious route.
Posted By: timisimaginary
Info: If this is what passes for a 2WD road in CO, Id hate to see the 4WD ones. Most is 2WD but there were a few spots I was very glad to have 4WD. Im not experienced driving mountain roads though, so an experienced driver might be fine with 2WD. Made it up and down well in a Jeep Cherokee. Good clearance is a must.
Posted By: Skimo95
Info: Was hiking quarter and Cooper/every this weekend. I would say that the road past cataract turnoff is more subaruable than civicable now. I sure as hell would not want to go up Silver/Cooper/American in anything less than a crossover. Other than that, normal conditions
Posted By: dwoodward13
Info: In my estimation this road has got significantly worse in the last few years. Drove it comfortably in a Camry in 16 and 19 (post washout). I would not drive it in my Camry today. Subaru worked well and something similar is the minimum I would want.

CR 30 below the shelf road is in great shape. Right after the road deteriorates. Lots of rocks and potholes. The previous washout areas may be the best portion of the road. Seems the SxSs have done a number recently.
Posted By: lgilst17
Info: Road is dry and manageable in a Subaru Impreza with some careful driving. I made it without scraping at all but some points were very close.
Posted By: ndomke
Info: The road is open and dry all the way up to the Silver Creek / Grizzly Gulch TH. Made it in a FWD Promaster with no issues.
Posted By: Eagle Eye
Info: The gate is closed at the junction of roads that is 11.8 miles from the start of Rd 30.
Posted By: Boggy B
Info: Mostly snow-free from Lake City. With current forecast could be totally dry in a week.
Posted By: greenleaf11
Info: Road is in good shape though pretty rutted out post washouts - no issues with Outback, Tacoma, or similar SUVs. I did see a Civic at the trailhead - kudos. The shelf part of the road is pretty harrowing if you don’t like drop offs and exposure.
Posted By: E_A_Marcus_949
Info: Similar to the 8/6 report - all clear and good. Great clearing work done from the washouts earlier this summer. The road is in a tad rougher shape than last year, though I did randomly see Prius that made it to the TH. About 1.7-1.5mi to the trailhead is some newer washout area.
Easy enough to get to in a Forester - plenty of jeeps, trucks, subarus, etc. I wrapped my car but didn’t hear of any critter activity.

The side-by-sides and 4wheelers seemed to have gotten much more rude the last few years, too, especially this year - not knowing up has right-of-way (yes it depends sometimes on who has a pull over but in my drive up Saturday afternoon it wasn’t like this), people being rude in general, etc., so just watch-out and be alert for where you may be able to pull over.
Posted By: patrickmcl89
Info: Road is in good shape to the trailhead. Can make it in 2wd, although awd or 4x4 would be ideal. Rockslides have been cleared, all but one was dry.
Posted By: Old Swampy
Info: The road has been restored following recent landslides with some attendant new bumps along the way. We made it to the trailhead pre-dawn with careful driving to avoid the ruts and potholes. Two Kia Sorentos were there along with Subarus and numerous higher clearance vehicles. 2WD all the way, but with care.
Posted By: mtgoatmike
Info: County Road 30 (from Lake City) is drivable in any vehicle. If you are in a 2wd just take your time and navigate the potholes accordingly. During my time at the trailhead we received torrential rain which caused multiple rock/mud slides between the trailhead and Lake City, stranding some drivers. Luckily my stock 2012 Tacoma made it over Cinnamon Pass (to Silverton) with zero issue.
Posted By: kyleschulz
Info: County Road 30 is closed temporarily due to 2 rock slides yesterday. The gate at the 11 mile mark is closed. The slides are ~4 miles from the trailhead for Red Cloud and Handies. The county does not know when they will reopen. We were there at 5:30am and there were 2 large Front End Loaders parked. If your planning on climbing either peak this weekend, don’t.
Posted By: pater
Info: Made it to the TH in a Pontiac Vibe (2WD hatchback). A bit rough, but no major issues. Did not attempt to continue on to American Basin. No varmint issues. Very buggy, especially as you get closer to Lake Fork.
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