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Huerfano/Lily Lake Trailhead
Added by BillMiddlebrook

Location:  Sangre de Cristo Range
14ers Served:  Mt. Lindsey
Road Type:  Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Very Rough 2WD access to the upper trailhead at 10,700’. Good clearance required. 4WD may be required in spring when large puddles and mud are present.
- Drive to the town of Gardner, northwest of Walsenburg on Colorado 69.
- From Gardner, head west for about 1/2 mile on CO 69 and turn west on the road to Mosca Pass. There should be brown Forest Service signs on CO 69 indicating the turn.
- Just after the start of this road, a Forest Service sign states "Upper Huerfano - 21.5" and "Lily Lake Trhd - 22.5".
- After 7.0 miles the road turns to dirt.
- Continue 4.8 miles to a junction and stay left on Forest Road 580.
- Drive 3.4 miles and enter private property where a "Forest Access" sign reads "Upper Huerfano - 5.3 mi."
- Continue 0.5 mile and stay left at the entrance to the Singing River ranch. The road becomes rough, narrow, but still 2WD.
- Continue 0.9 mile and pass the entrance to the Aspen River ranch. The road becomes more difficult.
- Drive 3.4 miles to enter the San Isabel National Forest.
- Drive 0.8 mile and pass a small sign for the Huerfano and Zapata trails.
- Drive 1 more mile to the end of the road at the Lily Lake TH.
Winter Access:  Usually closed near the ranches, many miles below the TH.
14er Trailheads on Google Maps
Date Status Information Posted By  Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2014-12-07 Were able to drive an Xterra up to the Forest Service boundary just below the lower TH. Had to get out and push a few times though. A foot of snow on the road that is problematic at the steeper sections. Very inconsistent, ranging from totally snow covered for 100m and then completely dry for 100m. Past the lower TH it is a consistent 6inches - foot of snow with a drift or two. If you can make it up the snowy hills at the FS boundary without issue...You could probably make it to the upper TH. From where we stopped it took an hour and a half to reach the upper TH. thurs         
2014-10-24 Drove the trailhead in my Wrangler today. I would like to say that as of today, you can make all the way to the upper trailhead with a good, high clearance 4WD vehicle. However, I watched as a 2WD older Ford Focus with tiny tires (compared to my Jeep, anyway) drove up to the upper lot just like me! The driver was obviously very skilled. And the Focus was old enough that a couple extra dents wouldn‘t matter. The puddles are still there, but today the road was snow-free. Hasn‘t been snow for a while. In fact, the road was very dusty. Other than the few extra puddles, right now the road is basically the same as it is in summer. After Sunday‘s cold front moves through, who knows? Obviously even a light snow can change everything. flyingmagpie         
2014-10-19 Still pretty nice conditions on the road. Less water in the 3? pooled-up areas on the road than last weekend. Lots of hunters & big trucks and activity on the lower part of the road. Eagle Eye         
2014-10-18 Made it to upper trailhead with 4WD Toyota Tacoma no problems. Minimal water in 3 pools (~6" deep). Minimal to no mud on road. Lily lake trail received some snow/rain on 10/18, minimal accumulation. Trailhead was devoid of people 10/17 and 10/18 except for our party. wackogracko         
2014-10-12 Not much trouble driving to the TH. Some mud and snow on the road made it a little slippery. Deep water in at least 3 places. See photo. Eagle Eye  1       
2014-09-01 The road is dry except for a small pool of water no deeper than 4-5 inches. esagas         
2014-08-22 Got through the mudslide fine with my ford ranger in 2 wheel drive. Didn‘t seem like the mud was that deep. Apart from that a couple of pools that I had to drive through toward the end of the road. No real problem wasn‘t more than a few inches deep. bdrumm06         
2014-08-17 Seems like another mudslide. I think this one is about 2.5 miles from the TH still. 1500 feet below the TH according to my GPS. Wished I had an earlier start to the day because there is some great parking just before the mud mess. The mud is pretty thick and sticky. I almost got stuck and think I was lucky to be able to get out of it in my Outback. Photo attached. You can‘t even see my tire tracks anymore b/c the mud is so goopy. About 1/4 mile before this point, there is a little-used road that seems to rejoin this road. Vehicles with high clearance could use it to possibly get around this. I went down that path but chickened out when I could no longer see vehicle tracks (nor what I was really driving over under all that grass). Very disappointing morning. MissH  1  2      
2014-08-03 A mudslide took out a portion of the road Sunday morning ~mile below the trail head. They got it cleared in the afternoon and cars were able to pass but it might continue to be a problem area if more rain rolls in. jwgrosser  1  1    
2014-07-26 Took a Forester to the trailhead without much problem. Landslide/mud hole that was recently referenced seems to be under control. There is a large water spot that is 3-4 inches deep right now en route also. Can‘t imagine bringing a 2WD low clearance car up there, last mile would be rough on it. Some logistics - roughly 45-50 min to drive the 22ish miles from Gardner to the upper TH. Gardner also has zero for supplies (food, drinks etc), so stock up before you get there. LetsGoMets         
2014-07-15 The couple logs and rocks most use to cross the river and enter the Wilderness en route to Lindsey were washed down in the recent storm around July 13-14. You can still cross via a log if you take the Lily Lake trail then cross and follow the rivulet around a big boulder to where two fire rings are then continue on to Lindsey. TallGrass  1       
2014-06-04 Road and trailhead are completely clear of all snow Corn         
2014-05-16 road still blocked by snow @ same location Skinned all the way to TH on the way back stepped through rocks to car. From TH to LINDSEY creek crossings are open, and didn‘t have to take splitty off, however, I would plan on walking from the TH to the meadow before there‘s dependable skinable snow freeinthehills         
2014-05-02 Snow starts at 2 miles (not 1 from Lindsey conditions report). Melting fast so expect to get closer in next few days. 2 more downed trees around mile 1.5 from upper TH. bergsteigen         
2014-04-11 Forest Road 580 is open and dry until the Aspen and Singing River Ranches. Past the ranches conditions change quickly. On 04/09 we had to stop driving about 1.5 miles away from the TH. There is deep snow left over the last 1/2 mile of the road and also a few downed trees. Melt is happening quickly though- on 04/11 when I was picked up, the Tahoe made it about 1/2 mile further up the road, although some of that melt was a result of us busting drifts two days earlier. Wolfman_CO         
2014-04-04 Bring a chainsaw. No joke. Eric and I got stopped ~0.3mi after the Singing River ranch by a tree that had fallen across the road. Upon our return, it had been cleared by someone. About 2.5-3 miles further up the road, is another fallen tree, and the point where we could have driven to. Beyond that, it will take some time to melt out the upper road. bergsteigen  3       
2014-02-17 The winter closure on the 580 road is currently at the Singing River Ranch where they stop plowing it. There is a snow pile at the ranch that you can easily drive around that and go a little bit further, however, the vehicle tracks soon stop. If you‘ve got a 4x4 with chains, you could make it the .5-1.0 mile of snow to where it‘s then a dry road for another mile to mile and a half. Otherwise, you have to park .5 mile back down below the ranch property. If someone would drive this section of snow, it will save you 3.5 miles (7 miles round trip) of hiking. And, there is a nice snow packed trench in there if anyone wants Lindsey in winter. Get it before the next snow storm hits! globreal         
2013-10-12 Snow above the lower TH which may start icing if it doesn‘t melt or it gets colder. Some big puddles max depth was probably 6". One looked like a foot deep but I think it waHs more like 6". There was a Kia at the lower TH and and Hyundai hatchback made it close to the upper th (and almost blocked the road with a crappy parking job). There was a 4 door Jeep and Nissan Pathfinder at the upper TH. Any SUV with good clearance and 4WD can make it. I would not drive a car above the lower TH (1 mi.). Although, that stretch is not much worse than the last two miles before the lower TH. alpinenut         
2013-09-28 Several large mud puddles along the way. Had fun in my FJ but could be a little risky with a low-clearance vehicle. There was light snow covering most of the road the evening of the 27th, but it had all melted by Saturday afternoon. smoove         
2013-09-28 In the past I‘ve gotten my Honda Fit to within a quarter mile of the Lower Huerfano TH (that gives access to the north sides of California and Huerfano Pks). This time, I didn‘t want to chance one puddle that was about a three-quarters of a mile before that trailhead. Otherwise, cars with good clearance should be able to make it. CarpeDM         
2013-09-21 Easily made it to the trailhead with a Subaru Outback. The last 6 miles of the road are rocky and rough, and there are a few deep puddles in spots. The water is not deep, and it isn‘t a real issue. I think that carefully driven passenger cars with skilled drivers could at least get within 1 mile of the trailhead. (Last mile is the steepest and has a few bigger rock obstacles). Tornadoman         
2013-09-20 Drove our Jeep Wrangler Sport (31\" tires) never used four wheel drive. Lower clearance vehicles may have issues in a few areas with rocks and puddle crossings though. The following link is pics on my facebook page (public album). zarahowerton         
2013-08-25 Drove up this on Saturday, back down on Sunday. I wouldn‘t take anything other than a high-clearance 4x4 up this road. Even something like an Escape or an Equinox would make me nervous. Lots of puddles of unknown depth, parts where the road is little more than a bed of medium-sized rocks, occasional obstacles. On the other hand, the Nissan Frontier I rented handled everything fine. I only saw similar vehicles at the trailhead. Whatever car you bring, plan on it getting muddy. barryfagin  1       
2013-06-30 The 22 miles to the trailhead will take awhile but is very doable as long as you take your time. There is enough room for two tents/ groups at trailhead plus about room for about 6 cars. Within a 5-mintue walk, there are several other great places to camp...all free! I know this is marked as a 3 in terms of road conditions but I have to share a story that gives that number a run for its money. We had just parked after the 22 miles of bumpy, rock ridden road (in our high-clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicle) when we looked up to see a SmartCar cruising by on a scenic drive. So yes, this is a 3 but as the Smartcar demonstrated if you take it slow, anything can make it back. Jump Roper    2      
2013-06-22 The road is totally dry to the trailhead, save for one small puddle a couple miles from the top. Beware, the road is really dusty currently, so be prepared to get it all over everything. RyGuy         

The TH parking area (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2006-06-03)Start of the trail on the west side of the parking area (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2006-06-03)Water crossing between Singing River and Aspen River Ranches (Added by: wildbrookie on 2007-11-26)Typical ice coverage on 11/24/07 (Added by: wildbrookie on 2007-11-26)Huerfano/Lily Lake TH  parking lot from th sign– April 26, 2008 (Added by: cpstoney on 2008-04-27)Zap trail (Added by: yodmc714 on 2012-06-05)fawn (Added by: yodmc714 on 2012-06-05)

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