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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.
Directions: 
- 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    
2012-09-14 My friend Tyler and I set out Friday (Sept. 14th) to climb Mount Lindsey. We left Amarillo, Texas, at 6:30 hoping to drive straight to Lily Lake trailhead. We entered the San Isabel Forest and started up the washboard road at about 11:45/11:50 on Friday night. Just before midnight, and perhaps 4 or 5 miles below the trailhead, two mountain lions jumped from the driver‘s side (left) ditch, about 10 yards in front of our vehicle. I understand that most lions travel and hunt alone, and it is likely that the traveling pair were a mother and yearling cub. However, I was unable to observe a difference in size between the two. I was impressed with the lions ability to leap and run so effortlessly and smooth. Additionally, we were surprised about how thick their tails were. These were the first lions either one of us have seen in the wild. We intended to be the first ones up the trailhead on Saturday morning. I should just admit that our imaginations may have prevailed. Dubdub         
2012-09-02 My little ‘98 Nissan Sentra made it to the trail head and back without damage, but it did bottom out a few times and scrape over rocks, even with careful driving. Jaggers         
2012-07-16 Drove my accord to the TH with no issues whatsoever, didn‘t hit bottom. There is water over the trail in a few spots a few inches deep. There was a VW up top that lost all its oil, so it‘s not a "gimme", but if you take it slow you can get a low clearance 2wd up there without bottoming out. LOTS of trees down across the trail in the first 1.5 miles of hiking. fleetmack         
2012-06-25 My Chevy Trailblazer (8 inches ground clearance) made it to the trailhead with no problems and I never needed to switch it to 4wd. The puddle that has previously been mentioned is still there, but its only 4 or 5 inches deep. ColoradoLawDobe         
2012-06-23 Drove my Honda Civic All the way to the TH. You need to be careful in some spots but it is Feasible. Tango2Hotel         
2012-06-07 Drove a 2000 Subaru Outback all the way to the trailhead with absolutely no problem. Never scraped the bottom, never had to spot a maneuver, and all the downed trees have been cleared. The one puddle that spans the width of the road is not a problem and is only a few inches deep. Clear sailing without a high-clearance vehicle. bmcconahey         
2012-05-05 We made it up to within .5 miles of the TH where we ran into a drift that was unpassable. I would expect this drift and the one just past it to be melted out within 7-10 days. After those two drifts it is clear to the TH. All the downed trees that people mentioned in previous reports have been cleared. The road is in pretty good shape and easily done with a standard clearance 4WD...possibly even a higher clearance 2WD. Antonio         
2012-04-22 We made it 20.3 miles past the initial turnoff from CO 69 (so ~2.2 miles before the trailhead) in a 2wd Mazda 3. Despite this, I wouldn‘t recommend taking a low clearance vehicle up this road right now, the sections between the ranches are quite rough, and even by removing some rocks from the road and getting out of the car to increase the clearance over the rougher sections, we bottomed out many times. At present it is impossible to drive further than 20.3 miles due to numerous snow drifts that will likely take a couple more weeks to melt out. Also, there are at least 4 trees across the road that will need to be cut before you can make it to the trailhead. RJansen77    2      
2012-04-07 We made it to about 1.5-2 miles below the Lily Lake trailhead. Before that spot we had to detour around a large tree that was down. As the snow melts, you will definitely need a chainsaw to make it much further up the road. warg         
2012-01-28 In a stock 4WD Jimmy, we drove 3.0 miles past the Singing River Ranch or 2.1 miles beyond the Aspen River Ranch. This is 2.1 miles below the Huerfano/Zapata THs or 3.1 below the normal summer 4WD Lindsey TH, aka Lily Lake TH. Shortly after our parking spot there was a small tree across the trail and a mile further there is a larger tree that will need to be removed in the spring. A half mile further, there is another large tree that will need to be cut. sgladbach         
2011-07-16 We stopped in our Outback at a big puddle before the Huerfano/Zapata trail crossing, 0.7 miles past the ranch boundary. Somebody‘s bumper was laying on the roadside just past the puddle. Up to that point, the road is manageable in almost any vehicle. Jim Davies         
2011-06-19 that puddle the previous post mentioned is nothing. I made it no problem whatsoever in my forester. Roach‘s colorado fourteener book says some passenger cars can make it all the way to the trailhead. I don‘t know about that. I certainly wouldn‘t try. I saw about 8 cars near the trailhead and they were all trucks/suvs. mikefromcraig         
2011-06-19 Made it with absolutely no problems in a 2WD Pontiac Vibe. Couple of rocks where I‘d want a little more clearance than a standard passenger car, but could be navigated around if driving carefully. MichiganBrian         
2011-06-18 Took my 2wd Jeep Patriot to the trailhead no problem. (Same frame as the Jeep Compass, and the Dodge Caliber so just a car with a Jeep sticker on it.) I did scrape bottom a little in the same place going up and going down, but just wasn‘t paying attention on a water diversion bump both times. I wouldn‘t take a Civic or anything like that, but cars with OK clearance can make it. CO Native         
2011-06-15 Road is open all the way to the trailhead, just one minor water crossing an Outback can easily manage. vistaphil         
2011-05-29 The snow patches .4miles from the trailhead are still there, but passable with a 4wd. Stopped below them in the Subaru because they were icy, but several other 4wd made it past. thebeave7         
2011-05-21 Can now get to within 0.4mile of the upper th BillMiddlebrook         
2011-05-15 Someone cut the big aspen tree that was right by the lower trailhead. It was there on Saturday night, but not on Sunday morning. I saw some trucks about another mile from that point. SchralpTheGnar         
2011-05-07 As the others have mentioned, the snow is still in drifts at about 10000, just before the yellow grate at the national forest boundary. However, even if the snow melts, you may still have to stop at the parking area just inside the national forest boundary, as there is a large aspen tree still down across the road just beyond that parking area. Scanner         
2011-05-07 Partners got a Chevy Blazer to within 1 mile of the Lower Huerfano trailhead (2 miles from Upper Huerfano TH). Got my Honda Fit to within a couple hundred yards of the Blazer. If current warm-up continues, I‘m guessing the road will probably be clear at least to Lower Huerfano in no more than a couple of weeks. Edit: But as Scanner points out, even if the road is clear of snow, there is at least one big tree across the road before the Lower Huerfano TH. Bring a chainsaw. CarpeDM  2       
2011-05-06 Road dry to within 2 miles of trailhead - blocked by snow. BillMiddlebrook         
2011-04-17 The road is clear about a mile or so past the Singing River Ranch and is impassable just before the first large clearing where you can first get great views of Blanca. Big snow drifts exist in the road past this point, as well as a downed tree. mattpayne11         
2011-03-29 I got my Ford Focus to within about 500 yards of the Aspen River Ranch (about 5.5 miles short of Lily Lake TH), before being stopped by snow. If I had brought a shovel, I probably could have made it about another mile or so without too much trouble. JROSKA         
2010-10-23 As of Saturday evening, 10/23, the 4x road was clear of snow all the way to the trailhead. Shogun         
2010-10-15 Climbed Lindsey from the Lily Lake TH. Road was easy in a stock Jeep Grand Cherokee. Only one minor water hazard. Trail was beautiful all the way up. Minor bumps, but nothing stock vehicle couldn‘t do. I did not put it into 4X4 at all. Wet conditions would make it bad in a few spots, however. mtndude3737  1       

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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