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South Colony Lakes Trailhead
Added by BillMiddlebrook

Location:  Sangre de Cristo Range
14ers Served:  Humboldt Peak, Crestone Needle, Crestone Peak
Road Type:  Moderate 4WD, long wheel base vehicles not recommended. Good clearance required. 4   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Easy 2WD dirt to the lowest trailhead. Easy-to-Moderate 4WD (good-clearance required) dirt to the upper trailhead.
Directions:  Take Colorado 69 south from Westcliffe. Drive 4.5 miles and turn right on Colfax Lane. Drive 5.5 miles to the end of Colfax. Turn right and drive 1 mile on a dirt road to a junction. Continue straight up the 120 Road for 0.3 mile to the Lower 2WD Trailhead at 8,800. To reach the Upper 4WD Trailhead, continue 2.7 miles to parking/camp spots before the first river crossing, near 9,900. In 2009, the South Colony Lakes road was permanently closed here (gate) and this is the current trailhead. The trail starts next to the trailhead kiosk, in the parking area.
Winter Access:  Usually closed near the lower TH at the bottom of the road.
14er Trailheads on Google Maps
Date Status Information Posted By  Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2015-06-27 More confusion on the matter of this TH. Today/Yesterday, I took a Jeep Liberty up S Colony lakes for Humboldt. 1.2 miles above the lower TH, there was a deep washed out rut/hole in the road that was certainly difficult to pass. I arrived just as a Subaru Outback turned back in defeat. I personally would NOT drive a Subaru outback/forester up that road. The majority of cars at the upper TH were good clearance Jeeps, full on trucks, and only one vehicle that was smaller. So I suppose it is possible to get them up. At the lower TH was an assortment of passenger cars, CRVs, and Subarus of all makes. Respect this road, there are 2 very rough spots that defeated many Subaru drivers I saw. Corey17    4      
2015-06-14 In direct opposition to a previous trailhead report for this location, I think you could get a new Subaru to the trailhead with no worries if you have any modicum of four-wheeling experience (I‘m calling out the person who said they wouldn‘t want to get a new Subaru up there). It‘s seriously no sweat and the body or underside of the car never made any contact with the road. This is really only one section (maybe 0.2 miles before Rainbow TH) that you would need to think about your line before committing to. Even then there are a number of ways to get through it. There were several new Subarus at the trailhead (an outback and a crosstrek). If you suck at four-wheeling though you might find that one section pretty scary. Our driver in a new Subaru outback did the whole thing pretty lazily and sloppily and not a single scratch. You could get up to the S. Colony Lakes TH in a Subaru, CRV, Rav4, etc... As long as it‘s not your first time. The road is clear and dry all the way. thurs    4      
2015-06-08 Ditto previous--very accurate. Some puddles from the rain and melt, but it is the rocky road that‘ll bite your low-clearance AWD. My Tacoma did fine. I know two Arizona cowboys who could get their ancient El Camino loaded with rolls of fencing wire and a month‘s food supply up the road to Rainbow Trail TH, but I wouldn‘t try it if I had a nice Subaru. Daniel Joder         
2015-05-16 As listed previously, road is clear of snow to 4x4 trailhead. The road is more difficult than the updates/photos from Oct 2014 imply, with two sections that are more washed out and rougher than shown in those photos. You might be able to get a faux-SUV such as a Subaru/CRV/most new SUVs/etc up there, but personally, I‘d recommend a real body-on-frame 4x4 truck or SUV. My lightly modified Tundra made it easily. I‘d say the road is now a 4 of 6 in terms of difficulty. adrenalated         
2015-05-08 Road was passable to upper TH Built-to-Last    3      
2015-04-26 Pictures of difficult sections of the road. These are about .4 miles above the Rainbow Trail fork on South Colony Lakes Rd. Eagle Eye  2  1      
2015-04-25 On Saturday the 25th, a lifted toyota with rather large tires punched it through the snow and made it to the upper trailhead. There was a Nissan Pathfinder within a mile of the upper trailhead. samblack         
2015-04-10 Made it 1.4 miles above lower trail head in a Jeep Grand Cherokee . It is melting fast . Temperature here at 4 pm is 51 degrees (9600 ft). Nelson         
2015-04-04 Driveable past the 2WD TH maybe 3/4 mi before you hit too much snow to drive further sstratta         
2014-12-20 Very passable for a 4wd at least to Rainbow trail cutoff, which is as far as I went. Recent tracks in the few inches of snow on the road continued toward SCL TH. druid2112         
2014-10-25 Road is clear and dry (well, except for 2 puddles...) all the way to the campground. There were indeed a couple of rough spots for which high clearance was a blessing. Crestoner         
2014-09-15 The 2+ miles between the lower and upper trailheads is definitely 4wd. I noticed two gnarly bits in particular. However, I did see a Subaru Forester and a Honda CRV up there, but that I think would be pushing it. I was thankful for my 10" of ground clearance! addrock528    1      
2014-09-10 IMO, the road is way worse than what previous updates imply. I easily made it all the way up in my stock Cherokee, but there a few spots that would be tough for low clearance (or 2WD) vehicles. Roald    2      
2014-08-30 The South Colony Lakes Road is very rough from the 2-wheel drive trailhead and definitely requires at minimum the clearance of a Subaru Outback. Drive slowly and be careful of rocks and most people should not have problem getting up the road. For the most difficult section of the road you have to get far to the left when driving up the road to cross it if you do not have a high clearance vehicle. If you do not get far left I can definitely see that section causing vehicle damage. I was able to get a picture of an Outback going across it. Both trailheads are madhouses right now due to the holiday weekend which means there are very limited areas to park. Make sure not to park in areas designated as private property. OutbackDobbs  4  1 2    
2014-08-22 I cant wait!!! Humboldt will be my 1st attempt at a 14‘er... So excited...Thanks for your TH submissions/advice... GlitchInTheMachine         
2014-08-03 2012 stock Outback made it all the way. (It was mine you saw on sunday 8/3) Thank you to the guy who posted about the forester below, I was able to navigate that one section with ease. Nothing broken or damaged. Krullin_14ers         
2014-08-03 We made it up in an 07 Outback, the only non-SUV/truck at the TH. The spot mentioned in the last report is the hard one, stay left. We used a spotter on three or so spots on the way up and down. We never bottomed out or scraped anything. On Sunday when we got back, there was another (current generation) Outback. ezabielski    1    
2014-07-19 Got up to the upper trailhead in a stock Subaru Forester. Only one area (same as described in other posts ~0.2 mi before end of private property) gave us some trouble, but you can get past it by picking your line carefully (hint: stay left and keep some momentum going into it). Be advised though, it‘s a risky section. If you botch it, you might seriously damage your Forester (or equivalent vehicle). No where to park in this area if you can‘t make it, so you either go or go back down to basically the winter trailhead. pseudoghost    1    
2014-07-19 Getting up to the 4WD TH was no problem but coming down busted out both of the rear mud flaps in one area that is pretty nasty with some large rocks and you have to pick your line carefully. Would rate this trail as a 4 of 6 in terms of 4WD given that one spot. We were driving a 2010 Xterra. flagship47         
2014-07-18 We drove a 10 year old Jeep Grand Cherokee to the top of the 4wd trail without any problems. I think the trail requires a vehicle with low range gearing. It might be possible for the Outback and Forresters to make it to the top if the driver is willing to put a beating on the vehicle and take the chance of a sidewall blowout from a rock. steve_scherrer         
2014-07-07 The upper 4wd road has gotten worse since the last time I was there ~ 2 years ago. 2 years ago, my Forester made it up comfortably. Now, however, there‘s 1 spot where it looks pretty hard/impossible with the clearance that Forester has. This spot is 1.5 miles from the 4wd trailhead. If you make it up this spot, the rest of the way shouldn‘t be an issue. I was quite impressed to see a Jeep Compass at the 4wd trailhead, which appeared to have comparable clearance as a Forester. Note this adds ~3 miles RT to your trip - keep this in mind when planning your trip. LoveThisSite         
2014-07-06 There was a recent update that said a Subaru Outback could not make it to the 4WD TH. I just wanted to update to say that I saw at least 2 or 3 Outbacks at the 4WD TH and my husband was able to drive his Outback up there as well this weekend. There are two tricky parts on the way up (one trickier than the other just 0.2 miles before private property ends), but with some spotting and careful placement, you can make it. It‘s all a matter of preference. Otherwise, the road is good. We saw lots of vehicles parked in private property both on Friday on our drive in and today on our drive out. Not sure if they just didn‘t know it was private property or what. aliciaf         
2014-06-28 Past trip reports wanted to know what types of SUVs can successfully navigate to the top of the 4WD road. I have a 2004 Honda Pilot and it did not have any problems getting up or down this road. Other SUVs at the top were: FJ Cruiser, Xterra, Explorer, Forester, Forerunner, Trailblazer. Mostly, though, what seemed to be at the top were Jeeps and pick-up trucks. My friend‘s 2012 Outback 4WD could not make it up due to clearance issues. Also, it should be noted no restrooms at either the 2WD or 4WD trail head locations. trishkaken    1    
2014-06-21 Road to trailhead is completely free of snow with water only in a few spots. Saw a Subaru Forester at the top of the 4WD trailhead. Only one somewhat difficult 4x4 spot on the way to the upper trailhead but easily done in a stock truck or SUV with decent clearance. hberry         
2014-06-20 Road is dry from the 2WD TH to the 4WD trailhead. From the 4WD parking lot to where the newer trail splits off to the right, and heads up to the S. Colony Lakes is pretty wet. Expect to get a bit muddy due to all the run off. Gaiters recommended. Several small snowfields to cross right before the lakes themselves. Do NOT take the older trail that follows the road to the south, before curving back north and meeting the S. Colony Lakes. It is covered with a ton of avalanche debris piles, and snow drifts 4-5 feet thick in places. Very wet below the road if you descend to get around all the snow piles. RyGuy    1    

The lower 2WD trailhead and start of the SC Lakes road. (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2006-06-07)The NEW trailhead (as of 2010), at the first creek crossing. (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2011-04-03)

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