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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:  Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Easy 2WD dirt to the lowest trailhead. Easy 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    
2008-07-14 No problem driving my Suburban to the end of the road. The final river crossing was only about 15 inches deep. BillMiddlebrook         
2008-07-12 My Jeep Liberty and a Toyota Highlander, both non-modified made it to the top. iowa_born         
2008-07-03 Rough but passable, Water crossing is probably at 2-3 feet, Gate at the top parking lot half exposed. Cheesehead         
2008-06-17 Road is passable in 4WD up the 4WD parking area. Road seems to have been improved since 2 years ago, not quite as rough as it used to be. The gate and the trail head sign are just now starting to peek through the snow. Access from the TH to South Colony Lakes is via the snow, the trail is still completely covered, and will remain that way for at least 2 more weeks. Snow between the trees up to the lake varies from 10-30‘ deep in standard snow slide areas, to as little as 2-4 feet. Schroder         
2008-06-09 Road is passable to the 2nd major stream crossing about 1 mile from the end of the road. Still a lot of big snowdrifts in the last mile. 12ersRule         
2008-06-01 Hiked to South Colony Lakes today. Any 2WD with some clearance can get to the rainbow trail. Road becomes unpassible due to large snow drifts 1 to 1.5 miles past the large creek crossing. The creek is running high, so expect to get your shoes wet trying to cross it if you do not drive across. cpittman         
2008-05-26 The South Colony lakes road is still socked in with snow. You can drive about 2 miles beyond the lower parking lot (almost to the Rainbow Trailhead). After that, you can hike without snowshoes the additional 3.5 miles to the upper trailhead. There are several great parking/camping spots where the road becomes impassable. I would estimate the snow is about 10+ feet deep at the upper trailhead. Snowshoes are mandatory beyond the upper trailhead and a few of the slopes are sketchy, so be aware of avalanche danger. I don‘t see this road being clear until late June! Kinesiologyman         
2008-05-22 South Colony Road Update (May 22, 200: The entire road will be open all the way to the upper parking lot through the fall of 2009. In the fall of 2009, the road will be permenantly closed about halfway up. This information was confirmed by ranger Jeff Outhier who is located at the Westcliffe Forest Service office. Alan Ellis         
2008-05-04 You can now get around the fallen tree to the left, but only about 1/4 mile up the road. The snow is melting fast, and should to be able to make it much further up the road very soon. Georgie         
2008-04-19 Zero snow to 2WD parking lot. Recommend parking at 2WD parking lot, as road almost entirely covered with slushy snow inside the trees. Plus, large pine tree down over 3/4 of road just inside the trees at about 9200‘. ATVs could pass by on left, but not much else. Snow hard-packed and icy in the morning (snowshoes not needed at all), but very slushy sugar in the afternoon (still need snowshoes for afternoon). Scanner         
2008-02-17 Colfax is blocked by massive snowdrifts 3.5 miles down the road. I looks like Custer County stopped plowing past this point. If you go up in the next couple of weeks you can expect to add 2 miles to your hike to get to the T-Junction. centrifuge         
2007-07-08 As of July 4-6, 2007, the creek crossings were much lower than two weeks ago. I'd say between 6 and 9 inches lower. Interestingly enough, the lower creeks have exposed some big rocks that I couldn't see before. Made it up and down the trail without any problems, but I think it was easier the second time. Not much else has changed since I last reported. aubrey         
2007-06-26 F^^k this road lordhelmut         
2007-06-25 6/23/2007: Rocky, rough and rutted as ever. For the last 2.5 miles or so, that is. First half (up until the first creek crossing) was relatively easy. I saw a Subaru Outback parked just before the first creek crossing. First creek was easy to cross and not very high. Second creek crossing was very low. Third creek crossing came up to the bumper on my 2001 Nissan Xterra (see posted pic). As I wrote in my trip report, this a pretty serious 4x4 road for any stock SUV or truck. Water flows down many sections of the road, washing the dirt away from rocks and deepening ruts and mud pockets. I have a good 15 years of off-roading experience and this is about as rough as I'll go in a stock truck. In 1999, Gerry Roach described it as one of Colorado's roughest roads, and he said it gets worse every year. Even though improvements have been made to the lower half of the road, the upper half is still quite "interesting." And while other 4x4 roads tend to only have a few "rough" sections that challenge you, this road has non-stop roughness from the first creek crossing to the end. Driver beware. Aubrey         
2007-06-17 clear all the way to the upper trailhead. the road is muddy in spots and all the little creeks near the top of the road have overflown. jamie shanahan96         
2007-05-24 Drove to within 1 mile of upper parking lot this past weekend. Did do some driving through snowdrifts though. jcwhite         
2007-05-22 The first 2.5 or so miles of the road after the lower trailhead is clear and is easily driven in a stock 4x4 vehicle. After the first stream crossing, however, it is in very bad condition due to all of the runoff. I would recommend parking in the areas right after the stream crossing and hiking the remaining 3 or so miles to the upper trailhead. The last mile of the road is mostly covered in snow. As of May 22, everything past the foot bridge at the upper trailhead was completely covered in at least 3 to 4 feet of snow, so don't go without skis or snowshoes. w5cto         
2007-02-04 we were stopped 2.4 miles short of the lower trailhead by a sizeable snow drift on feb 3rd. the road is normally plowed and they expect it to be open within a few days. just don't plan on reaching in the trailhead in the next 24-48 hours. shanahan96         
2006-12-13 The First half of the road as you pass through private property is fine. The snowpack increases as you continue up. The furthest I got up(in a jeep laredo), was 50 feet past the sign for the San Isabel forest boundary. bmratc         
2006-08-23 Ready for this? My 1985 Subaru Wagon GL made it to the TOP of the South Colony Lakes Road. I would not recommend attempting a feat like this. I just wanted to show that it could be done. BTW the new road improvements are amazing for the first couple miles. tommy dorr         
2006-07-11 The road "improvement" work on the lower section of road up to South Colony Lakes has been completed. It looks like they worked some sections of the lower 2.5 miles, primarily to add drainage sluce cut-offs. 4WD vehicles can easily (but slowly) navigate the first 2.5 miles (approximately half way to the upper trail head). After that point there are a number of really "interesting" sections which will challenge the best 4WD drivers. (Big rocks mixed with deep pockets.) We did see four cars at the upper trailhead, so we know it is possible for some. Two were very short/high Jeep "CJ" versions. One was a pickup and (surprisingly), one was a newer Jeep Cherokee. Being cautious, we parked near the first big chasm in the road - at 2.5 miles. From there we needed 70 minutes to walk to the upper trailhead. But since even the most adventurous driver would still need ~30 minutes to drive it, we really added very little to the total trip time. The road is plenty wide everywhere, but some of the rocks, dips and mud pockets would dictate the use of a truck with skid plates and a short wheelbase. philbucher         
2006-06-24 We arrived at this trailhead on 6-23-2006 and discovered that the Road Construction closure date has been extended to June 30, 2006. The road is still open to hiking, but not vehicles; thus you'll have to hike the road for apprx. 5.5 miles to the TH. The F.S. Office in Westcliffe also told us that there is a proposal to close this road permanently. Just FYI mpa         
2006-06-19 Road was in rough shape 6/17 in AM, worse in PM. Road repair was halted for the weekend. The right vehicles could make it to the gate. Only short wheelbase, high clearance vehicles should attempt this road. Those that made it said their vehicle took some very hard hits on the way up. Both creek crossings were quite shallow and had rocky bottoms. Vehicle coming up Saturday basically destroyed what was left of the road. ATV's and dirt bikes are the way to go here. GoHigher         
2006-06-06 June 12th - 23rd road work closing South Colony Rd. See Forum topic \"Trailheads, Roads, Camping\" Subject \"South Colony Road Closed?\" GoHigher         
2006-06-01 The road is free os snow all the way to the gate. It's still strictly a 4WD road. nickonov         

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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