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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 8,800í. To reach the Upper 4WD Trailhead, continue 2.7 miles to parking/camp spots before the first river crossing, near 9,900í. 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    
2011-11-13 We had to put on snow chains just past the lowest 2wd th due to icy road. About 3/4 mile past where the road takes a sharp turn and it says no parking all over we were stopped. Looks like that‘s where everyone stops. There were 4 wheeler tracks from there but there was crusty heavy knee deep snow on the road from there all of the way up to the upper TH. We did a full moon hike so no real good pics. mountainmicah83         
2011-10-16 Road to upper trail head pretty much free of snow except for a couple of small patches, should be good to go until the next snow storm comes through. Dave B         
2011-10-08 About a mile after the lower south colony t.h. the snow starts. As you gain elevation it becomes deeper and deeper. But there are some places to pull over. I would say after this weekend, it would take some pretty sweet moves to get all the way home to the upper T.H. god speed. thatstite  3       
2011-09-25 The road right past the lower 2wd parking lot for some tenths of a mile is really washed down and that‘s slow going, but the rest of the road is snow-free. A 4x4 can make it no problem. There were two subaru hatchbacks at the upper 4wd parking!! Hopefully the road stays clear another two or three weeks.. JDip         
2011-09-07 With all the recent rain, the road to south colony lakes past the 2wd parking lot is definitely 4wd only. There are some serious wash outs and mud everywhere. mrschaible         
2011-08-29 Drove up to upper portion of the dirt road in a Ford Escape, wheels never slipped to engage vehicles AWD system. 2wd‘s?? Spotted a Chevy Malibu (6.1" ground clearance, fwd) that remarkably made it up around 2 miles and parked up on an embankment off the roadside! So yes, I‘d say nearly any 2wd, preferably shorter wheel based, with some clearance (at least that 6.1"), can manage this road in dry summer conditions. 5.4 miles is a lot to consider walking if you have a competent vehicle and a skilled wheel. Boomerang         
2011-08-14 Upper trailhead not accessible to most 2WD due to difficult traction conditions on steep sections. rob runkle         
2011-08-05 2wd can probably do it so long as the conditions are dry...MUST BE HIGH CLEARANCE. seeker         
2011-08-05 Easily done in a 2WD with moderate clearance. Just a matter of knowing how to drive, I suppose. JeffR         
2011-08-01 It describes the road to the trail-head as a rough 2 wheel-drive, but I actually had my truck in 4 wheel low at one point, so there are a few tough areas dssantilli         
2011-07-27 Clear and dry to the upper trailhead. I would not drive a 2wd vehicle to the trailhead unless it had a very high clearance. We found our 4wd in use quite often. mrschaible         
2011-06-04 Just a side-note about the road condition from the new upper TH to the old upper TH: At about 1.9 mile, there is a pretty deep crossing of a portion of a runoff stream feeding into South Colony Creek. I could not find a way around this. There are some rocks to the hiker‘s right that you can step on, but they are submerged. Not far from there (almost immediately afterward), a tributary of South Colony Creek is flowing directly into the road before rejoining the creek proper. This crossing is swift, deep, and in the dark it‘s difficult to tell where the road continues. Immediately to the hiker‘s left, there is a log that you can walk across to get to the other side, but you have to walk on snow to get to it. I don‘t know how many of you have walked across smooth wood with wet boots, but I have and it wasn‘t pretty. A little further upstream I found some more logs that were closer to the ground that I used to get across. I was able to walk over the first log on my way down as my boots were pretty dry at that time. tmathews         
2011-06-04 Dry and open to the TH Yalegirl09         
2011-05-27 Road free of snow. Wet in places from melting snow. One large mud puddle near TH. 4WD condition. The new parking area looks to hold about 30 vehicles if parked efficiently. There are several camp sites being constructed along road between Rainbow TH & road closure. A new foot bridge has been constructed across the stream. Didnít see an outhouse yet. Snowshoes not needed to hike to upper old TH but there is still snow on the road. MountainHiker         
2011-05-21 4WD vehicles can make it to the upper trailhead at the time of this update. Whether or not it will remain that way remains to be seen. There were three there this morning (including mine). tmathews         
2011-04-30 I think we were in the same spot as Terry, but we camped ~0.8 miles from the Rainbow Trail trailhead. The snow was melting off on Saturday and should continue to do so with the warmer weather. Weenus         
2011-04-30 Snow from last week has limited how far folks are able to get up the road. We were anly able to drive 1.2 mile. tmathews         
2011-04-16 Toyota Rav 4 easily made it 20 minutes (2/3 mile?) below the Rainbow trail. That was the high point for all vehicles. Changing by the day! sgladbach         
2011-04-02 4wd can make it through some snow patches to 9,500ft. Approx 1.4 miles past the lower trailhead. Carl         
2011-03-05 Road to lower TH is clear and accessible. tmathews         
2011-01-17 Dry to lower 2wd TH. There is no snow until you hit the trees (roughly 1/3 mile from lower TH). It is completely impassable at that point. Snowmobiles are the only form of motorized transportation that can make it. Pic 1: Looking down the road to the lower TH Pic 2: The start of the snow (heading down). Snow is thin on this wind sweep corner but increases fast & deep. Pic 3: What the road looks like for 95%. hollamby  3  1    
2010-12-22 Lower 2x2 TH is clear and dry. snowline starts about 8,800-9,000ft up the road. Only a few inches at most on road and is driveable in trucks or Jeep only. Snow depth increases about 1.5-2.0 miles up the road to the point where even a 4x4 would be helpless. Rainbow Trail (the new TH) has about a foot of snow on the ground with some drifting. Kiefer         
2010-11-27 There is about 4-5 inches of snow on the road but, had no problem getting to Rainbow Trailhead with my X-terra. Road is passable with a 4WD that can handle the snow. Alby426  2       
2010-10-16 There are some rough sections to the upper/new TH. At a minimum, high clearance is a must. A 4WD is ideal sunny1         
2010-07-11 Gate is there. Somewhat of a rough drive up, but the stock ‘97 Cherokee did fine. I‘m not sure I‘d say a 2WD can make it... rear tires were slipping before I kicked it into 4WD, not sure front would have done better. Kojones         

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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