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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    
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         
2010-05-23 The road is clear all the way to the new gate. mtnmaneric         
2010-05-07 Good clearance vehicles can now drive nearly 1.5 miles up from the lower trailhead to a point just prior to entering the National Forest. There are a couple of pull-offs in the area. This leaves you a mile below the (new) upper trailhead. BillMiddlebrook         
2010-04-22 Good clearance vehicles can now drive about 3/4mile above the low 2WD trailhead before reaching snow. After that there‘s still plenty of snow on the road. BillMiddlebrook         
2010-04-10 Road was still snowpacked above the 121 intersection, but looks to be melting fast. I suspect somebody with 4wd (and possibly chains or straps to get out when it is soft) could make it to the lower parking area (about 1/4 mile further). There were tire tracks for about a mile up the road, but I think they had to come in and out in the morning when the road was frozen. Still postholed up to my knees in places up to the Rainbow Trail, so I suspect it will be a while before vehicles can get up very high. emcee smith         
2010-03-27 Trailhead directions (above) have been updated to reflect the new trailhead location. BillMiddlebrook         
2010-03-26 Talked to the ranger in Westcliffe today. There is now a permanent closure of South Colony road at 2.6 miles past the lower TH/parking lot (approximately one-half mile past the Rainbow Trail marker). At the closure is a new gate and parking for about 30 vehicles. They also have new designated campsites along the road and are in the process of constructing designated campsites in the basin. The ranger also told me today that eventually, there will be a permit/fee system to access the South Colony area, but that is several years away. Alan Ellis         
2010-02-18 Car transport ends at the junction with CO 121. About 1/4 mile below the 2wd parking. RoanMtnMan         
2010-01-23 No surprise the road above the 2wd parking is drifted in and then plenty of snow above the second cattle guard. Needed 4wd to get from the road below the last 1/4 mile to the parking. piper14er  4       
2009-11-16 Gate in place at 1st creek. Went up via snowmobile. We could only drive the truck to just after the cattle gate down low. killingcokes         
2009-10-03 A sign at the first stream corssing states the upper road will be closing for good on October 13th. Hurry, you have 9 days left! 8...7... TravelingMatt         
2009-08-18 I got a Kia Spectra and my friend driving behind me got a Toyota Camry approximately 1.8 miles beyond the "4WD" sign on 8-7-08. The main thing that was required was very slow and careful driving to get this far. I let several high clearance vehicles pass me en route. However, at approximately 1.8 miles in, or about 0.2 mi before the Rainbow Trail crossing, I reached an obstacle(a steep hill with rocks and loose dirt that I could not get over unless I had a running start, which I was unwilling to do because of numerous rocks below this hill). There was a nice pull-out just below this hill big enough for two vehicles and my friend and I parked here and walked the rest of the way up. It was useful for our situation to get this far in a 2WD vehicle because we reached a reliable water source within 0.5 miles at the first stream crossing. Had we parked at the 2WD trailhead, we would have had to walk a rather hot and dry 2.3 miles to get to a water source. This road really is a rocky 4WD road the entire way, and I would plan on having plenty of water when I arrive at the 2WD trailhead if I only have a 2WD car. Thunder Dan         
2009-07-24 Aug 11th to Sep 11th this year, the upper part of the road (just past the 1st creek crossing) will be closed during the week for construction. On Monday thru Friday, the road will be closed from 7:30am-5:30pm. There will be brief periods allowing vehicles through at 10am, 12:30pm, & 3:30pm. If you are traveling the road between 5:30pm and 7:30am, it will be open. denvermikey         
2009-07-21 The road up to South Colony is, in my opinion, much worst than last year. Last Sept, I drove my CRV to the trailhead, surprised at how easy it was, and I never bottomed out. On 7/21/09 I tried to make the same drive in the same vehicle, and it was disasterous. It was dark, so I pushed farther than I should have, but eventually stalled out on a steep section covered with loose gravel. I bottomed out a few times before giving up 1.6 miles from the trailhead. On the way down, I was stunned at what I made it past the night before. I had no business being there in a CRV. My recommendation is a CRV type vehicle could make it to the river crossing with come creative driving, but after that, it is truly a 4x4 road. Nasty. James Scott         
2009-07-06 I was there a month ago and regretted not taking my 2wd up to S. Colony Creek b/c the road was in such good shape. Do not have any illusions now about taking a Kia Sephia up a couple of miles unless you want to trash it. Road is open all the way but very bumpy and rocky- it will take plenty of time even in a good 4wd to get to the TH. utepasspro         
2009-06-11 Clear of snow all the way to the 4wd trailhead. Cars can drive at least 2 miles in on the 4 wheel road which was demonstrated by a compact Kia Sephia today. JB99         
2009-05-30 I was able to drive about 4.2 miles from the 2wd trailhead and was stopped by major snow drifts. 2 people got across the stream that stopped me and got about .1 miles further. This will only change gradually over the next week or two Nelson         

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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