Hermit Pass Road Trailhead
Added by BillMiddlebrook

Location:  Sangre de Cristo Range
Road Type:  Moderate 4WD, long wheel base vehicles not recommended. Good clearance required. 4   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Really rough (big rocks) above 11,500’.
Directions:  From the intersection of Colorado Highways 96 and 69 in Westcliffe, drive south on CO 69 for 0.3 mile and turn right (west) onto Hermit Road (County Road 160). Drive 6.0 miles to a fork in the road. Stay left on Hermit Road which quickly becomes rough 2WD. Approx. 1.25 miles after the fork, the road turns to 4WD. Reach the Rainbow Trail 2 miles up from the fork and the Hermit Pass Trail (goes to Hermit Lake, on left) at approx. 6 miles. The road is very rough now and continues an additional 3 miles to reach Hermit Pass (a total of approx. 9 miles from the low, 2WD fork in the road). Below 11,400’, there are lots of pull-offs and dispersed camp spots along the road.
Winter Access:  Probably closed somewhere near the lower, 2WD fork, near 8,800’.
Date Status Information Posted By  Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2014-07-09 Impassable snowdrift at 12,700. Snow-free below that. Road consists of good-sized rocks at 11,700, doable with careful 4WD. JeffR         
2011-11-23 I‘ve been up this road 2 times this month...11/11 and 11/23. The first day we were able to get to about 9200‘...which is about 1.2 miles from the left hand turn. Today I was able to get to 9500‘, 1.7 miles from the turn. I wouldn‘t expect the snow to melt out any higher for a while. There are also a ton of downed trees from the recent wind storm. ATVers have done a good job of clearing the road...so no real travel issues. But it is quite impressive to see. Dad Mike         
2011-08-08 As per my forum post, I drove my AWD 97 Toyota RAV4 up to about 11,900‘ (38.0966 -105.64194) on Monday- this is about 0.30 mi below the hairpin at Horseshoe Lake. You can see the car as a little silver speck in the attached photo, taken just a few steps down from the hairpin. I was in "L" most of the way. The other photo is of Horseshoe Lake itself. My impressions: this is a long, long, rough, long road. There are obviously no Jaws-like impediments to getting at least this far, but I was dodging large embedded rocks and squirrelling around on loose cobbles for virtually the entire way. Regardless of the type of vehicle you drive, give yourself a lot of time to get there and back, even more so for borderline vehicles like mine. In a proper high-clearance 4WD this would be fun- in my RAV4 it was rather nerve-wracking and in retrospect probably not a good idea. After parking at the end of a particularly rough section where the road crosses a scree slope, I probably could have pushed it up to the hairpin for a better place to turn around. After that, the road gets steep and narrow, and although it looks like it might smooth out a bit above 12,000, the narrowness and lack of pull-offs dissuaded me from going higher. After walking up to the Horseshoe Lake look out, I came back to the car to find a marmot sneaking out from underneath. I checked for damage and found no leaking fluids, but who knows what that little monster could‘ve done with another hour or two on his hands... The bottom line is that you can, if you really want to, get to Hermit Lake and beyond with a stock AWD with decent clearance. The question is, how lucky/confident do you feel? I myself probably won‘t be doing it again... tbg PS there are numerous campsite pull-offs below Hermit Lake, at the HL trailhead, and at HL itself (though many may be technically too close (within 300‘) of the lake). A beautiful spot! If I visit again, it will be in my truck... thebugguy  2  1      
2011-07-06 The Hermit Pass Road was dry to the last switchback below the pass, where snow was encountered. We only drove to 11,100‘ (pickup truck, slow going) and camped in an excellent dispersed camp spot then hiked the rough road. BillMiddlebrook         

Near 12,700‘, looking toward Hermit Pass (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2011-07-10)Hermit Pass seen from Hermit Peak (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2011-07-10)

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