Grays 4WD?

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Grays 4WD?

Post by oldknees »

Will be renting a car and it sounds like Grays may need a 4WD car to get to the trailhead? Is this true? If so, how bad is it and are there any alternative 14ers in the vicinity that are good for a first time hike and hit the 3k+ elevation gain?
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Re: Grays 4WD?

Post by nyker »

See earlier thread about parking tickets. You might not get a spot even with the proper vehicle and then need to park down at the I-70 lot anyway, which isn't a bad walk up so I wouldn't cancel the hike just b/c you can't get to the upper TH and can get Torreys if you're feeling good also.
Also, when renting a "normal" car from the standard airport rental companies, the agreement you sign forbids you to drive off road so if there is any damage on the car you'll probably not be covered by insurance unless specifically stated....just an fyi.
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Re: Grays 4WD?

Post by AndrewLyonsGeibel »

That road must have gotten a lot worse in the last 4 years. In 2017 I took a lowered sedan to the upper trailhead. I don’t know that I’d take a rental off of the main roads. Like nyker said, if you damage it, it’s likely to get expensive quickly. Just park right off of 70 and hike up.
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Re: Grays 4WD?

Post by strayster2 »

There's some reeeeallly bad rutted out sections just before the AirBnb right now. I saw plenty of Subarus at the upper parking lot but it 100% depends on driver skill and comfort level.
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Re: Grays 4WD?

Post by Cygnus X1 »

If you want an easy peak and 3000' gain, you could do Bierstadt from the parking area at the Naylor Lake turnoff (the winter lot).
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Re: Grays 4WD?

Post by mnsebourn »

Several years ago I got my 2WD Tundra up to the summer trailhead. But it was an awful road even then, and I was thankful for every inch of ground clearance.

It’s apparently done nothing but get worse. I sure wouldn’t take a rental on it.

Bierstadt is nearby. Or, if you can drive another hour or so, head down to Leadville and get Elbert or Massive. That trailhead road is dirt, but it’s a *lot* better than the Grays road.
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Re: Grays 4WD?

Post by curt86iroc »

10 years ago I easily drove my nissan sentra to the TH, but the road has changed a lot since then. please don't take a rental car up there. you won't make it and will likely block the road for others and potentially first responders.
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Re: Grays 4WD?

Post by Brad Musil »

It's possible--and only possible--with 4WD, but that road is currently in bad shape. My buddy and I hiked Grays and Torries last Thursday.

We did not have 4WD and knew from the get-go that we'd have an additional six miles as a result. I'd actually argue that the road itself, especially toward the beginning, offers some of the toughest portions of the hike. It's very steep and, as others have mentioned, very rutted out in portions. We were lucky enough to have someone offer us a ride about a mile into our initial ascent up the road (between the winter and summer trailheads). Interestingly, the road was so bad at times, with huge potholes everywhere and a sheer cliff on my side of the vehicle, I caught myself thinking that I'd rather be waking because if the driver screws up at all...Speaking of the driver, he was really cool and knowledgeable. We eventually made it all the way to the summer trailhead, but it was not easy in his Toyota Rav4 and there were a couple times he expressed skepticism regarding our prospects of making it past sections of the road. This was all during and after some beautiful weather, mind you.

We walked the entire three-mile road between trailheads on the way down, netting over 12 miles round-trip for the combo hike. We bagged Sherman two days later! As others have mentioned, there are probably plenty of other options for you. Good luck!
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Re: Grays 4WD?

Post by OK_hunter »

I did Gray's and Torreys on Monday. I own a 2016 Tahoe 4x4, but non Z71 so the front air dam will scrape on curbs in parking lots LOL. I will straight up tell you that if you hate your Subaru, you can get it to the summer trailhead but it'll take some guts. There was a Subaru in front of me that couldn't make it across the rutted section by the air bnb - they backed down over to the side and let me by, but I couldn't take a very good line. I had it in 4-lo and the rear locker (g80/auto locker) had to engage twice. I scraped the front air dam pretty hard on the way down in the same section. Otherwise, the road was in desperate need of grading and you couldn't drive more than 3 mph without hitting your head on the side window.
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Re: Grays 4WD?

Post by wineguy »

I don't understand these comments about not taking rentals. I thought that was rentals were for, places you wouldn't take your own vehicle. I took a rental Ford Explorer to the Nellie Creek TH years ago, would never take my own vehicle there. Also took a rental to the upper South Colony Lakes TH years ago, before USFS closed the road to the upper TH.
"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters." - Norman Maclean
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Re: Grays 4WD?

Post by thebeave7 »

Depends on your driving skills too. I took my Rav4 up there a month ago, zero issues, but the road is rutted and bumpy as others state. Definitely wouldn't take a low clearance vehicle up it, but a driver with some experience and skill should have no problem getting a cross-over up there.

Though as one of the other users mentioned there are MAJOR parking issues at the TH, and it's very restricted, such that you're unlikely to get a weekend spot unless you're there at 4a.

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Re: Grays 4WD?

Post by chassis »

We did the Grays/Torreys road in August 2020 and it was appalling. Grapefruit size rocks across the road surface, ruts and steep inclines. We did it in a 2017 Mercedes GLE with 4MATIC. The vehicle never broke a sweat. The occupants did.

The GLE has 8” of ground clearance and we didn’t scrape anything. Choose your line carefully, in other words you need to know what you are doing.

We plan to take this road again to summit Torreys which we didn’t do last year because of summit snow/ice the morning of our hike.

I can’t say that 4WD is required, but it increases the chances of success. Wet conditions would require 4WD.
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