Harvard Lakes Trailhead


Road Difficulty

2WD, rough dirt road 2   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Rough 2WD dirt to the TH.

Driving Directions

Turn west on County Road (CR) 350 (Crossman Ave.) near the center of Buena Vista. This road is less than 1/2 mile north of the stoplight in the center of town. Continue on CR 350 for 2 miles and turn right onto CR 361. After almost 1 mile, turn left onto CR 365 (dirt). Continue on this road for 3.4 miles to the marked trailhead. This small trailhead is just 0.1 mile before the larger Silver Creek Trailhead (Mt. Yale). Approximately the last 1.5 miles is easy 4WD.

Winter Access

Closed near 9,200 feet.
Status Updates 
Posted By: dennywitte
Info: The North Cottonwood Road (FS365) is now open. I drove to just before the Harvard Lakes TH where it looked like people were getting stuck.
Posted By: dennywitte
Info: FS365 is closed 1.25 miles from the Harvard Lakes TH. The road is patchy dirt/snow/ice until there.
Posted By: dennywitte
Info: The North Cottonwood Road (CR365/FS365) is closed by a barricade 1/10 mile east of the national forest boundary. The last mile before the closure on CR365 has lots of ice/snow and is suitable only for 4wd vehicles with good ground clearance. From this closure you have 1.25 miles to the CT junction going north to Harvard Lakes, 1.5 miles to the Silver Creek TH and 3 miles to the North Cottonwood TH.
Posted By: dennywitte
Info: The CR365 road is plowed up to the 5th private road intersection (Princeton Hills) in the Game Trail development. There is no parking there. Vehicles with high clearance and 4wd can continue until the National Forest Boundary. There are a few parking spots there. A few people have tried to go further on the road with bad results. From the National Forest Boundary you can access the Harvard Lakes TH (1.3 miles) and Silver Creek TH (1.4 miles) on the boot packed road.
Posted By: HikesInGeologicTime
Info: Road is maintained through the turnoff to the last subdivision. After that, its just thick and soft enough that it would be somewhat annoying to ski through (due to lack of slope) and even more annoying to drive through (due to the ease with which one’s Subaru might get stuck hard enough to have steam venting out its hood shortly before its release).

Left a trail of coolant all the way back to the Loves in BV; youre not supposed to mix it with water, but apparently snow is okay, so whats on the road is free and available to anyone looking to score some sweet post-Christmas deals! Car is currently sitting in the Silverthorne dealership service lot following a dash through the snow on a one-horse open sleigh...I mean, pricy Breck-based tow truck.

Id recommend leaving this one alone until theres significant melting or unless you have high-clearance 4WD/snow tires. Bah, humbug.
Posted By: daway8
Info: Google map link on 14ers.com is WRONG!! Coordinates put you about 3/4 mile short of the actual trailhead/parking pulloff (photo#1). Coordinates for actual parking pulloff (small area on left side of road when coming from Buena Vista) are 38.86456, - 106.23875. Pulloff wraps around a tree (photo #2). Trailhead is about 10-20 feet beyond this on the right side (photo#3). Several signs mark the trailhead but can be hard to see in the dark (photos #4, #5). Road was partly covered with snow/ice but not enough to impede travel unless you have a low clearance vehicle.
Note: this trail starts on the Colorado Trail which shows up on Google Maps - that’s an easy way to know if you’re actually there.
Posted By: dennywitte
Info: See my North Cottonwood report.
Posted By: wintersage
Info: From the start of the dirt road (CR 365) to 1.5miles below the trailhead, the road still has mounds of snow in between tire tracks. A high clearance, 4WD car is recommended. There is a nice cutoff that you can park your car 1.5 miles before the trailhead, because beyond that, the road is not plowed at all and is full of deep snow. There are snowcat tracks for a short while, but don’t be fooled, soon you’ll find only footprints and even deeper snow.

A 2WD passenger car was stuck at the closure Saturday night because they attempted to go up this section. They had to be towed out Monday morning despite multiple attempts by the driver to extract the car himself (using sticks for traction, lifting the car with a jack to shovel below the wheels and around it, etc).

The snowstorm on Sunday made road conditions even worse, and I had to switch on 4Lo to get to the junction of CR 361.
Posted By: finick01
Info: Road was clear and dry to the junction with Princeton Hill Rd (about 2mi below the trailhead). Past that, it was muddy and snowy to the fork with Creek Run (about 1.3mi from trailhead), and past that deep, unplowed snow. Snow tires didn’t help with the mud. Wouldn’t recommend 2WD past the Princeton Hill junction: even if you go up early when it’s still frozen, coming down when things soften up would be unpleasant.
Posted By: Kitten
Info: We were able to drive up to about 1 mile from the Summer TH with our Suzuki SX4. Snow gets deep after that and several vehicles had trouble getting the last mile in. I would recommend 4WD and high clearance.
Posted By: sallenrogem87
Info: Road to the TH is open, dry, and clear. With the current conditions, one could access this TH with a 2WD car, just drive slow.
Posted By: screeman57
Info: Easily got to trailhead in my minivan. Mud more of an issue than snow.
Posted By: dwoodward13
Info: Parked a mile below the TH. Was basically clear to that point. Mix of a few inches of snow and ice up to the official TH, and AWD/4WD cars could make it pretty easily I think.
Posted By: Tornadoman
Info: Made it to the trailhead in a Corolla. The road has some rough spots in the last mile or so, but with careful driving it should be doable in just about an vehicle.
Posted By: bmcqueen
Info: Even with fresh snow, TH was still accessible in my AWD Highlander this am.
Posted By: Eagle Eye
Info: No closure or problems reaching Harvard Lakes TH yesterday.
Posted By: Tornadoman
Info: Road has deteriorated in the last month, and there are now washed out and eroded sections in the last 1.5 miles to the trailhead. I was still able to make it in a toyota corolla, so any car is probably fine for now unless it continues to get worse.
Posted By: Tornadoman
Info: Easily made trailhead in Toyota Corolla. A few semi-rough spots and a couple potholes, but any vehicle should be fine for this road.
Posted By: mcklarry
Info: Although there has been a lot of snow in May, the road from Buena Vista to Harvard Lakes is clear. Most two wheel drive cars can make the trip. The last mile has a so some rocks but not large
Posted By: robinbk
Info: The road is open and essentially dry all the way to Harvard Lakes and Silver Lake trailheads.
Posted By: Daniel Joder
Info: The road to the winter closure was icy, muddy, or slushy depending on the hour. Recommend AWD or 4WD just to be sure. This closure is a solid mile below the summer trailhead, so figure that in to your total distance. There was room to park maybe up to five vehicles at this closure. Since there are homes right next to this parking area, I am sure it gets plowed regularly. I didn‘t see any private property issues about parking here.
Posted By: nataliegarro
Info: The dirt road leading to the trailhead is in great condition! Made it up in my Infiniti I-35 with no problem.
Posted By: Holmoose
Info: Trailhead is easily accessible in a 2WD car. I can‘t see why any vehicle short of a sports car would have any difficulty on this mildly rough dirt road.
Posted By: metalmountain
Info: Road is completely dry to the Harvard Lakes TH, and I would assume all the way to the end of the road as well.
Posted By: semitrueskerm
Info: Okay, as of 2/7/2013, you can drive up to the furthest road accessible parking area, which is about 1.5 miles short of the Harvard Lakes TH. Very little snow, some ice. Kind of annoying, however, that they‘ve barricaded the road past this point. Yesterday, that 1.5 mile walk could have easily been driven if the barricade was not there.

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