Missouri Gulch Trailhead


Road Difficulty

2WD, easy dirt road 1   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD dirt to the TH.

Driving Directions

From Leadville: Drive 20 miles south on U.S. 24 and turn right on the Chaffee County 390 road. From Buena Vista: Drive 14.5 miles north on U.S. 24 and turn left on the Chaffee County 390 road. On the 390 road, drive 7.5 miles to a sign for the Missouri Gulch trailhead. Turn left and drive down into the large parking area. There are restrooms here.

Winter Access

Closed near 9,200 feet - almost 4 miles below the TH.
Status Updates 
Posted By: supranihilest
Info: Chaffee County Road 390 is only plowed a couple of miles in. Past that there is a set of tire tracks continuing up the very snowy road, but that’s it: one set of tracks. If you venture outside of that track you instantly get sucked into the bottomless powder on the sides. We didn’t make it to the trailhead (our intention was to go to Winfield) and I almost got stuck, requiring me to rock my van back and forth in 4WD to get back on the tracks, whereupon I backed nearly a mile very carefully down, staying neatly on the tracks. They did continue past our stopping point but for how long I can’t say. Don’t get stuck.
Posted By: jscully205
Info: Was able to drive all the way normal trailhead in a 4wd Tacoma. Similar vehicles with some clearance would most likely make it until the next storm. Road was tire tracked the entire way but some sections still had 8-12 to drive through.
Posted By: RWSchaffer
Info: Chaffee County Road 390 was well plowed to the new plow turn, about three miles below the trailhead. 2WD vehicles should park just below the plow turn. The remaining road was fairly uniformly and continuously covered by several inches of snow; the snow was well tracked, and most 4WD vehicles would probably make it to the trailhead.
Posted By: lasallecrew2
Info: Easily accessable by 2WD. No snow on road or at parking lot.
Posted By: mountainmanfrank
Info: Trailhead is easily accessible by any vehicle. Plenty of parking on dirt road if parking lot is full (which it probably will be early in the morning).
Posted By: hogantheepic
Info: Totally accessible with a RWD low clearance vehicle (though not suuuuper low clearance, just your average clearance). No snow anywhere near road elevations anymore.
Posted By: angry
Info: Dry to th. Stop being disgusting and leaving your poop bags next to the restroom.
Posted By: Eagle Eye
Info: The CC 390 road is in fine, washboard-like summer shape. However, the bathrooms are now closed.
Posted By: Posthole Pete
Info: Easily driveable with 4WD. Southern side of the road is still holding some snow. Snow is mostly in patches. Only one big patch of snow left about .15 mile from the trailhead but the north side of the road of that patch is dirt. Bathroom is unlocked. Had a great poop.
Posted By: Wildernessjane
Info: Got about a mile up the road past the turn-around in a 4WD van. Easy to turn around here and space for multiple vehicles.
Posted By: angry
Info: Parked right below snow plow turnaround, approximately 3.1 miles below th ~9,000ft.
Posted By: RWSchaffer
Info: County Road 390 is plowed to a plow turn 0.9 miles beyond the ranch entrance (the ranch entrance is about 4 miles below the trailhead). Unfortunately, the only parking area along this stretch is a mere quarter mile above the ranch on the south side; 2WD cars like mine will want to park here. No parking at the plow turn, the sign says.

One might imagine that the unplowed road would drive OK, given that it has only 3-4 inches of reasonably compacted snow on it, yet vehicles were getting stuck. Like the Mercury Mountaineer that I found abandoned in the lane of travel early in the morning -- it was gone by the time I returned in the evening. Three sets of wheeled vehicle tracks have gotten as far as two miles above the ranch, and one of those looks to have gotten stuck. There appears to be parking for two vehicles on the north side of the road about 0.1 miles above the plow turn; proceed beyond that at your own risk.

Snow machines can and have made it to the trailhead without apparent difficulty.
Posted By: CaptCO
Info: Road is open all the way. I only felt comfortable going about 1.7 miles from the TH and pitched tent last night. After the private property the only tracks were mine in roughly 6-8 of snow.
Posted By: lfishsays
Info: Road is still open. Packed snow/ice for the majority of the road.
Posted By: CaptCO
Info: A little snow/Ice 3.5 or so before the TH. Only 2 other cars parked there, and I believe it was from both of the groups that didnt attempt to summit. Super chill day in the Sawatch besides breaking trail in 50mph winds
Posted By: daway8
Info: Still totally clear and dry despite last week’s snow. Don’t even see snow on trail until a ways in.
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Summer conditions at the trailhead, of course. The trail is snow-free to the old cabin, near tree line. Once you exit the trees, there’s intermittent snow to the Belford turn-off then mostly snow to the Missouri turn-off then all snow up Missouri.
Posted By: spartan0512
Info: Trail head is in perfect summer condition. Any vehicle could make it there.
Posted By: Shutterbug
Info: Took a tracked RZR900 up to the trailhead, there were no tire tracks yet.
Snow was deep and soft, RZR900 pulled really hard anytime I left the existing snowmobile path laid.
I would not try it with tires, even with chains.

CR390 was dirt up to about the 4 mile mark, then a 3’ mound of snow to traverse.
Posted By: bond22
Info: The road is snow covered all the way to TH. Any 4wd vehicle should be able to make it.
Posted By: Eagle Eye
Info: About the same as Dose reported 12/24, the 390 road is snow covered and the Missouri Gulch parking lot even more so. There is an "ice flow" place on the road (before the Missouri Gulch TH) maybe 50 feet long that was very wet & slick later in the day. One part of it was broken through.

The road basically ends at Winfield. There is just enough room to turn around but not safely park, I thought. I drove .1 mile? down the 4WD road toward Lake Ann/Huron TH which only had boot tracks, but decided not to risk pulling into the big 2wd parking lot & backed out. Instead I packed down a little side track off the main road and parked by the first Winfield cabin.

A "dually" pick-up truck came up late in the day when I was leaving, and kind of fish-tailed a good portion of the road, and all the way to Winfield. I don’t know if they had that much lack of traction or were just spinning their tires for fun but it messed up the "two nice tire tracks" aspect of the road pretty bad. Happy New Year
Posted By: Dose
Info: Road is good to Missouri Gulch. Drove a 2WD Rav 4 with no issues. Parking lot has about 3 inches of snow. Looks like the tracks go further past Missouri Gulch TH but not sure how far.
Posted By: JulianSmith
Info: No problems getting to the TH on 12/8/18. Snow and ice on the road in, but not drifts or anything special to deal with. I drove a 4-wheel drive PU, and there was a Subaru in the parking lot. The parking lot had a few inches of snow in it.
Posted By: paigie_42
Info: 2WD road open all the way up to Missouri Gulch trailhead. There were some spots with snow covering the road, but it was all packed down and my little 2WD pickup had no problems.
Posted By: bmcqueen
Info: Road is clear and dry to Missouri Gulch. First part must have also been grated recently - smoother than normal).

© 2021 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.