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-to-Moderate 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 9,950’. 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    
2015-10-15 Drove up to the 4WD TH with a ‘06 Toyota Highlander with no issues whatsoever. It truly is class 3 now, maybe even less so as I had an easier time than on Mt. Princeton Road as there are no tight turns. Definitely some areas needing higher clearance but nothing too crazy. bigDmulc009         
2015-09-27 Agree with previous poster - road is rough, but doable by truck or SUV. Pro tip: If you make it to Rainbow Trail, you can make it the last half mile to the parking lot, it actually gets better. dullroar         
2015-09-17 The road up to South Colony Lakes has been bulldozed and is WAY worse shape than I‘ve seen it in the past. The operator really tore stuff up. I‘ve drove to the top trailhead before (more than once) in a Ford Focus. This time descent clearance is necessary (think F150 / Jeep). hollamby         
2015-09-11 Took my 2006 Honda CRV (approx 8" clearance - no skid plates) up to the 4WD trailhead on September 11. The road is starting to get rough again here and there. Had to drive some sections pretty slowly and carefully, and really had to watch some of the holes and rocks. Hit bottom once, in spite of everything. Not having low range meant I had to go at some of the steeps a little harder and faster than I liked, which caused a little too much bouncing and spinning for my taste, especially with unprotected undersides. If you are taking a subie or another cute-ute - just be careful. I miss my Explorer... marklmortier         
2015-09-06 On July 28, I turned around in shame @1.3 miles up the 4WD road, as my Jeep Patriot was defeated. After I heard reports of road repairs in August, I felt it was worth giving it another shot. This time, I made it to the 4WD TH rather easily. The boulders in the section that defeated me are gone, and I can testify first-hand that this road is in much better shape than it was two months ago. They did a very nice job. Right now, I would actually call this an "Easy 4WD road". I even saw a Nissan Sentra and a Volkswagen about a half-mile short of the Upper TH. Didn‘t see any low-clearance passenger cars actually at the Upper TH, although I suppose it‘s possible with care and determination. I wouldn‘t recommend it though, as there were a couple of pretty rough sections between where I saw those cars and the Upper TH. JROSKA         
2015-08-23 Well, this guy made it. Not saying I‘d try it in that car, but he made it. vdavidoff  1  2      
2015-08-23 4WD road was easy in our Subaru Outback. Be careful to avoid some larger rocks and ruts in the road, but overall it looks like they did a great job grading! Saw at least one 2WD vehicle made it a few hundred yards from the TH parking lot on the 4WD road, but I would take great caution in a 2WD vehicle. (This particular 2WD we saw was a nice shiny BMW...brave soul that was to possibly clank that car...) gabsimonelouise         
2015-08-16 The bulldozer is still there! After three days of 2 hr downpours the road is settling nicely. The work they‘ve done is just getting better. Also it looks like they are planning to do more work. A Saturn (with a Girl Scout license plate) made it all the way. This may now be a class 3 road instead of a class 4. mspalding         
2015-08-13 I echo ORION‘s report. I was probably the last driver up the "old horrible road" in my 2WD 1966 Ford truck at 12:30am on the 13th. In its previous condition, most people would call 2 or 3 sections "very severe". I descended the road around 6pm after a surprising and long-overdue regrading, and ALL of the severe areas were GONE and the entire road was relatively flat, though with lots of deep loose dirt and big rocks (some 1-2 feet in size). I hope it gets packed down well before the next heavy rain! I noticed nobody talked about the road‘s steepness either, so I will add this: The road is mostly a gentle grade, but with a few moderately steep sections. bedevere         
2015-08-13 Road work was being done today with a Cat (ok a Deere) along the entire road between the upper and lower THs. Right now it‘s a kind of a mess, and they have a lot left to do, but it‘s passable most of the way in an average 4WD SUV. If it rains you‘d have a real problem with all of the loose dirt, but a lot of the large boulders are already gone, and the road should be in good shape when they complete the work. ORION         
2015-08-08 Road is very rough 4WD. I was driving a 2006 4Runner. I don‘t remember it being this rough in the past. I managed to negotiate the previous poster‘s 3 areas (pictures), but they are are in worse shape now. A solid stock 4WD (i.e...Jeep, 4Runner, Xteraa, or truck etc...) can manage it, anything less and I would be hesitant. summit21    1      
2015-08-01 Here are the two spots that made me glad I‘d left my CRV at the lower trailhead--but there were several low clearance SUVs at the upper trailhead. The third pic is just before the end of private property at the beginning. Blix  3  2      
2015-07-17 Drove up to the top TH with a 2014 Subaru Forrester. To whomever said they did put in their best "girl scout effort" and failed, well, that‘s probably because girls don‘t drive cars. Women do. Barely bottomed out once, and it was exciting, but as long as you keep the momentum going, there is no reason why a Subaru can‘t get up this. Saw an older (better, I think- the new Subies are ugly) Subaru Forrester at the TH also (7.5" clearance). breezytrees         
2015-07-17 We took a 2WD Nissan Titan with lager after market tires up to the upper 4WD trail head and had a surprisingly difficult time clearing a couple of sections of the dirt road. We had to attempt a section twice due to its difficulty. We sustained a little bit of body damage due to a large boulders that somehow hit the truck but still managed to make it to the South Colony Lakes Trailhead. We ascended later at night at about 10PM, and took things slowly to avoid any complications. With patience and a little bit of smarts you should be able to make it up the 4WD trail in the appropriate vehicle. I forgot to add that we had dry conditions on the way up. Good Luck! vik1087  2       
2015-07-12 Made it to the top in a 2014 Forester. There were a few troublesome sections but we made it. Kind of depends on how much you want to beat your car up. We had to fill in a section with rocks and take a run at it just to make it. But never bottomed out. But like I said just depends on what you are willing to try and how hard you are willing to push your car. bradyj    1    
2015-07-09 Well I‘ll throw my .02 cents into this and muddy the waters even more. 2 years ago I took my Subaru all the way to the TH. The same spot where the .2 miles of private property sign is gave me grief and troubles but I made it. Well not this year. I gave it a half hearted girl scout attempt but couldn‘t get through. I didn‘t try overly hard for fear of damage to something. I‘m now driving a 2014 Forester. But for what it‘s worth there was an older model Outback at the TH on 7/10. So I‘m not really sure what to tell everyone. Give it a shot but you are warned. It could chew you up if you don‘t make it. I‘m not sure why they don‘t fix this spot. I know it‘s on private property but people end up parking just before it anyway on the private property. And you‘re still getting all the traffic on the road from people trying to get to the TH. I dunno (shrug). herdbull         
2015-06-27 More confusion on the matter of this TH. Today/Yesterday, I took a Jeep Liberty up S Colony lakes for Humboldt. 1.2 miles above the lower TH, there was a deep washed out rut/hole in the road that was certainly difficult to pass. I arrived just as a Subaru Outback turned back in defeat. I personally would NOT drive a Subaru outback/forester up that road. The majority of cars at the upper TH were good clearance Jeeps, full on trucks, and only one vehicle that was smaller. So I suppose it is possible to get them up. At the lower TH was an assortment of passenger cars, CRVs, and Subarus of all makes. Respect this road, there are 2 very rough spots that defeated many Subaru drivers I saw. Corey17    4      
2015-06-14 In direct opposition to a previous trailhead report for this location, I think you could get a new Subaru to the trailhead with no worries if you have any modicum of four-wheeling experience (I‘m calling out the person who said they wouldn‘t want to get a new Subaru up there). It‘s seriously no sweat and the body or underside of the car never made any contact with the road. This is really only one section (maybe 0.2 miles before Rainbow TH) that you would need to think about your line before committing to. Even then there are a number of ways to get through it. There were several new Subarus at the trailhead (an outback and a crosstrek). If you suck at four-wheeling though you might find that one section pretty scary. Our driver in a new Subaru outback did the whole thing pretty lazily and sloppily and not a single scratch. You could get up to the S. Colony Lakes TH in a Subaru, CRV, Rav4, etc... As long as it‘s not your first time. The road is clear and dry all the way. thurs    4      
2015-06-08 Ditto previous--very accurate. Some puddles from the rain and melt, but it is the rocky road that‘ll bite your low-clearance AWD. My Tacoma did fine. I know two Arizona cowboys who could get their ancient El Camino loaded with rolls of fencing wire and a month‘s food supply up the road to Rainbow Trail TH, but I wouldn‘t try it if I had a nice Subaru. Daniel Joder         
2015-05-16 As listed previously, road is clear of snow to 4x4 trailhead. The road is more difficult than the updates/photos from Oct 2014 imply, with two sections that are more washed out and rougher than shown in those photos. You might be able to get a faux-SUV such as a Subaru/CRV/most new SUVs/etc up there, but personally, I‘d recommend a real body-on-frame 4x4 truck or SUV. My lightly modified Tundra made it easily. I‘d say the road is now a 4 of 6 in terms of difficulty. adrenalated         
2015-05-08 Road was passable to upper TH Built-to-Last    3      
2015-04-26 Pictures of difficult sections of the road. These are about .4 miles above the Rainbow Trail fork on South Colony Lakes Rd. Eagle Eye  2  1      
2015-04-25 On Saturday the 25th, a lifted toyota with rather large tires punched it through the snow and made it to the upper trailhead. There was a Nissan Pathfinder within a mile of the upper trailhead. samblack         
2015-04-10 Made it 1.4 miles above lower trail head in a Jeep Grand Cherokee . It is melting fast . Temperature here at 4 pm is 51 degrees (9600 ft). Nelson         
2015-04-04 Driveable past the 2WD TH maybe 3/4 mi before you hit too much snow to drive further sstratta         

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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