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Matterhorn Creek Trailhead
Added by BillMiddlebrook

Location:  San Juan Mountains
14ers Served:  Wetterhorn Peak, Uncompahgre Peak
Road Type:  Moderate 4WD, long wheel base vehicles not recommended. Good clearance required. 4   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Rough 2WD dirt to 10,300’. 4WD to 10,800’ at the TH.
Directions:  From Lake City, turn west onto Second street. Drive 0.1 mile and turn left onto Henson Creek Road (Alpine Loop Scenic Byway) and begin measuring mileage from here. Near 5 miles, pass the Nellie Creek trailhead sign. Near 9 miles, turn right onto the North Henson Road which is more rough than the Henson Creek road but can still be driven by most good-clearance vehicles. Near 11 miles, there is another junction with a sign indicating the Matterhorn Creek trailhead is ahead. Park here if you don’t have a 4WD vehicle or turn right and continue 0.7 mile to the trailhead and parking area.
Winter Access:  Usually closed a short distance up the Henson Creek road - many miles from the TH.
14er Trailheads on Google Maps
Date Status Information Posted By  Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2014-06-08 Road is easily drivable all the way to the upper TH. The last .7 miles is as nasty as it always is i.e. you need 4wd. Nelson         
2014-06-02 Henson Creek Road completely clear to turn-off 9.2 miles at 9,700‘. The steep and rough 2.0 mile (sign posted) spur road to the right is also clear, but a little eroded, and an Outback or similar is recommended, but not mandatory. The 4x4 road up Matterhorn Creeks east side looks clear, but has snow 3-4‘ drifts 100yds up covering most of the road, although an ATV could get through. Should be a week or two to drive up, but its only 0.6 miles up the road to the trailhead, so walking isn‘t a problem. glencharnoski  1       
2013-09-03 With the heavy rain, the road is getting very difficult. The creek crossings are shallow, but 30ft wide. Lots of large puddles. Overall, I would not attempt the road without a truck-based, high clearance, short wheelbase vehicle. zsmith         
2013-08-25 Heavy weekend rain but road to TH is passable with 4x4 and high clearance. wattsup         
2013-06-13 High clearence 4wd needed for the last portion. My Tacoma made it up and I only scraped once. I‘ll just say it was because I drove up it at night. I did not scrape on the way down. djrunner         
2013-05-26 You can make it up to the 4WD trailhead: is clear and in great shape. jmanner         
2013-05-12 Road is still clear to the 2wd parking area. Only one drift about 20 yards long and a couple feet deep near the start of the 4wd road is all that is left on the road to the upper TH. One weeks melt and a determined 4wd should be able to make it. sdkeil         
2013-05-03 Road is clear to the lower trailhead as of today. Immediately above that its snowed in. Have fun killingcokes         
2012-09-02 The last .7 mile to the upper TH is rough, but acceptable for stock 4WD vehicles. Strongly suggest this not be attempted in a standard passenger vehicle. A minimum of 8.5 inches of ground clearance, skid plates, and off-road tires recommended. Bullwinkle         
2012-08-25 My 2WD Camry made it to turnoff to Matterhorn Creek TH. A few spots on the "North Henson Creek" road made me cringe a little but I went slowly and made it through. To get to the upper 4WD trail you need a vehicle with some serous clearance, tires, and you must possess proficient driving skills; if you have to pass someone you‘re in big trouble. Even if I had a 4WD I‘d just walk - driving saves you only 0.7 miles. zephyr_pelicante         
2012-06-23 Road to the LOWER parking area is easier than the road going all the way up to Nellie Creek TH (Uncompahgre). We saw an Impreza WRX at this lower Matterhorn TH area. Having heard of the steepness of the road leading up to the upper TH, we left my manual tranny ‘07 Forester XT (7.9" clearance, 99.4" wheelbase) at this lower area, also. Beyond this, we only saw large pickups, Jeeps, and a 4Runner at the upper TH. Just before reaching the upper TH, the road forks with both options leading to the upper parking, but as mentioned in previous posts, the left option is the way to go unless you‘re looking for something interesting. Spots for 3-4 tents at the top. At the base of the fork mentioned above, there‘s space for maybe 1-2 tents more. AeroFaze         
2012-05-25 The TH is completely dry and open for business. Any remaining snow from a few weeks ago is long gone, and the road is in great shape for any competent 4wd vehicle. Agree with Anna that the best option is to go left near the top of the 4wd TH. Zambo         
2012-04-07 The Hanson Creekroad is closed at the Nellie Creek Turn off. This means you have an extra 6 mile walk to the upper Matterhorn TH. I noticed that quite a few people were going around the closure to the right . On the day I was there they were getting up to 10,100 or .4 miles on the North Hanson road. Things ar melting fast and I am sure that equally nefarious people will soon be able to get to the turn off to the upper trailhead. Nelson         
2011-07-31 The 4wd trail consists of the final 0.8 miles to the trailhead with the roughest section being the lowest 0.2 miles of the road. The road improves slightly after this lower section. The character of this road is slow driving and tire placement. I had no problems in a stock jeep cherokee, never bottomed out and it took about 15 minutes to reach the top. There is sufficient room to pass opposing vehicles along the way. MonGoose         
2011-06-15 Open to the upper, 4WD trailhead. BillMiddlebrook         
2011-05-28 Once turning off onto the Matterhorn Creek Road, you can get approx .5 miles up the rough 2wd road before having to stop. From there, there are still some sizeable and deep drifts intermittently all along the way to the lower TH. From the lower TH to the upper 4wd TH, there is deep snow almost the entire way. Bad news is, right now you can expect to add 1.5 miles to get up the road, good news is that it is only approx 500 vertical and an easy hike in. Given how much snow is still on the road, my guess is it will take some time still before it fully dries out. Zambo    1      
2011-05-14 The gate is open and the road is plowed past Capitol City. Once turning off onto the Matterhorn Creek Road, you can get about 1/4-1/2 mile up before the snow is too deep to drive through. There is parking at this area. Easy access is now available for this peak. PKelley         
2011-04-13 Gate still closed, and road is getting less and less snow covered. Your sled will hate you if you go right now. PKelley         
2011-04-03 Gate still closed 1/4 mile above Nellie Creek. We were able to snowmobile to Matterhorn trailhead. ~1/3 mile of dry road broken by patches of snow going to Capitol City. cjw    1    
2010-08-03 Made it no problem to the lower trailhead in my Subaru outback. Road is clear and really not very rough up until the last half mile which is clearly marked as high clearance only. crossfitter         
2010-06-15 The trees have been removed and the road is completely clear to the upper trailhead. PKelley         
2010-06-08 Matterhorn creek road is clear of snow to the upper trialhead, however, the down tree reported earlier has still not been cleared. As a result, the road is closed about .3 miles from the 2WD parking. There is a small parking area forming at the downed tree. I have reported this to Hinsdale County Roads and Bridges department (ran into them on the way out) - hopefully they‘ll take care of it. Kevin8020         
2010-05-15 North Henson road open all the way to the Matterhorn Creek road, but there is a heavy drift followed by a big downed tree just a short distance up the road. Recommend hiking from the base of Matterhorn Creek road stevevets689         
2010-05-03 Open .9 miles up the North Fork Henson drainage. cjw         
2010-04-16 The Henson Creek road is currently gated right after the Uncompahgre 2WD trailhead, over 6 miles below the Matterhorn Creek trailhead. BillMiddlebrook         

The 4WD trailhead (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2011-06-15)At the 4WD road junction. (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2011-12-12)

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