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American Basin Trailhead
Added by BillMiddlebrook

Location:  San Juan Mountains
14ers Served:  Handies Peak
Road Type:  Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Rough 2WD dirt to 10,400í at the Silver Creek/Grizzly Gulch TH. Easy 4WD to 11,300í at the turn-off for American Basin. 4WD to 11,600í at the TH.
Directions:  From Lake City, drive 2 miles south on Colorado 149 and turn right on the Lake San Cristibol road (County Road 30). This is the southern entrance to the "Alpine Loop" scenic byway. Follow the signs to Cinnamon Pass. Drive about 20 miles to a signed fork in the road. Left is to American Basin and right is to Cinnamon Pass. Turn left. If you do not have a 4WD vehicle with good clearance, park in the pull-offs near the start of this road. Itís 0.9 mile to the trailhead from the start of the American Basin road. After 0.2 mile, cross a stream which can be fairly deep in spring. If you donít feel comfortable driving through the water, there are some parking spots in the area. Continue to the end of the road where youíll find a large parking area and marked trail.
Winter Access:  Closed far below the Silver Creek/Grizzly Gulch TH.
14er Trailheads on Google Maps
Date Status Information Posted By  Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2015-06-21 Both creek crosssings are deep and flowing strong. I decided not to try to cross the second one, right by the TH. It is narrow and deep. I‘ve got a Nissan Xterra Pro 4X. Eagle Eye    2 1    
2015-06-19 Completely clear and dry up to the easy 4WD trailhead at 11,300‘. Here there is still a snow drift stopping all traffic. I attempted to push through it with no luck (I have a slightly lifted 4X4 with good tires). Watch out for the Marmots at the TH, they are all over right now! Photos: 1) at 11,300‘, 2) snow melting off slightly up the trail bhollamby  2       
2015-06-06 Snow-free but muddy all the way to the TH mojah         
2015-05-24 Some pictures. 1 Approaching turn off to TH 2 American Basin from parking area before creek 3 Looking back at parking area from creek 4 The signs are at the summer TH. mgood21  4       
2015-05-24 Road to Trailhead was clear to junction w/Cinnamon Pass. Then cleared to first creek crossing and dead -ended just beyond in several feet of packed snow. Parking area before creek was cleared. mgood21         
2015-05-17 The road to American Basin is clear up to 2.6 from SC/GG TH. American Basin is likely covered with snow! WillRobnett  1       
2015-05-07 Gate is now unlocked. Road is in good condition to a couple miles beyond SC/GG TH. Road is passable but a bit rough (muddy, snow patches) from the trees below AB all the way to AB turnoff (as of May 7). SJ Ron  San Juan Ron  1  3      
2015-05-04 Gate still locked at Sherman Fork. Road is clear beyond the gate to maybe 1-2 miles below AB. SJ Ron  San Juan Ron    1    
2014-10-11 Drove to the trailhead at around 8am. Road was in great condition. No snow on the road yet, but Handies was covered with it. Made it up in my stock ‘97 Jeep Wrangler with a trailer hitch bike rack and bike on the back just fine. Also saw a Toyota 4 Runner at the trailhead. The breakaway angle entering the creek crossing is pretty good and there‘s a nice water rut after that, but those were the toughest parts I thought. JeffSheets         
2014-07-23 Made it to the trailhead in a 2012 Outback, a few tricky spots but manageable. However, very few flat spots to put a tent between the creek and the trailhead so keep that in mind if you plan on camping. ridergirl         
2014-07-19 Drove from Wetterhorn to Handies in a 2012 Outback. Made it all the way to Handies, a little bumpy after the creek but you can make it. Krullin_14ers         
2014-07-14 Summer conditions. Low water level at the creek crossing. Last section after the creek crossing to the Summer TH very rough - if you do not have a high clearance vehicle, consider parking it after you cross the creek. Mik Sawicki         
2014-07-12 A very brave 07 Outback made it over Cinnamon Pass and to the trailhead. But they wouldn‘t recommend it. ezabielski         
2014-06-17 Made it to just across the creek with stock Honda Element AWD. The E. has clearance issues with a low fuel tank - but makes up for it with a short wheelbase and tight turning radius. Bring your A driving game if you are clearance challenged. We were just over 1 hr. from Mill Creek CG. EZSide  2       
2014-06-06 You can drive to the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River in American Basin which is approximately .25m beyond the turnoff and another .25 miles short of the summer parking area. The road from Burrows Park to AB is in pretty good condition, but a bit muddy especially in the afternoons. Cinnamon Pass is open and the road from AB to Cinnamon Pass is in fair condition. SJ Ron  San Juan Ron  2  1      
2014-06-01 Open to Cinnamon Pass. It‘s only about .75mi to American Basin TH from there. Road is still rough and wet past Grizzly Gulch. There were 2 jeeps and 2 full 4WD trucks there today. alpinenut    7      
2014-05-10 Open to within 1/4 mile of intersection of cinnamon pass and american basin road. Pretty rough and wet past grizzly/silver. They have plowed a bit higher than we were able to drive. Sure the road conditions will change after this Sundays projected storm. Skied Handies, snow not continuous to summit up couloir. Great coverage in the basin. Pic is view of american basin from near the summit. Hypersnow  1       
2014-04-26 Gate closed and locked at the Cataract Gulch turnoff. Cinnamon Pass not open yet. hbbucy         
2013-08-11 We drove up American Basin Sunday after hiking Redcloud and Sunshine on Saturday. The road is easily passable for stock 4WD vehicles (we were in a Tacoma). The basin got quite a bit of snow 8/10, but everything melted down low immediately. There was still plenty of snow up high, but who knows how long it will last. hbbucy  1       
2013-07-19 Drove a Ford Focus Wagon to the American Basin/Cinnamon Pass junction and probably could have further, but it was late and dark and we wanted to get to sleep. The stream crossing is pretty shallow. The road from the Silver Creek/Grizzly Gulch TH gets slightly worse, but taking it slow and a little confidence will get you far. jefwerner         
2013-07-11 Road is in good shape as far as a 4wd road goes. We saw a variety of vehicles at the trail head, but all were 4wd. The wildflowers are looking great! My-Therapy         
2013-05-23 The road is blocked by a snow drift about a quarter mile from the trailhead. There is plenty of parking where the road is blocked. gregpeak         
2013-05-02 Open to AB as of 5 PM today. SJ Ron San Juan Ron         
2012-10-30 Bone dry all the way to AB TH. Road is in good condition. SJ Ron San Juan Ron    1      
2012-09-16 My 8.7 inch clearance AWD Subaru Outback made it completely up the road to the TH with careful and slow driving. After leaving the Silver Creek/Grizzly Gulch trailhead, the road is pretty rough in some spots. The road description states that it is an easy 4WD to 11,300‘ at the turn off for American Basin, but I would disagree. There are some spots where low-clearance vehicles may have difficulty getting over rocks. I would not suggest any low clearance (2WD or 4WD) should attempt this road unless you are a very careful and smart driver who is aware of the possible difficulties. Once past the American Basin turnoff at 11,300‘ it is definitely still difficult (photos #1 & #2). The creek crossing (photo #3) isn‘t very deep so it‘s not bad at all. Best bet if you want to approach this TH is to find a good clearance 4WD car if possible. See attached photos and video (video is from the "easy 4WD" section): http://youtu.be/RFbppYyE3hg aliciaf  3       



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