West Winfield Trailhead
Added by BillMiddlebrook

Location:  Sawatch Range
14ers Served:  La Plata Peak
Road Type:  Moderate 4WD, long wheel base vehicles not recommended. Good clearance required. 4   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD dirt to Winfield. 4WD to 10,700'.
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 (dirt), drive 11.3 miles to Winfield. There are a bunch of log buildings here. From Winfield, continue north for a short distance (less than 100 yards) to a fork. Go right up a road bordered by a fence that may present a challenge for some passenger cars. After about 0.4 miles, the road passes the Winfield Cemetery, which is marked by an explanatory sign. Shortly thereafter, there is a sign that warns cars without high clearance not to continue, and a loop that allows for some good parking places. Alternately, the first part of the road is not much worse than what has already been traveled, and some parking spots can be found along its sides. About 1.4 miles after the sign, in a meadow at about 10,700, a rough but obvious road rises to the right. (The turn has coordinates 38° 59.560N, 106° 28.141W). All-terrain vehicles may wish to continue driving several hundred yards to a gate and the registration box up a steep, rocky, and sometimes muddy road. On busy summer weekends, several vehicles can park here.
Winter Access:  Closed near 9,200 feet - many miles below the TH.
Date Status Information Posted By  Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2015-08-15 We took a Land Rover LR2 with 9" of ground clearance, A/T tires, recovery gear, and an experienced off-road driver up past the washed-out road section across the creek and up a final steep, rocky section to the trailhead. We got a couple of rock hits to the skid plates, but nothing major. Land Rovers, some Jeeps, most trucks, Xterras, and 4Runners with 4-wheel drive will be able to do the same with A/T tires and a competent driver if the road is dry. If you have ground clearance under 10", expect some uncomfortable sounds from your undercarriage. Other SUVs and crossovers (including Foresters and Outbacks) will want to stop at the washed-out creek or earlier if you get uncomfortable.....it really doesn‘t add that much distance to the route in the grand scheme of things. I would not take a passenger car very far up the road to the trailhead. vidoona         
2015-07-31 Trucks are now making it over Blackbear Creek to the right of the new footbridge. Takes a bit of clearance but nothing too crazy. I was able to make it over in my stock Expedition and, although I still dont believe it, the gentleman in the Forerunner towing a trailer with his three pet goats also ended up on the other side. khub91         
2015-06-28 The bridge is still washed off 1.3 mile from TH. There is also a small creek crossing before the wash off (after the warning sign) that is best to have high clearance. We saw regular SUV crossing it and bottomed out doing it. There are a lot of good camping spots off 390, the lower you are the more buggy they are. ronichen    2      
2015-06-21 Trail is washed out 1.3 miles from Winfield. There is a sign at the 2wd TH warning you to turn around, but you can continue up to where its washed out and there is room for 3-4 cars to park there. Many thanks to whoever built the bridge across the wash out. I don‘t think that anyone will be driving past that point anytime soon. Needs major repair and proper culvert. dogballs  3  6      
2014-07-01 Road is rough, 4WD non-low clearance vehicles will make it fine, with a lot of slowing down and bumping around. After the meadow at 10,700 I would recommend NOT driving further. Road becomes much rougher, and its only about a 200 yard walk to TH anyways. Trotter         
2013-10-27 The road is clear and easily drivable all of the way to the trailhead. I drove it today and I had the trail all to myself. Great place to hike La Plata from! 4 LO         
2013-05-25 The road to the 4wd trailhead was driveable. A little snow and mud, but easily passable. bnlarochelle         
2013-03-16 My buddy and I made it to Winfield today in a stock 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. We were fully aired down to about 4PSI and needed the front and rear lockers engaged past Rockdale. We did up hitting ice and sliding into about 3 feet of snow on the right side of the road right by the town sign. Took an hour to dig out. I wouldn‘t recommend anyone else trying it with anything less. Clearance isn‘t really the issue. There is a layer of ice about 4-6 inches thick on the road itself, and then about 4 inches of wet snow on top of that, so traction is pretty bad. As the previous post mentioned, there is a fair bit of snow on the sides of the road, so if you slide (which you will) there is a good chance you‘ll end up in the snow bank. No signs of anyone around Winfield for a awhile. No marks in the snow at all. The Belford/Oxford/Missouri trailhead is reachable if you are willing to air down and have front and rear lockers. As I mentioned above, I wouldn‘t try it without serious recovery gear in case you slide off the road crest. RyGuy         
2013-03-10 Made it only 4 miles up county rd 390 in a buddy‘s 2012 Xterra. A Tacoma got stuck and had to hike down to get the sheriff. Snow is deep and very hard. If you get off the crest of the road it‘s all over. 3-4ft of snow on the side of road. I work for a Jeep dealer that does 2.5- 4.0" lifts and I don‘t think one of them could even make it to Winfield. I will try again in April, maybe... fourseasoncyclist         
2012-11-25 Drove all the way to the ATV road that goes to the TH. Did not see the road in the dark. In fact we went about .25 past. Turns out it was 1.75+ from 390 390a fork at Winfield. 1.3 from High clearance vehicles only sign which is on the left. Some snow, definitely high clearance 4WD required. alpinenut         
2012-04-29 4WD trail head from Winfield to La Plata is open all the way to the trail register. Monte Meals         
2011-10-21 Road is clear to the trailhead. Some water and ice in spots. Definitely need a 4X4 with decent clearance to make the trailhead. CO Native         
2011-10-16 The trailhead is still open for high clearance vehicles. I saw a standard Subaru Forester at the 4wd trailhead. There wasn‘t any snow on the road at all as of 10/16/11. ilium         
2011-10-15 County road 390 & 4wd road to gate and Huron TH snow-free. Marcia         
2011-06-18 You can drive all the way to the end of County Rd 390A to where the TH is for LaPlata‘s SW ridge route. No more snow on the 4WD road. globreal         
2011-05-08 You can only make it as far as the Winfield townsite as of this post. There is very soft snow on the bridge crossing, and on the trail after that. However, the snow is very deep back there. Grover         
2010-10-13 On Monday, Columbus day, 11 Oct 10, clear, dry, easy and gorgeous to TH registration area with good clearance (Forester) vehicle. Tuesday it may have snowed per NWS reports? If you are new to this TH, I was, be sure to follow closely the post cemetery directions...I took the road less travelled, and it made all the difference. Added a lovely mile plus both ways to my hike but somehow I was too blissed to notice til now. Brighteyes         
2010-09-04 I drove my 2WD 4Runner to the "...road that rises to the right" (coordinates 38˚ 59.560'N, 106˚ 28.141'W) without a problem. Go slow and pick your lines and any high clearance 2WD can get there right now. That would probably change with a change in the weather. Gator         
2010-05-31 Clear all the way. Stream crossings not an issue. We were able to get about 100ft from the trailhead, just before it takes a sharp right turn up a steep and wet section. There are several parking areas at this point. yosemite98         
2009-10-03 as of 9/28 no problems. Hard to catch that last turn up the spur in the dark. look for stacked cairn and trust it turn right will be another cairn 100 ft up road then road goes into aspens. Park at the clearing before road turns up right and looks really rocky, TH/register box is just up the road with little parking at it. larkinrx2         
2009-08-04 Just as a reference for others wondering about this trailhead, we took a Subaru Outback Sport (not a full Outback but the Impreza frame) with 6.1" of clearance to within 1/4 mile of the trailhead and 1.2 miles past the "4WD, High Clearance Only" sign. We parked at the beginning of the open meadow just before the trailhead. The road isn‘t too bad with careful driving and there were a couple of Outbacks at the trailhead (parking area, not register). E-dorvs         
2009-08-02 08/02/09 summit went without a hitch. Was able to drive up to 50yd below trailhead registration in a stock 2005 4runner 4x4. 2wd would likely work, but I can attest to 4x4 working with enough clearance. Just a couple of tricky rocks near the top, but otherwise just a slow and bumpy ride. darklich14         
2009-07-29 Climbed LaPlata on 7/24/09 and thought this trailhead description was accurate. Our xterra made it to the top just fine. Might be tricky to get an Outback up there though. Aggie_05         
2008-12-11 As of 12/11 there is snow but passible especially by a 4WD. theocdb3         
2008-11-02 The road between Winfield and the trailhead (junction) is a bit rough, but not any worse than the bulk of the Gray‘s Peak road. There was some ice on the road in sloped spots that made 4wd handy, but probably not necessary. I wouldn‘t recommend driving very much past the turnoff to the actual trailhead, the road gets quite a bit rougher, and there are spots with tall rocks in tight corners, may be difficult to navigate without a spotter. Parking just up the road from the junction only adds about the 200 yards to the hike. emcee smith         

From Winfield, this shows the junction at which to bear right. (Added by: Hiking Mike on 2007-07-22)A sign warns of clearance obstacles slightly after the cemetery. (Added by: Hiking Mike on 2007-07-22)Looking back, the road is rough but negociable for the appropriate vehicles. (Added by: Hiking Mike on 2007-07-22)This is the end of a meadow at 10,700‘. Take the obvious road to the right (Added by: Hiking Mike on 2007-07-22)After the turn in the meadow, the road is considerably rougher. (Added by: Hiking Mike on 2007-07-22)This gate is directly adjacent to the registration box. (Added by: Hiking Mike on 2007-07-22)

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