Rockdale Trailhead
Added by BillMiddlebrook

Location:  Sawatch Range
14ers Served:  Missouri Mountain, Huron Peak
Road Type:  Moderate 4WD, long wheel base vehicles not recommended. Good clearance required. 4   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD dirt access to the Rockdale turn-off. Narrow, Rough 4WD to 11,040' below Cloyses Lake. In spring and early summer, the river crossings after Rockdale can be very difficult and dangerous. Short wheelbase and high clearance required.
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 about 9.6 miles and turn left into Rockdale (an old abandoned town). Drive down past 4 old cabins and then left near a 5th. If you don't have a high-clearance, short, 4WD vehicle, park in this area. Even with the right 4WD vehicle, driving through the upcoming water is not recommended until after July, when the water levels are lower. It's a 3 mile walk to the end of the road, near Clohesy Lake.

Follow the road through shallow water to Clear Creek. You must now cross two streams. First, cross Clear Creek to gain higher ground between the two streams. Then, cross the Lake Fork stream. Taken in September, 2007, here is a video of the stream crossings.

After the water, continue 2.6 miles to a large parking area at 10,880'. Most 4WDers park here, but it's possible to continue another 0.3 miles to a gate, near 11,040' (3 miles from Rockdale).
Winter Access:  Closed near 9,200 feet - many miles below the TH.
14er Trailheads on Google Maps
Date Status Information Posted By  Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2012-06-06 At 2 o‘clock in the afternoon I was coming down from West Winfield trailhead for La Plata and decided to cross the river in my stock Xterra. Both parts of the stream was passable, but I did not proceed up the road any further. Soccer4Life  1       
2012-04-07 390 Road open and dry to the Rockdale turn-off, not sure how the 4WD road is from Rockdale. BillMiddlebrook         
2011-12-17 4WD can reach the turnoff for Rockdale. Doesn‘t look like anyone has driven down past the buildings, though. tmathews         
2011-07-30 Update 7/30: river is passable with a stock Jeep Cherokee sport. There are two long mud puddles near TH, both are passable. chrispy         
2011-07-08 I thought this link might be useful since it shows the cubic feet per second of the creek, albeit a few miles below the Rockdale crossing. Also shows historical average and the importance of time of day if crossing during the spring and early summer. Carl         
2011-07-02 The river is running quite quickly still. There were some beefy 4x4s that were making it across, but unless you have something with 15-18 inches of clearance, don‘t even bother. If you cross early in the day, between 10AM and 3PM you should have low water. We crossed of foot both times and at 6PM on 7/2 it was very difficult. However, on the return after Missouri on 7/3 we crossed at 2:45PM and the river was very manageable. Be sure to make your crossings earlier than later, it will save you a change of clothes (in both the literal and figurative meanings). Barb4rian         
2011-06-18 Creek is moving pretty good. We waded all the way across (without any gear) to test things out and it was fairly difficult. Water is just over 20 inches deep at the max. I would imagine you‘d need a burly vehicle and a lot of confidence to try driving it. Carl         
2010-10-10 Ice/Snow on the 3 mile drive to Trailhead near Clohesy Lake. However, Multiple SUVs made it, including Wranglers, Xterra, Land Rovers, and 4Runners. sad2         
2010-08-30 any new news on the road access to the rockdale trailhead? how far up the trail can you go? mlrobles         
2010-08-15 You can still hike up - crossing the stream (6in water on Aug 8th) and cross the debris field. It will need to dry out before they can create a road across 3-400' of debris. 12 4WDs still up there. Someone passed the closed sign and got buried to the axles. 4WD road will not be open for a long time!! Use Missouri Gulch TH or hike from Rockdale (lower) TH. Irish14er  4       
2010-08-11 i am hoping to hike Missouri and go over to Oxford as well. any news on the Rockdale trailhead access? mlrobles         
2010-08-04 Looks like there was a massive mud slide up this road past the river crossing. people were stranded and it could be a while before the 4x4 rd is cleared.,0,4472701.story DeepEnd         
2010-07-02 No problem for my stock 92 silverado. I made the crossing 4 times because I had to shuttle some friends down. All my crossings were around 1 in the afternoon. Just keep up your momentum. Saw a bunch of other stock trucks and stock jeeps at the trailhead. Teledon360         
2010-06-19 Creek is very high, crossing doubtful even with 4WD. JeffR         
2010-05-25 No problem driving to the 4WD parking area at 10,880‘ in a stock 4Runner; be aware that the creeks may rise in the afternoon as snow melts. pioletski         
2010-05-22 Evaluate the streams and your clearance before attempting to cross. Short, high-clearance 4WD vehicles can drive south from Rockdale to within a mile of Clohesy Lake. The drifts get deep as you near the lake. Boggy B  3       
2010-02-01 Road (Chaffee Co 390) is currently drivable with 4WD to 5.5 miles before Rockdale. SarahT         
2009-09-09 If you‘re heading to the Rockdale TH at night you‘ll notice that there‘s no signage to tell you when to turn off the 390 road. Like Jaymiller said, use your odometer to get you close and then look for the road on the left. There are large aspen trees on both sides of the road with big "X"s cut into their bark. That‘s probably the best way to find the turn off. Cruiser         
2009-09-08 The river crossings are low, but the trail is as rough as ever. Note: Rockdale turn off is mot marked and you can‘t see the cabins from the road at night. If your traveling after dark, be sure to clock travel distance from the start of 390. JayMiller         
2009-08-01 Drove up 7/31/09 and down 8/1/09. Stream crossings were not too deep, no problem in an Xterra. Keep in mind that this is a high clearance 4wd road, there are several steep places and rocky obstacles. There were several high clearance SUVs at the trailhead including Jeeps, FJ Cruiser, Pathfinder, but no car type SUVs such as Foresters, Outbacks, CRVs, etc. See pics below. mtnklutz         
2009-07-13 Drove this one 3 times this past weekend. Don‘t ask please. The creek is reasonable, compared to what it has been for me in the past. Saw a CRV type vehicles at the Cloyses lake TH. A Subaru stopped about 1/4 mile above the Clear Creek crossing due to a rough rock spot. I think it was a good call. The roughest part of the road is the first mile. There are some high clearance areas that most stock 4wd trucks can easily pass. No snow issues are left. RoanMtnMan         
2009-05-26 crossed the creek in a Ford F-150 with a 10 inch lift and 37 inch BFG‘s... on the way out the water came over the hood!! Not for the faint of heart!!! plark42         
2009-05-17 The creek is deep and fast. We did not even attemp to cross. Ski4me         
2008-12-09 December 6 on our climb up the west ridge of Missouri, ScottP and I drove from the Rockdale trail head to the Clohesy Lake trail head in his pathfinder. The first stream crossing was very difficult. The ice was broken and you had to jump out of the water onto a 10-12 inch slab of ice. Once we crossed, the road was getting deep in snow. I doubt that there will be any more drive-ups on this 4wd road for the rest of the winter. 4HClimber         
2008-11-23 Rockdale will soon be done for the season unless you have a snowmobile. The first river crossing was iced over. My 4runner is light so I broke through the first layer of ice but not the second. The road has quite a bit of snow and fallen trees that we moved but a fullsize truck would have difficulty getting past. There are a few badly iced areas that require careful attention to avoid falling off th eraod. On the way out I broke through the ice at the crossing and it was quite deep still. Almost had to winch out but the old toyota pulled through. jrsummit         

On the rough Rockdale road after leaving the main road (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2006-06-21)Down the hill past the buildings, this is the start of the river crossing (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2006-06-21)Large section of Clear Creek (on the way up). Shallowest section is to the left. (Added by: Aubrey on 2006-07-24)A stock Land Cruiser on the shorter crossing (8/12/07) (Added by: bdavis on 2007-08-18)Careful where you‘s deep in spots (just to the right of the exi (Added by: bdavis on 2007-08-18)The longer stream crossing (on the return home) (Added by: bdavis on 2007-08-18)1st crossing all ice on 11/22/08 (Added by: JMB on 2008-12-10)large water crossing 8/1/09, stay left of island on way up to TH (Added by: mtnklutz on 2009-08-01)8/1/09 (Added by: mtnklutz on 2009-08-01)First River Crossing (Added by: sad2 on 2010-10-10)2nd River Crossing (Added by: sad2 on 2010-10-10)

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