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Road between Silverton and American Basin?

Trailhead conditions, directions, roads, parking, camping, etc. Trailhead Info/Status
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Road between Silverton and American Basin?

Postby TCUTED » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:31 pm

Hey, I am planning a road trip in the next week, and I wanted to check out American Basin and climb Handies on the way to Durango. I am thinking of taking Co rd 30/5 to Co Rd 2 and coming down that into Silverton where it intersects 550. I have heard this road can be treacherous, but I really do not wish to drive back east to Southfork and over that way through Pagosa Springs. I have an AWD Forester, with decent clearance. Does any one here know if this road is really that bad? Or is it Okay? I know it is also monsoon season, how inadvisable would it be to go this way if the road was wet?

Thanks for any help!

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Re: Road between Silverton and American Basin?

Postby oldschoolczar » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:52 pm

Man I don't know exactly which roads those are but we just drove from Lake City to American Basin a week ago and it wasn't that bad in a Ford Explorer. I think it would be doable in a Sooby... as long as you take your time and know how to drive 4WD roads. There's definitely a lot of rocks and gullys across the road... We had a good driver and there were some hairy parts but we had low clearance with running boards, probably similar clearance to a Sooby, so I think you'd be OK..

We drove out a few days later from Redcloud/Sunshine and had a flat from rock puncture so the road is definitely very rugged.

If you're coming over Cinnamon Pass then I don't know...
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Re: Road between Silverton and American Basin?

Postby PaliKona » Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:06 pm

Search for a thread I created a few weeks back..I was asking the same thing. I drove my Subie Outback with 8.5" of clearance from Silverton to American Basin, then out to Lake City. I was really pushing it on a few sections on Cinnamon Pass, both near the bottom sections on each side of the pass and I needed all 8.5"! However, I did make it with no problems but was questioning myself halfway up the Animas Forks side of the pass :). It helped having my friend get out a few times to guide me through the worst of it.

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Re: Road between Silverton and American Basin?

Postby Tony1 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:54 pm

I've gone over Cinnamon Pass twice now, in my Patriot. I think I have just a little bit more clearance than you do with your Forester, and I scraped the front once (thank goodness for skid plates) both times at the same spot on the east side. That's the only troublesome spot, but the road is wider there with many options (the top of the first steep switchback). There are several rocky areas that need careful maneuvering through, but if you study them quickly you'll find where most of the vehicles have formed tracks.

I never actually needed 4x4, but the second time over I kept it engaged just for comfort / state of mind.

I'd say you can do it with your Forester, just take your time and scout out the routes through the rocky areas. They're short, but steep and could be slick. Be careful with it and don't forget to have fun!

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Re: Road between Silverton and American Basin?

Postby stuttle7 » Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:55 am

About this time last year, my wife and I drove our 2008 Toytota Highlander (8.1" ground clearance, AWD) down CO Rd 2 from Animas Forks to Silverton. A few days later we drove back up CO Rd 2 from Silverton to Animas Forks and took CO Rd 5/30/Shelf Road over to Redcloud and Sunshine. Like others have said, we held our breath thru a few sections, but we were able to make it with no damage. Just take it slow and in low.

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Re: Road between Silverton and American Basin?

Postby San Juan Ron » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:03 am

As was mentioned, go slow and in low especially on the east side of Cinnamon above AB and you should be okay. FYI, the road is signed 4WD above AB. SJ Ron

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Re: Road between Silverton and American Basin?

Postby djkest » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:48 am

One of the biggest disadvantages to a subaru is the lack of "low range" gearing, which is really beneficial on rough stuff. You can probably make it, but it will be tough. This means that at certain points you may have to go faster than you'd like to avoid stalling your engine. Of course, if you have an automatic, which you probably do, it's not as big an issue but still may be a concern.
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