Trailhead:  Nellie Creek
San Juan Mountains
 Posted By:  Jyak
 Date of Info:  06/16/2012
 Date Posted:  06/17/2012
Took a new model Subaru Outback (2" more clearance than the old model) all the way to the upper trailhead. Saw another new model Outback up there as we got back to the car after the hike. Creek crossings are a breeze with good entry and exit points going in both directions.

 Comments or Questions

How much clearance...
06/17/2012 14:36
does your outback have? I have a forester with 8.7” clearance and am wondering just how far I'd get up that rough road!?


same clearance
06/17/2012 15:16
The Outback has the same 8.7” as the Forester; given that, you should - in theory - actually do a bit better because your vehicle has less length and less ability to high-center; also the Forester has better ”attack” and ”exit” angles coming off of the front and rear bumpers.


Thanks much
06/17/2012 15:20
We'll see how it goes! Hope you had a wonderful climb. I can't wait to do Uncompaghre/Wetterhorn.


07 Forester XT Limited
06/20/2012 13:49
Heading up there this weekend. Any advice for my manual transmission Forester XT with 7.9” clearance and extreme summer tires?

I just got this car in the last 7 months and it came with extreme summer tires. The car seems to have a more difficult time going SLOW up steep slopes (the XT Limited behaves like a WRX STi on normal roads), although it did fine on the Mt Princeton Road all the way to the radio towers. Haven't had the chance to get some stickier tires, though.


07 Forester
06/20/2012 22:01
There are some steeper sections of the road that are impossible to do anything but go slowly... so if that's an issue, it may not be too good.

It's not slick, but there are many places where you go over a large bump that forces you to move slowly over it so as to not jam your front bumper into the ground.

Additionally, there are very few turnouts, let alone any side-road parking.

The x-factors are your driving experience on these types of roads along with weather you bought the car with the intention of beating it up.

My guess is... and it's only a guess... you could make it, but you may get some dings in the process.

However, it's really hard to turn back once you start going.

Hope this helps.

Summit Assassin

07/06/2012 01:18
How long did it take you to get from the 2WD TH to the upper TH? Also, are their good campsites at the upper TH?


07/10/2012 00:14
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, but I was up on Rainier all week (we made the summit).

I really don't recall the time, but it was measured in minutes not hours. Maybe 45 minutes?

As far as camp sites, it's actually very flat right at the upper TH. While I didn't really scout for camping, I imagine a short distance away from the TH, good camping could be found.

There is a water source (running creek) for the first miles of the hike, as well.

Hope that helps.

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