Trailhead:  Nellie Creek
San Juan Mountains
 Posted By:  AeroFaze
 Date of Info:  06/21/2012
 Date Posted:  07/05/2012
My manual tranny, AWD ‘07 Forester XT Limited with 7.9" clearance and 99.4" wheelbase made it fine all the way to the trailhead. Fun road!

The only hairy part was exiting the first stream crossing. I blame it on being lazy and not spending the time to switch out my extreme performance summer tires with something a little more substantial (all-seasons would‘ve been fine). The wheels spun a couple times just before we hit the dry dirt again, so I had to reverse it a couple inches before we were able to get it moving again.

Also, I had to ensure plenty of room between my car and the vehicle in front. As they were true 4WD with lo and hi options, they were able to ascend much more slowly, whereas my car needed to maintain speed to get up some of those switchbacks. So the one time they stopped just above us, I had to back down to a flat area a couple yards before I could regain acceleration again.

I wouldn‘t recommend a Mazda 3Speed, WRX, or an Impreza up there.

Keep in mind this has been a low precipitation year so far, so the streams may have been lower than in past years at this time.

Photos (click for slideshow):
Image #1Image #2

 Comments or Questions
Summit Assassin

07/06/2012 01:17
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?


Re: Time?
07/06/2012 02:30
I think it took us 30 minutes from the lower TH to the upper, tops (probably an over-estimate, but it felt that long).

The upper TH has 3 existing firepits that I could see (but obviously, with the state-wide fire ban you won't be using them).

We fit 5 tents in the large area at the very end of the dirt lot by the last of the firepits. On our way up to it, we passed two other tents just below our area: one camped on the opposite side of the road from the outhouse at one fire pit, and the other tent and associated vehicle was maybe 30 yards above them at another fire pit. The creek runs pretty close, but you'd either have to bushwack through the chest-high willows (I'm 5'2”) to get to it, or hike up the trail a bit for easier water access.

First pic shows the first stream crossing. Second pic shows my car pulling up to the end of the parking area/final campsite.

Hope this helps!

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