Grays Peak Trailhead

The Clear Creek County Sheriff no longer allows parking along the road to the trailhead. They say they will ticket those who do so and you'll see "No Parking" signs along the road. So, get up there very early and if the trailhead parking is full, you'll have to drive back down to the bottom of the road and walk up. Awful, I know.
Posted By: tdearborn
Info: Got to trailhead at 7:20 AM today (Wed). There were about 10+ spots left when I got there. (Please note that this is in the middle of the week though.) Road was rough but easily doable by a 4WD with normal clearance. The road was better than when I did it 8 years ago.
Posted By: poseidon
Info: Got to the trailhead at around 4 a.m., and luckily my car was narrow enough to snatch one of the last spots in the parking lot. There were at least three dozen cars parked along the road, mostly by the trailhead but some halfway down, none of them had tickets when I went back down at around 11 p.m.

Access wise, the road to the trailhead was dry and my ’23 Prius with just 6" ground clearance made it up and down without damage to the underbody, even though I could hear kicked up rocks occassionaly hitting the bottom of the car. There was a Tesla Model X and an Audi sedan at the top, so it’s definitely doable with a sedan, just make sure to take it slow if you decide to attempt and give way to faster-moving more terrain-capable cars!
Posted By: Carl
Info: Seems the weekday crowds have subsided. Arrived this morning (Tuesday Aug. 29) at 7:15 a.m. still some spots left at the TH. Got back around 10 a.m. and no one had to park along the road. Weekends still filling up early, there was a line of cars 1/2 mile back parked on the road last Sunday Aug. 27 at 6:30 a.m.
Posted By: bmoney
Info: Road up was dry and in better shape than I thought it would be. But then again its been roughly 15 years since I was last up there. My biggest concern was how our 170 Sprinter van would do. As I only see reports of whether or not small little cars can make it or not. The van did just fine up and down. There were one or two spots that we had to pay a bit of attention to but really just went slow and no issues. I could see where those couple of spots could get worse if a bad storm went through.

The van is a 170 2023 AWD with all terrain tires but stock otherwise. It has decent ground clearance just a really long wheel base.
Posted By: Steelernation
Info: Road is in bad shape with tons of rocks sticking up. Near the upper parking lot there is a huge rut with some big rocks although it looks avoidable. My RAV4 hybrid was undamaged, but it felt very sketchy and I would not drive it again with this many rocks and potholes. Saw a Honda Accord parked at mile 2 and another sedan coming up when I was going down but those were the only low clearance vehicles I saw. If you have a truck/jeep/4Runner type vehicle it looked pretty easy but smaller SUVs require careful, slow driving and navigating around some obstacles.
Posted By: Lordofthegnar
Info: See others for more detail on the conditions. We went up this morning in my 4Runner TRD Off-Road and of course that was fine. We saw one dude go up in a Prius. Wouldn’t necessarily recommend that but it is possible. You will probably scrape a low clearance car here and there.
More important thing to note is that the lot fills up EARLY on the weekends. We left Denver just after 330am and arrived at around 450am and not only was the lot full but cars were already lining up .2 miles away from it. Came back and no one had any tickets though. Total shitshow however; wouldn’t be surprised if this moves to a permit system next year or thereafter.
Posted By: Stikrig
Info: Roads aren’t great. I was given unfortunate advice that I would be fine in my sedan. Made it up okay but going down was super sketchy and I scraped the bottom of my car on a few rocks. By the end of the road, I could smell burning breaks and rubber. I’d recommend parking in the lower lot if your car is low to the ground.

Trailhead was really amazing, the lots are even enough, landscaping is incredible, and the trail is extremely well maintained. Parking on Thursdays seems to be very solid but you’ll probably want to get up there before 6am.
Posted By: Ed_Groves
Info: The road to the Grays Peak Trailhead seemed to me to match the rating on this site of easy 4wd today. It was bumpy with rocks sticking up three to five inches in places, but most could be dodged with the right line and there was nothing that catastrophic. There were a few holes but I didn’t think they were extremely deep either. I drove a 4wd Tacoma. I saw vans, AWD SUVs, and 4wd Pickups at the parking lot but I didn’t give it a thorough view to see what else was there since I arrived in the dark at 4:40 AM. Approximately 15 parking spaces were still open when I arrived.
Posted By: WildernessNerd
Info: Arrived at around 05:30AM on Thursday Aug 3 and got one of the last spots.

The road is very rough, and while I don’t know that 4x4/AWD is required if you know what you’re doing, I would definitely recommend something with clearance. I did not observe any sedans/cars up there, only vans/trucks/suvs.
Posted By: MrJohnnySpot
Info: Road specific update: This is the worst I’ve seen it in a few years. The area right above the AirBnB is about as normally bad as we’ve seen the past few years, but there are a lot more really exposed rocky sections with some decent size holes. Fortunately, most of the rocks aren’t sharp, but there are enough to where if you’re not an experienced driver it’s causing some major slow downs both ways. Finally, I’m sure there are plenty of 2WD car owners that won’t care what happens to their car, but I’d recommend medium-clearance and higher AWD and 4WD make the trip all the way up. Subies and 4WD seemed to be good enough, but I can’t imagine trying to go up in a regular sedan without bottoming out a fair amount.
Posted By: Rfox88
Info: on weekends the upper lot will fill by 7 pm and the lower before 9. There will be no spaces available for the early morning arrivals. Parking isnt permitted on the road leading up to the trailhead and parking above the outhouses is limited to hard surfaces. only.
Posted By: Gibson135
Info: This morning at the Grays Peak trailhead was quite an experience. I pulled in to camp yesterday afternoon (Friday) and it was pretty quiet. Around 7pm last night, the cars started pouring in and Im pretty sure the actual main lot was full when I crashed at 8pm. This morning when I got up at 3:15 am that area was rockin with cars and peeps. It felt like there might as well be a DJ there spinning some EDM beats to just bring the party up a notch. There was already a conga line on the trail when I started at about 3:50am. Coming back, I chatted with a CFI steward I met there the day before (forgot his name) and heard some crazy stories about that morning. One was about a three-way traffic jam of many cars coming from the full lot, cars that started going past but couldn’t make it further and cars just coming in stuck at the turn for the full lot. They were all stuck trying to figure out a way to get out.. at a little past 4am - craziness!

Oh yeah.. I was blown away by the scores of cars parked along the road taking off. Just wow.. Im just surprised they didnt have the $88 tickets (or whatever it was).
Posted By: DSchager
Info: Would definitely recommend using a vehicle with high clearance and/or 4WD to get up to the trailhead. I was able to make it up in my 2WD Ford Escape just fine, it’s a judgement call if you feel confident enough. If you are using a 2WD vehicle, remember to use momentum to your advantage when ascending. I arrived at the trailhead at 8pm on a Thursday to car camp overnight and the upper lot was already half full with other people camping. If you’re able to car camp, I would highly recommend doing that to guarantee a good spot. Also you’re able to sleep in a bit more since you don’t have to worry about driving at 3am. Woke up at 5am to begin hiking at 5:30.
Posted By: salmanalsaif
Info: Got to the summer TH around 5:45 am and parked behind the line of cars, slightly ahead of a "no parking" sign posted on a tree, approximately 0.2 miles from the TH actual (according to Google directions).
There was a large contingent of CFI people at the TH, may have contributed to extra traffic.
Posted By: jbferree
Info: The road to the trailhead was very bumpy. I was driving a Ford Edge which has 8" clearance and AWD which did fine, you just want to take it slow so you don’t bottom out on any bumps. I arrived at 4:45am on a Sunday and the parking lot was completely full, I ended up driving up the road a bit further and was able to grab one of a few spots up there that was off the road. This short portion of the road was the worst part but again just take it slow. There were a few ruts and some good sized rocks. I read parking on the side of the road wasn’t allowed but still plenty did it and I assume got away with it.
Posted By: d0shrest
Info: We were there on 07/21/2023 Friday. Left home at 3 ( northern Denver suburbs) and was at the trailhead at 4:40 AM. All parking spots were full. Most folks looked they camped over night. Parked on the side of the lot ( in front of the restrooms). Took our chances . No tickets.
Posted By: ggaapp7
Info: Road seems to be fine, maybe one or two spots that would cause scraping but saw a civic pretty high. Arrived at the winter trailhead at 3:30 AM and cars were already coming back down. Managed to get a pull off spot really close to the upper trail head.
Posted By: SavannaLittle
Info: Upper TH was 70% full by midnight on a Wednesday/Thursday. 100% and overflowing onto the road (illegal?) by 6am.

Road to Upper TH was not as bad as the last time I was up there (2020). I had zero concerns in my Ram 3500. A Camry made it to the Upper TH. Do with that information what you will - haha.
Posted By: LetsGoMets
Info: Rough, with a little clearance wanted in places. Saw some 2WD at the upper TH, but mostly Subaru’s and up.
Posted By: kempenjn
Info: Arrived at ~4:20AM and the upper lots were already full.
Posted By: tigriscraig
Info: Upper trailhead parking was completely full before we arrived at 6am. We ended up on an awkward spot offroad above the parking lot. As we were leaving around noon, we saw many cars parked alongside the road to the upper trailhead. None of them appeared to have been ticketed. I’m not sure how early you’d need to arrive on weekends/holidays to get an official parking spot, but someone who arrived at 5:15 said they got a spot.
Posted By: MetricAssLoad
Info: Road is easily managed by any suv or truck, I saw some sedans too but you might scrape in a few spots. Camping is abundant at the trailhead, when I woke up at 4 the lot was full and people were parking on the side of the road.
Posted By: sarahmariekirk
Info: The road has been improved over the last few years, the major rut that stopped multiple lower clearance vehicles over the recent years appears to be filled in. The road still has some rocks and potholes, but it was pretty tame compared to recent years. Not sure how long conditions will stay this way, and the road did see pretty high traffic for a Friday.
Posted By: bsargeant1
Info: Attention Grays/Torreys climbers:

CFI has contracted with a helicopter service to transport cut logs up to the shoulder on Grays Peak for use in stabilizing the trail. Weather permitting the helicopter will be ferrying loads one day during the flight window of Tuesday, June 27 through Thursday, June 29. At this time we do not know which day will provide the most optimal flying/hauling condition. Please check our Facebook or Instagram for the most up-to-date information.

For safety reasons, hikers will be stopped on the trail briefly as loads are dropped and the helicopter returns to the trailhead area to pick up more loads. Aside from the landing area on the shoulder about 12,750’, the flight path will not go over the climbing trail. However, helicopter noise will be audible for much of the day as this needed work occurs.

CFI completed a similar operation in 2022 which proved critical to the completion of work needed near the Grays/Torreys trail junction. Failure to get additional logs up to the shoulder will compromise our ability to stabilize this rapidly deteriorating stretch of the trail. We apologize in advance for the impact this activity may have on 14er hikers during this window and hope you all understand the importance of getting this heavy lift accomplished for the long-term condition of the trail.


Brian Sargeant
Development and Communications Manager
Posted By: HikesInGeologicTime
Info: Not much to add on to MaryinColorados report re: the road itself but did want to add that the occupants of two other vehicles overnighting at the TH last night reported a porcupine making a nuisance of itself with their cars. Fwiw, both were parked across from the outhouse; I was parked next to it and had no trouble.

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