Grays Peak Trailhead


Road Difficulty

2WD, rough dirt road 2   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Normally it's Rough 2WD to the TH but some years it gets rough and might require 4WD. It always requires good-clearance.

Driving Directions

Take I-70 to the Bakerville exit (#221). Leave the highway and drive south over to the dirt parking area near the start of Forest Road 189. This is the winter trailhead and even if the upper road is open, low-clearance passenger cars should park here. It's almost 3 miles to the summer trailhead. Continue up the Grays Peak (189) road. After 1 mile, stay straight at a junction. Continue another 2 miles to the trailhead, at 11,280'. There are restrooms and a few dispersed camping spots near the parking area.

Winter Access

Closed at the start of the 189 road, near I-70.
Status Updates 
Posted By: rkohler
Info: Full trailhead today, cars parked ~3/4 mile down the road. Bathrooms open and relatively clean. Getting to the TH has some very rough sections but can be pretty much avoided by taking it easy.
Posted By: Fairwind
Info: Apparently the county has made some emergency repairs to "The Bad Spot" to allow access for their emergency vehicles and the truck that services the pit toilet at the upper trail-head..
Posted By: keatonmoney
Info: As others have said, road is extremely rough. We made it without issue in a Subaru Crosstrek. Didn’t scrape or bottom out. I would say having a truck/jeep/4runner is ideal, Subarus and the like will get you by, 2WD and low clearance cars not recommended. I did see one intrepid individual made it up to the top in a Chevy Aveo. Braver than I.
Posted By: knockouts
Info: The 4WD road to Gray’s and Torrey’s is extremely rough, and declining as each new vehicle gives it a go...we bottomed out a Subaru Crosstrek and Honda CRV. The cars we saw at the trailhead were mostly trucks. We also saw a few cars coming back down with parts dangling off the bottoms of their vehicles- be careful! Plan on adding an extra few miles to your hike!
Posted By: Agstrohmeier
Info: Rough section of road is driving more like a 3-4 (per the 14ers scale) than the usual 2. But no trouble in a stock 2002 4runner. Mostly higher clearance vehicles beyond, but a couple rav4s and Ford escape size vehicles. If you decide to park before it, please be curteous... Could barely fit through on the way out, no way an emergency vehicle is getting up there.
Posted By: hogantheepic
Info: The road leading up to the trailhead is pretty rough but doable. The deep ruts you’ll find about halfway up can be done, but I would only suggest it to a car with AWD/4WD capabilities because of how deep it is. Take it easy and don’t bottom out (although this is pretty difficult to do). Other than the rut, the road is bumpy but 100% doable by pretty much any car. The trailhead itself fills up pretty quick even on weekdays, but there’s a lot of places to park.
Posted By: Fairwind
Info: On Wednesday June 24 at noon, was unable to get past "the bad spot" on Josephine Hill, 2 miles up from the bottom. Vehicle was a new 4-Runner high clearance 4WD SUV.. We drove up in this same vehicle a week ago with no problems.. The road had deteriorated markedly ..Today, this section of road had stopped at least 20 vehicles, many of them capable high-clearance 4-WD SUV’s and trucks..These vehicles had simply managed to turn around and park near where they had stalled making passage that much more difficult.. The road has been "hogged out" by spinning tires digging very deep holes..

I’m thinking only the MOST capable of properly equipped 4-WD’s with skilled drivers will be able to make it past this point..
Posted By: ldesaul
Info: June 23
Acouple of miles up Stevens Gulch rd it gets fairly rough. Hence, people park on both sides of the narrow dirt road and walk the final mile to the trailhead. This makes the road nearly impossible to negotiate for two directional traffic.
And by the way, uphill traffic has the right of way.
I’m guessing all of the morons parked on both sides of the road June 23 are not members of this forum.
@clearcreekso if you’re listening ...
Posted By: thenotoriousrob
Info: I’ll second the post before. Lots of SUVs and trucks parked 1.5 miles in at a bend. 200 feet from the turn are some big pot holes, but if you go slowly through the middle, any SUV can make it. I saw 4Runners and Jeeps parked at this spot when they easily could have made it up. And yes, a Ford Focus was at the trailhead, along with a long wheelbase Chevy Suburban, if that helps your confidence. And it was extremely annoying coming down from the trailhead trying to squeeze past the cars who parked on the opposite side of the other cars. There was no room. Go back down and find other parking.
Posted By: nilaoire
Info: Some deep pot holes on road from Bakerville to Grays and Torreys parking lot - past Stephens Gulch cut off. We did see a Ford Focus at the trail head, impressive - maybe. Cars parked unnecessarily on both sides of the road - not cool. Would have been very difficult for a wider vehicle to get through, particularly annoying if you were planning on leaving.
Posted By: eagle06
Info: Worse condition vs last year. Saw a mini van make it but be prepared to take it real slow and hear some scrapes... just the one normal bad spot.
Posted By: dr101
Info: Made it up in a 07 Forester with tiny road tires, doable with any AWD setup with 7+ inches of clearance. There’s only one bad spot 2/3rds of the way up, but it’s doable in any car with good clearance though good line choice.
Posted By: sky_high
Info: Made it up to the top without needing 4wd (but it helped). Saw several 2wd cars at the top, but also a lot struggled with the deep section about 3/4 of the way to the trailhead. Parking lot filled up by 6:30 even on a weekday, and when we left there were cars all along the road. As people have noted, the road is in very bad condition compared to 2-3 years ago: lots of exposed rock, deep unavoidable ruts, poor grading. Drive slow and choose your line carefully.
Posted By: neilm
Info: Road up to the upper trailhead parking lot has a few deep holes, but judicious (i.e. SLOW) driving in a Subaru Forester got me there and back without shaking up my beers! If in doubt, get out, look about.
Posted By: scottieconqueso
Info: Drove up in a CRV. There was one really gnarly spot about halfway up, right before the private land and I didn’t feel like risking it. If you can make it past that point you should be able to make it all the way but it is a very deep rutted out spot.
Posted By: badams
Info: Made it fine in my Forester, but lower clearance vehicles may have issues in two or three spots. *might* be possible but personally I wouldn’t try it because of one spot in particular. This road is much worse than when I did it about 4-5 years ago.
Posted By: wolfgangstiller
Info: Road has a few more pot holes than I remember from last year at this time but it’s not bad and didn’t require any tricky driving beyond occasionally staying to one side or the other. No issues with snow or ice. Parking was supper busy for this early in the year and the main lot was full early.
Posted By: sklumb
Info: The road to the trailhead was completely melted out. I’m not entirely sure about where the potholes were that the previous report is talking about, I felt like there were a decent amount of taller rocks and potholes throughout but we did just fine in our 2016 Ford Escape! It was nice to have the entire width of the road to navigate around for the flattest spot. The parking lot was half full when we got there at 8am and about the same or less full when we left at 2:45pm.
Posted By: gatorquest
Info: Snow is basically all melted out, had no trouble making it to the summer TH from that perspective. The road has gotten worse from last year. There’s a spot maybe 1 mile from the TH that you have to be careful with if you don’t have super high clearance (I have a Subaru Crosstrek) - there are some deep holes on a narrow section. We had luck staying to the far left on the way up - had one person get out of the car and guide.
Posted By: ClimberSkierDave64
Info: We were able to drive up to within 0.2 miles of the upper trailhead. From there a Wrangler and a pickup truck were able to make it to the top as there was a few snowdrifts that should be melted within a week. The road seems quite a bit rougher than usual. There is one bad spot about 2 miles up where we saw a Subaru spin out many times and tear off their front bumper before succeeding. As long as you have decent clearance and choose a good line with some momentum, I thought it was no big deal.
Posted By: Carl
Info: The snow is passable and the summer trailhead is currently accessible by a stock high clearance SUV or truck (4Runner, Land Cruiser, and modified Wrangler were there today). There are a few snow drifts in the last 1/2 mile that will likely be melted out within the next 3 to 5 days.
Posted By: Fairwind
Info: Backstage, a battle is looming between the Forest Service and Clear Creek County and the property owners who are served by this "road"...Little in the way of road maintenance can be expected until a "site plan" is adopted that will limit or control the heavy summer traffic and illegal parking and camping..Everyone agrees the currant situation can not continue...
Posted By: JephgonnaSteph
Info: Drove a 4x4 truck with snow tires to 0.6 miles before the summer th, where it got stuck and there were no tire marks after that. Continuous snow begins approximately 0.3 miles before summer th. Still needs a week or so of melting before any passenger cars and drive all the way up. Would not recommend bringing any 2wd or low clearance vehicles because the road was very very rough!
Posted By: ClimberSkierDave64
Info: Drove up about 1.5 miles. There were a few snowdrifts that had tire tracks through them where we stopped but it looked like you could keep driving higher.
Posted By: angry
Info: Parked at lower 2wd lot off I70, road is snow packed to the 4wd th.

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