Grizzly Gulch Trailhead


Range: Front Range
Coordinates: 39.662958, -105.817198
14ers: Grays Peak, Torreys Peak
Elevation: 10,750'
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Road Difficulty

Moderate 4WD, long wheel base vehicles not recommended. Good clearance required. 4   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Rough 2WD to the start of the Grizzly Gulch road, approx. 1 mile up the Grays Peak road. Narrow, rough 4WD up the Grizzly Gulch road.

Driving Directions

The Grizzly Gulch 4WD road is rough and narrow and not recommended for an SUV. From I-70, take exit #221 at Bakerville and continue to the south side of the highway and the start of Forest Road 189. Drive up 189 over 1 mile and turn right onto the Grizzly Gulch road. Stay right on the "189.1c" road after 1/4 mile and continue west into Grizzly Gulch.

Winter Access

Closed at the start of the Grays (189) road, near I-70.

More Info

Parking: Parking involves finding a pull-off from the road. The best area is near the large river crossing.
Camping: Dispersed only.
Restrooms? No
Fees? No
Trailhead added by BillMiddlebrook
Status Updates 
Posted By: Thevirtualsherpa
Info: Road still mostly covered in snow after creek crossing. If descending Emperor or Y - expect a lot of transitioning or carrying gear once back on road. Snow does not go continuously from bottom of lines to creek. Snow bridge on second creek crossing, but melting fast.
Posted By: Agstrohmeier
Info: Road driveable to just beyond the third creek crossing. You can go a little further than that, but parking is limited. Snowfields and two downed trees a little further down the road.
Posted By: ClimberSkierDave64
Info: Easily drivable to the junction with the Grays Peak road. I wouldn’t drive any further, although a Ford Ranger did make it a quarter mile up the road. It should be driveable for the first mile past the junction in a week or two. It melting quick up there!
Posted By: mtnrgr275
Info: Stevens Gulch Road is impassable till the snow melts. I skin the road weekly and see stuck 4x4s or the large ruts caused by stuck vehicles every time. The first mile is fairly hard pack, but is also the steepest section. If you drive off the hard pack you’ll find 2-3 feet of unconsolidated, unsupportive, pure sugar, depth hoar. The tow bill will be very expensive when you get stuck.

Also Stevens Gulch Road is a popular ski route. The deep ruts left by stuck trucks is a hazard to people skiing down. Please tread lightly and just park at the exit. Embrace the challenge of winter ascents and accept the longer approach.
Posted By: bergsteigen
Info: Reading the last update, I wasnt sure how far Id make it down the road, then I remembered I have a lifted Tacoma. Clearance for days. Plus the streams are more normal sized now.

You can drive 0.5 miles beyond the 3rd stream crossing (~1.8 miles on GG), but you may not want to. Theres no where to turn around at the Emperor Avy debris. A nice pullout is 0.3 miles beyond the stream crossing. Go beyond only if you like backing down a 4wd road with slippery mud that will slide you around for that extra 0.2 mile. I didnt like it.
Posted By: Thevirtualsherpa
Info: Would recommend very high clearance and an experienced driver to make it past the 1st creek crossing. Road is in rough shape and creeks are raging. Debri fields at emperor and near Tuning will not be going anywhere for the foreseeable future. If you do make it past 3rd creek crossing, I would find a spot to park there before the road ends.
Posted By: Carl
Info: Grizzly Gulch road is driveable approximately 1.6 miles from the start. In a few days it should be driveable another tenth of a mile to the avalanche debris at the base of the Emperor Couloir, where its blocked by downed trees.
Posted By: randomboulder
Info: Was able to drive to the first clearing/avalanche path near the base of of Emperor Couloir at 11k in a stock 4Runner. Continuing to the next clearning/avy path at 11,200ft would not have been possible due to several downed trees farther up the road. Creek crossings were no problem. There were a few muddy spots, but they didn’t present any problems. Scraped the skid plate a few times and there’s a tight, off-camber turn through some dead fall just before the first clearing. I made it through fine, but on the way out my rear wheels slid and caused me to scrape against a branch on the rear quarter panel. Saw another 4Runner, FJ Cruiser and a Ford Ranger parked up there later that day.
Posted By: SolarAlex
Info: Road is dry and drivable to the end. Creek crossings were manageable and the mud pit was passable for a jeep and modified toyota truck, although the jeep seemed to struggle coming back. We parked at the big creek crossing about 1/2 mile from the end of the road. Xterra, 4runner, couple of toyota trucks all made it no problem.
Posted By: AlexeyD
Info: Made it to just before the mud pit in my Forester, with just a couple of bumps. In the morning light, realized that there is a bypass around the pit on the right; however this would really only buy you maybe 10 mins of walking until the "real" end of the drivable road. There are 3 stream crossings, none of which felt particularly scary or difficult. Otherwise, there are definitely some pretty rough sections, and yes, it falls into the category of "4x4 road" - the Subie was near the limit of what it could handle, for sure. Higher-clearance and true 4x4 vehicles should have little difficulty.
Posted By: COnaive
Info: Drove to about 1/4 mile from where the road passes across the valley from the large gulley on the north side of Torreys, where the road is buried in avy debris including large trees. The mud pit mentioned below, just past the last creek crossing is there, and the trail around it has been fenced off. Would recommend that stock 4x4s park before the mud pit, as it is much harder to drive out of on the way out than on the way in, even with mud tires and a rear locker I almost got bogged down in it.
Posted By: burnindaylight
Info: There is a mud pit just past the "Grizzly Gulch (Upper TH)", as marked on the TH map, that I managed to bury my Xterra in. It looks like some people have driven through the willows to bypass the pit. The road was clear to that point.
Posted By: Carl
Info: Road is clear of snow to the base of the Tuning Fork (north face of Torreys). Made it in a 4Runner without any problem.
Posted By: geoffnco
Info: Cinnamon closed due to mudslides on 7-5-2012
Posted By: KansasBoarder
Info: Easy 2WD to Gulch road turnoff. 4WD road clear of snow through prominent meadow prior to wide creek crossing (full mile up from the junction). Patchy snow for 1/3 of a mile after the creek crossing (where the road begins to narrow), where a more continuous snowpack exists.
Posted By: One Sierra Charlie
Info: The road is now clear of snow up to about 100 yards past the second creek crossing. The remaining snow patches above this point proved impassable to all who tried this past weekend. The snow is melting fast, however, so you may be able to drive higher in a few days.
Posted By: One Sierra Charlie
Info: The road still contains many patches of deep, soft snow beyond the first creek crossing (which is only a few hundred yards past the split with the main road to the Stevens Gulch trailhead). I crossed the creek and then promptly got my 4-Runner stuck in the first snow patch on the other side. I gave up, backed across the creek, parked in the large flat area on the other side and continued on foot. Walking in I could see that it would be absolutely impossible to drive the road right now in anything less than an ATV. It only took me 50 minutes to walk from my car to the base of the NW Couloir. I was able to ski over half of the distance on the way out, which was nice and efficient. Until the road is reported clear of snow, I would not mess with it. Simply park on the near side of the creek and walk in. You can temporarily drive across, unload gear and people, and then return for parking. You will be really unhappy if you get your car stuck and end up spending the rest of your day dealing with this instead of climbing Torreys!
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Rode entire Grizzly Gulch road today on an ATV. One snow patch near the start of the road is still blocking truck/jeep access but after that the road is almost entirely dry.
Posted By: bfrog5326
Info: Didn‘t do Grizzly Gulch, but Stevens Gulch is open up to the top. Enjoy!
Posted By: Chicago Transplant
Info: The road is drivable to the Grizzly Gulch split for 4WD vehicles. Bakerville to Grizzly Gulch is snowpacked and well consolidated, plenty of room to park and turn vehicles around at the road split. 4WD recommended, clearance not required. I did not go any farther up the Grizzly Gulch road as Stevens Gulch was my destination.
Posted By: larkinrx2
Info: as of 7/29
road clear to top, decent ruts that require high clearance 2x4 or good skill in low clearance with 4x4 as you will center and spin (ie a subaru can make it with skill, my wrangler made it no problem)
Posted By: CO_THFC
Info: As of 5/30 the snow drift 3/4 up the Grizzy Gulch road is still there. Using my 4WD Toyota truck and another‘s Jeep, we eventually broke through the drift but it required mutual pull-outs with a tow strap. Due to the rapid melt/run off, we encountered two very deep pools of water after the last stream crossing. DO NOT attempt unless you have a buddy/winch/snorkel. It is very deep and you could easily kill your engine or get stuck. If you can cross the pools you‘ll be able to get to about 1/2 mile from the tuning fork route until the road is completely blocked by snow (and remember, the pools will get deeper as the day goes on).
Posted By: ScottN
Info: As of 5-25 you could drive about 3/4 of a mile up the Grizzly Gulch road before the snow drifts stop you.
Posted By: RoanMtnMan
Info: As of 4/29/09 the TH was snow covered a few hundred feet above the I70 lot all the way up. It is probably possible to drive higher in the morning but will be difficult to get out later when the snow softens.
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Rode a snowmobile all the way up the Grizzly Gulch road to 11,400‘ near the end of the basin. The sled track followed the Grizzly Gulch 4WD road.
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