Huerfano/Lily Lake Trailhead
  

Location

Range: Sangre de Cristo
Coordinates: 37.62361, -105.47278
14ers: Mt. Lindsey
Elevation: 10,700'
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Road Difficulty

Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Usually rough 2WD to the west side of the landslide area, 20 miles in and 2 miles from the Lily Lake trailhead. Easy 4WD/AWD/Good-Clearance to reach the upper trailhead at 10,700'. 4WD may be required in spring when large puddles and mud are present.

Driving Directions

  • At 7.0 miles, the road turns to dirt.
  • At 11.8 miles, stay left on Forest Road 580.
  • At 15.7 miles, stay left at the entrance to the Singing River ranch. The road becomes narrow, but usually still 2WD.
  • At 16.7 miles, pass the entrance to the Aspen River ranch.
  • WARNING: In 2021, there's a rough section near 17.7 miles in that may require 4WD/AWD and good clearance. If you don't have 4WD, drive with someone who does because there's no 2WD parking in this area.
  • At approx. 20 miles, reach the the west side of large, landslide area where the road was re-routed in 2016. After this point, there's a steep section that requires 4WD.
  • Continue 2 miles on the rough, narrow road to reach the Lily Lake TH. There are many dispersed camping spots along the way.

Winter Access

Unknown

More Info

Parking: Room for ~10 vehicles at the trailhead but other places to pull off the road.
Camping: Dispersed camping at the pull-offs on the road.
Restrooms? No
Fees? No
Trailhead added by BillMiddlebrook
Status Updates 
  
Posted By: Veory
Info: Road is acessable but icy in spots up to a few hundred feet before the lower trailhead, where there was a puddle ~2 feet deep covered in 4 inches of ice (See picture). On my way down I saw a large 4wd truck drive through it, but then quickly returned so I assume the road isn’t accessable much higher up. I did have to move a downed tree out of the way on my way up.
1 
Posted By: Crestoner
Info: All downed trees are removed from the road. Trailhead is fully accessible.
 
Posted By: Oldguywithdogs81
Info: To reiterate what the previous posters have said, access right now is good past the Raspberry/Huerfano TH, but the road is blocked maybe 0.4 mile beyond that. Thus the trail to Lily Lake or Mt Lindsey is longer and more difficult due to the fallen timber. Summited Huerfano on 6/4. And the deadfall along the Huerfano Trail was pretty bad in spots, and worse in the Dutch Creek Basin. It’s also bad right along the Huerfano River on the Lily Lake and Lindsey Trails. Expect a little additional mileage and at least an additional hour for route finding if you’re up in the basin.
 
Posted By: bdwyer
Info: Hiked the "new" bicentennial 13656 this weekend from Lily Lake T/H. Cannot get up to T/H in a vehicle as of Saturday. Parked, camped almost a mile down. Forest Service has cleared to that point, it seems, but for now if you go, expect to add 2 miles to any hike into that area.
 
Posted By: 14er Fan
Info: As of Saturday, 5/28, the road to the trailhead was impassable about 1.2 miles from the Lily Lake Trailhead due to a fallen tree. Following the road closure, there were multiple fallen trees blocking the road to the trailhead. Once you arrive at the Lily Lake trailhead, there are additional fallen trees across the trail. Before the final stretch, it was evident crews/volunteers had sawed multiple trees to make the road passable as far as it was. Thank you to these people!
 
Posted By: Teresa Gergen
Info: The blowdown has been cleared from the road to at least the vicinity of the Raspberry Trail (about 0.6-0.7 mi south past the USFS boundary). I didn’t go farther than that. There is still a lot of small-branch-type debris covering the road, easy to drive over unless maybe your tires are bad.
 
Posted By: MBosch27
Info: Made to about 3 miles prior to the trailhead, (according to google earth, rough measurements) before we ran into a patch of blowdown, looked to be around 10 trees all jumbled and tangled across the road. Rough Coordinates: (39degrees,37’35"N /104degrees,27’49"W) according to google earth and 37degrees39’35.3"N 105degrees27’49.2"W according to Google Maps)

My piddly little hatchet would have taken days to cut through so that was the end of the road for us... About 300 yards before this point however, there is a large field with logs placed along the road, but there is a way through those, and if you want to overland, you could potentially cross said field, and regain the road, but the field is several hundred yards wide, and no telling what other rocks or ruts you would run across while crossing said field. Besides, being 3 miles from the T.H. - the road crosses many treed areas after this point, and I am sure there are more blowdown areas along the road over the next 3 miles (so probably not worth it). It is obvious that the entire valley most of the way back to Gardner had experienced this storm (10-15 miles worth, roughly???) and is very widespread. All the campgrounds along CR-580 were usable but looked in rough shape... so my conclusion is the remaining 3 miles have trees blown down all along the way...
3 
Posted By: Furthermore
Info: A huge tree blown across the road prevents easy driving ~150 yards just past the Aspen River Ranch. If one was to cut a few trees, it would be easy to drive an additional 1.5 miles up the road. Beyond that, it would take at least a day with a chain saw to remove all the downed trees on the road.
 
Posted By: Flyingfish
Info: Got a small layer of snow that made 4x4 almost mandatory to make the upper trailhead. Was mostly gone by the evening. I expect the road will be dry just in time for e the next front to move in.
 
Posted By: angry
Info: Dry to TH with the exception of one large puddle.
 
Posted By: jackjk1011
Info: Didn’t see the road damage on the 2WD part which was mentioned a few months ago. However, once past the ranches it’s pretty rough 2WD in places and sedans may have trouble. The 4WD part is crossover-able although it was slow and rough going in my AWD Kia Sorento. Outback or similar should be fine. Honestly the 4WD part isn’t much worse than the worst parts of the 2WD part, it just becomes more narrow and there are several humps you have to drive over.

This area is fairly remote and you should definitely write down the directions and not rely on GPS to get you through the maze of ranches and county roads in western Huerfano County. Google Maps got me *to* the TH just fine, but became confused when I attempted to drive out the same way and I had to figure it out myself. The 14ers.com directions start in Gardner which makes sense if you’re coming from Denver, etc. but if you’re coming from the south (US-160) you can take CR 572 (Pass Creek Road; intersects with US-160 between mile markers 276 and 277) north to CR 570, then take that north to CR 580 instead of first going out of your way to Gardner.
 
Posted By: Joelorado
Info: The road is fine except for the last few miles. 4WD not really necessary but good clearance is. Made it up fine in a Crosstrek with all terrain tires. Plenty of other Subarus up there as well. Don’t take your Prius or Accord up here.
 
Posted By: mmurphy8
Info: Ditto not seeing or at least noticing the damage mentioned at 17.7 miles. Rough, but made it fine in a Crosstrek. There are two larger puddle crossings and a metal culvert pipe that was a bit exposed. Saw several other Subarus parked for camping spots along the 4WD section near the TH.
 
Posted By: Phill the Thrill
Info: I did not see the road damage at 17.7 miles mentioned in the previous report. Road is clear all the way to the upper TH, but the last mile is quite rough and requires a vehicle with high clearance. I was surprised to see a couple of Outbacks at the upper trailhead. I’d recommend walking the last mile rather than risking damage to your nice new Suby.
 
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: As mentioned in the last update, there’s some road damage which likely blocks most 2WD vehicles at ~17.7 miles in. It’s a few deep holes made by vehicles spinning tires. I was there today and while it wasn’t a problem with my 4WD pickup, it’s obvious that 2WD vehicles have been trying to get through this area and it’s just getting worse. If you don’t have 4WD/AWD, travel with someone who does because there’s no place to park this low on the road.
 
Posted By: cisnerosab
Info: Some major divots in the 2WD dirt road to the trailhead as mentioned in previous posts. Also large rocks. Wouldn’t recommend for low clearance or 2WD vehicles. No appreciable difference between the 2WD section after Aspen River Ranch and the 4WD section beyond.

Closest 2WD parking seems to be at Huerfano State Wildlife Area, which would entail maybe 5 miles of hiking in on dirt roads to reach the TH.

TH itself is well signed and the drive/hike in is beautiful.
 
Posted By: cdgibbons
Info: Clear and dry to the trailhead. I found the large holes mentioned in the last post (about mile 17) challenging in an AWD with six inches of clearance. This location is still on private land.
 
Posted By: seayachter
Info: Road is in decent shape. Made it to 4wd trailhead in stock 4x4 truck staying in 2wd most of the way. There’s some large holes in the 2wd section of the road that can be avoided with careful driving. Saw a Honda CR-V at the 4wd TH.
 
Posted By: rosey33
Info: Upper trailhead accessible with 4wd. No snow to deal with. There was 3 or 4 large puddles but they are not deep. Seems like it got a little more rough compared to last year at this time.
 
Posted By: joflyer22
Info: Made it to within 1/3 of a mile of the 4WD trailhead in a 4WD, but low clearance, Ford Expedition. A Tacoma had made it to about 1/4 of a mile with better clearance to deal with some snow. There are some larger snowbanks at the point I stopped but after that the road is dry and clear to the TH. There were 2 puddle crossings on the way up... the first one was shallow and had a rock bottom, the second was just mud that had warmed up and was very soft in the evening. I made it across with momentum but probably would have had more trouble if I was going slow.
5 
Posted By: supranihilest
Info: Still blocked at the landslide by stubborn drifts. Once they’re melted there’s also one downed tree sticking halfway out onto the road en route to the lower trail head, which is one mile from the landslide. I did not investigate beyond the lower trailhead. There are no bathrooms at the landslide, but as you drive in there’s a picnic area in Huerfano State Wildlife Area with multiple bathrooms. Note that these are miles from the landslide, so do your business before or after.
 
Posted By: jmanner
Info: Yesterday we parked 3.5 miles from the upper trailhead or 1.08 miles from the landslide. In a week or two youll be able to get the landslide, but itll probably by late May before it melts out enough to get to the upper trailhead.
2 
Posted By: RWSchaffer
Info: Road free of snow to trailhead.

As observed in recent reports, the 2WD section of the road contains an obstacle that is not friendly to 2WD vehicles. Here is a picture. This is about 0.9 miles above the Aspen Ranch entrance.

My 2WD hatchback, which has a lift for just over 7 inches of clearance, made it through without scraping. But it also pitched and rolled, spinning wheels on the way up and chattering anti-lock brakes on the way down.
1 
Posted By: kiwiliam
Info: Currently, if you can get a 2WD as far as the slip, meaning you got past the large potholes a couple of miles after Singing River Ranch, you can drive to within about 3/4 miles of the upper trailhead. About a 1/4 mile after the Huerfano and Zapata Pass trails cross the road, it turns right and starts up hill at a steeper grade. This is where the first bad spot is visible, and you’ll probably want to start hiking. People parked on the corner and plenty of spots a little back down the road.

BTW. If you are coming south from WESTCLIFFE on CO69 just after mile post 31 turn on right CR555. At the end of this road, turn right onto CR550 which is the road to Mosca Pass that turns to dirt in the description. You will cut off about 6 miles. From Westcliffe its 50 miles to 4WD trailhead: 30min on 69, 30mins on dirt roads to Singing River Ranch and 30mins of rough road to the trailhead.
 
Posted By: areedhay
Info: CR580 is dry to the Zapata trail (for California Peak’s North Ridge route) 20.8 miles from Gardner turnoff on HWY 69. The various obstacles seem to have deepened since last I was one the road (in August) but still passable for most vehicles. 2020 Tacoma breezed.
 
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