Willow Creek Trailhead


Road Difficulty

2WD, rough dirt road 2   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Easy 4WD may be required because the road often forms deep dips and portions are a bit steep.

Driving Directions

Take Colorado 17 to the town of Moffat. On the south side of town, look for a sign for the turn to Crestone. Turn east on the "RD T" road. You will soon see a Forest Service sign that says 15 miles to the South Crestone trailhead. Drive 11.4 miles to a road junction. Keep left and follow the main road into Crestone. In Crestone, turn right (east) onto Galena Street and the road will turn to 2WD dirt, with approx. 2 miles to go. When the road enters National Forest, it is labeled as the "South Crestone Road 949" and becomes more difficult but good-clearance vehicles should be able to make it to the end.

Winter Access

Status Updates 
Posted By: Gene913
Info: As of 08/08/2007, the Forest Service "4WD only" sign referenced in the previous update is still there, but a 4x2 Ford Ranger pickup made it all the way to the trailhead with little difficulty and a late model Taurus got within 1/4 mile of the trailhead.
Posted By: tauma
Info: One mile after the dirt road begins outside of Crestone the Forest Service have installed a sign stating 4W vehicles only beyond this point. (there is parking lot at this point). However, the road has been ’upgraded’ and I had no problems driving my Hertz Mazda 3 the extra mile to the end of the road. Same ’upgrade’ applies to Cottonwood Creek and it is an easy drive in.
Posted By: cjw
Info: Snowed in about .5 mile short of trailhead.
Posted By: stevevets689
Info: This trailhead is open, totally free of snow, and there were plenty of cars up there so I’m assumeing the road isn’t bad at all. You don’t encounter snow until quite a ways in, and even then it’s not bad, just little patches.
Posted By: Kiefer
Info: As the previous submission states, this TH is accessable by car. The road turns to dirt washboard pretty much as you pass through and leave the town of Crestone. Leave the windows up as this last 3 miles or so can get dusty when it’s dry. After a mile and a quarter they’ll be a (new) sign on the right stating the 4wd requirements of the road beyond. As stated, it is passable for a car. It does become rougher however with two spots where the dirt/sand becomes thick. STAY on the main road. There are many side trails and pull-outs. This could get confusing. When in doubt, look for recent activity or heavier use. A short section just before the parking lot for the TH might pose a problem for some cars. It’s not dramatic just a bit steeper then what you’ll see interplaced with rock. There’s a small parking area here you can stop at if so choose. Years ago, I took a Ford Probe up to this point with no problem.
Posted By: ursidae
Info: Sign says only 4wd vehicles. The road is pretty bumpy but I drove my Volvo 240 to the th with no incidents. The last hill about 200 meters before the road ends at the th looked pretty hairy however did not scrape anything vital off my undercarriage.
Posted By: stevevets689
Info: The trail is in much better condition now. You no longer encounter snow until you are close to the lake, and it can usually be bypassed. Up on the mountain is a different story... I talked to a few people who were coming down with ice axes and said that they didn’t make it. If you are camping out, watch the weather because lately it has been nasty. We got rained on, and it was a little chilly. Also if you camp out, watch for a female bighorn sheep. One came by and stuck around our camp all afternoon and evening and the next morning as well! Please don’t feed it, I think that’s why it stuck around for so long.
Posted By: stevevets689
Info: May-30, 2005. Willow Creek is in pretty good shape right now, a few fallen trees in the trail, no big deal. However, there is a creek crossing a few miles in and up on by the headwall and the water is rushing pretty heavy, so be really careful while crossing it. After that, there’s some snow, so just wear water proof stuff, pants and shoes in particular. I was making a few post holes in the snow from time to time. The lake and waterfalls are pretty frozen, but I didn’t get close enough to tell if they’re good enough for climbing. After that, no clue. The weather looked a bit forbidding, so I decided to go back

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