American Basin Trailhead

Posted By: cpdas
Info: Made it all the way to the upper trailhead in a stock Mazda CX-9 with no issues, a few rough spots along the way to grizzly gulch, then not so bad to the turn off for American basin but the toughest section forsure was in that last 0.75 miles to the upper trailhead. If you don’t have high clearance I’d recommend parking right near the creek crossing and hiking that last 0.75-0.5 of a mile.
Posted By: shwilsh
Info: Road to Grizzly Gulch is much rougher than the stated 2WD starting around mile marker 10 - you need a stock 4WD. This continues to be the case all the way until the first stream crossing past the junction for Cinnamon Pass, at which point you will definitely need a high clearance 4WD to make it the remaining ~0.75 to the American Basin TH. We camped out just below the stream crossing and hiked in from there and on the way to the TH saw a larger SUV model of Subaru who had popped a flat on a large exposed rock halfway bw the stream and the TH. Didn’t see the stated pull-offs just below the junction for Cinnamon Pass when we drove in in the dark but there is room for a half-dozen cars or so between the junction and where the road gets nasty.
Posted By: kritifer15
Info: Made it to the upper trailhead in a GMC Yukon (Somehow). Turned on 4WD 14 mi. down CR 30. The only bad spot for us was .1 mi. before the upper trailhead. We had to get out and spot my dad to help him avoid hitting the oil pan. Excellent summer conditions at the trailhead with wildflowers blooming.
Posted By: zmokrycki
Info: I saw the other post about taking a stock outback up here, so I felt the courage to brave it in my slightly above stock crosstrek- Falken wild peaks and skid plates.

Didn’t have any issues getting up there. I did jump out of the car to scope the line before sending it.

It should be noted there are TWO creek crossings to get to the TH, but neither one was an issue. I made it up the American basin creek and then found a campsite 3 or 4 spots in, though I probably could have made it to the top- I figured I’d pushed my luck enough.
Posted By: ssowalskie
Info: The road is clear all the way to the 4WD upper trailhead, minus the creek crossing after turning onto the American Basin road from County Road 30. I did manage to get my stock Subaru Outback up to the upper trailhead, somehow, but would not recommend it; I would just park at the large pull-off after the creek crossing unless you have a vehicle with high clearance.
Posted By: Clairebaums
Info: This road requires a high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle. We got up it in a rented jeep Wrangler. The last 0.75 miles of the road was blocked by snow.
Posted By: rsuminsby
Info: Cinnamon Pass opened yesterday, 5/28/2023. Although the sign at the entrance to the Alpine Loop just south of lake City still said "Closed" this morning, I assume they’ll update that soon. So it appears American Basin is now accessible from both east and west.
Posted By: jjjeffries32
Info: I have no updates but am planning to drive to the American Basin trailhead Saturday morning. Just looking to see what the condition of the trail is by someone that has drove it recently. I have a 2015 stock Toyota 4Runner.

Sorry, I am out of state and am trying to see what it is like before I commit to driving 13 hours.
Posted By: JQDivide
Info: CR 30 is in awful shape. It is the worst I have seen it in 20 plus years. Getting a 2wd vehicle to the Grizzly Gulch TH used to be the norm. I would not take a regular 2wd up that road anymore. It is rough, rocky and washed out, repaired in spots. Between the heavy rains and OHV traffic this summer, the road is no longer an easy cruise. Even 4wd vehicles will be driving slower, so add anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to your trip. You will want a 4 x 4 to get to the top of the pass, some of the switchbacks are all rock. I spoke with a sheriff deputy on top the of the pass, and he said the road has gotten worse since this spring. Not sure what it will be like once the snow melts for the 2023 summer.
Posted By: Hiker Mike
Info: CR30 past the junction with CR35 is pretty rough I thought. Lots of potholes in the road the further I drove. A 4WD vehicle with good ground clearance is a must. The stream crossing was easy as the water is not high. The drive back down was no easier but the views are spectacular. The Aspens are really in full color.

FYI, not that it matters much but I did use Google maps to get to the first trailhead from Lake San Cristobal and it did fine.
Posted By: soxfan249
Info: Made it all the way to American Basin without scraping in a Subaru Crosstrek with Falken Wildpeaks. Only one spot halfway between the junction for Cinnamon Pass and the parking lot required a spotter, but better drivers wouldn’t need one. I would be nervous driving stock tires past the junction, or even past Silver Creek/Grizzly Gulch. It is a long, bumpy road.
Posted By: mca25
Info: Drove from Lake City to American Basin trailhead via CR30. Gravel road starting at the turnoff from Hwy 149 is in excellent condition until you start gaining elevation at the end of the valley. The road becomes more narrow and has large and high rock as well as deep pot holes. Passable for any car with higher clearance or a pickup truck. I drove a 2011 Forester, no problems all the way to the trailhead. However I had to slow down to 5 to 8 mph for the rougher road. Drive to trailhead took 2 hours.
Posted By: nutella262
Info: Still in summer conditions from Cinnamon Pass to American Basin, easily passable in 4WD. Saw a Subaru turn back to lower parking between Cinnamon and American.

Cinnamon Pass is quite rough on the east (Lake City) side. Silverton side is better, but the pass is definitely not for the faint of heart. Took at least 75min from the Animas Fork in a stock LTD 4runner to get to American Basin.
Posted By: RUN_IT
Info: The rain over the last few weeks, not to mention the heavy and constant OHV traffic scraping the roads, have exposed quite a few sharp rocks in the very last stretch about 1/4 mile from TH. I wouldnt do it without tires with good rock protection and aired down. No scraping in the 4Runner but I was a bit stressed in a few sections towards the end. Maybe I care too much about my vehicle.
Posted By: MountainManta1
Info: Made it without too much difficulty (just a long rough road and some line picking) in a Subaru Crosstrek to just past the creek crossing ~.3 miles from the trailhead (pull out on left). Only higher clearance Tacomas, 4 Runners and Jeeps made it to the top lot. Theres one rough patch that stopped another Subaru right past where we parked.
Posted By: Azheng418
Info: Not really a 4wd road, more of a difficult 2WD road, made it all the way up to American basin with ease in a Volvo S60 Cross Country. Just pick your line and take it slowwwww.
Posted By: bribaker2001
Info: Upper TH is accessible via 4WD and good clearance. Upper creek crossing is maybe 6" deep. Found lost Toyota keys on trail at 13,500, likely dropped by white-bearded, single hiker seen descending from upper saddle at 6:40am; he nor an unoccupied Toyota were seen at the TH or anywhere down into town.
Posted By: sibetribe
Info: Road was free of any snow. There were 2 stream crossings that were no issue. After the last outhouse is when the road starts to get challenging. If you have a 4x4 w/clearance then it is very doable. Without clearance, I would not risk your car much after the American Basin turn.
Posted By: derekpetrie
Info: Road snow free to the TH. Two minor water crossings, no issues with a stock F-150. I did return to a marmot with its head exploring my trucks under carriage. No damage however there are several marmot homes around the TH, beware!
Posted By: nsaladin
Info: Road is clear of snow all the way to American Basin. Cinnamon pass has been plowed up to the summit and down to Animas Forks. Engineer is still not open from lake city side but should be soon. Cinnamon Pass from Lake City to Silverton is open.

Shot towards Sneffels Range as #3 and some heavy machinery that was sunk 5 feet deep in mud as #2
Posted By: CheapCigarMan
Info: Two stream crossings. The second just below the 4WD TH is widest and deepest. Road is plowed and clear all the way to just past the second stream crossing. You are able to drive beyond the second stream but will soon encounter snow drifts. This puts you at about a half a mile below the end of the road, the 4WD TH.
Posted By: bergsteigen
Info: Was able to drive to the lower 4WD just over the stream crossing. Snow begins right afterwards.
Posted By: john curtis
Info: Several patches of snow (not deep) up to the Cinnamon Pass/American Basin split. American Basin is only passable to the 3rd pull-off. I parked my Jeep Wrangler at the second pull-off at 11,352 ft. Deep show drifts cover the road the majority of the way to the trailhead for Handies Peak.
Posted By: -wren-
Info: With careful line choice, I was able to make it up and down to the upper trailhead without scraping in a 2003 Outback (7.9 inch clearance, AWD). On the way back I had to get out and look more closely at a couple of the nastier spots that are more blind on the descent. Low gear was helpful on the descent to creep over the sharper stuff with extra caution. Backing up for another vehicle would be a huge pain in the ass in a similar vehicle and would definitely call for a spotter. Any car with 7+ inches of clearance should be able to get just past the creek crossing fine with 2WD.
Posted By: Pedro F
Info: FROM SILVERTON -- Google maps is accurate, at least from a routing perspective (2 to Animas Forks, 5 to Cinnamon Pass, 30 from Cinnamon Pass). Road is not too bad through Eureka; don’t be fooled though, it gets a good amount worse after Eureka, becoming more like a 4 rating, IMO...certainly worse than coming the opposite way from Lake City. I was squarely in 10mph (sometimes less) territory basically the whole way from Eureka, so Google maps claim of 45 min Eureka-TH is optimistic. Regardless, it gets tedious dealing with that for some 9 miles straight. Downdrive from Cinnamon Pass to the TH was relatively easy.

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