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Mt. Elbert (South) Trailhead

Posted By: aholle88
Info: A couple of stock trucks/Jeeps made it to the upper trailhead today. Mix of dry road and icy/snowy ruts. Creek not frozen yet. Very muddy descending. I parked my Impreza at 9.8k, just before the first steep section of road that used to be deeply rutted. About 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile from the paved road. Confirming prior reports, the road has been smoothed out in that particular spot.
Posted By: rpgrayson
Info: Drove up to the 4WD TH in my Tacoma with no issues. Was amazed to find a stock Plymouth Caravan with standard highway tires parked there as well! That is something I would NOT recommend.
Posted By: taranichols_02
Info: Within the last month, this road has been grated. I rate it a 1.5 at worst, its no longer as rough as the rating is saying.
Posted By: E_A_Marcus_949
Info: Stock Jeep made it up to the TH with no issues. Mostly 4Runners, Tacomas, Jeeps, and trucks up there. One (looked stock) Subaru Forester. I’d likely take my Forester up and have issues in 2-3 places but could probably do it with careful driving.
Posted By: zootloopz
Info: To elaborate on the conditions report from 14er101 -- the crux of the road is certainly at 0.5 miles. Rutted out. I took it on the right side of the road going up. A competent subaru driver can handle it. Pretty easy road otherwise. Stream crossing isn’t too deep. Multiple suburbans and subarus at the TH.
Posted By: 14er101
Info: Rought section at 0.5miles (2wd or awd could make it too this point)
Creek crossing around 1.7ish
Posted By: securis
Info: 4WD trail was intense in spots: one was particularly rocky and torn up, and my lifted F-250 hit bumper on one outcropping. Another section had a strong-flowing stream. I don’t think I’d try it in a Subaru, but there were several 4Runners, Tacomas, and a Dodge 2500 at the top.
Posted By: espressoself
Info: It has been a couple of years since Ive driven to the upper TH, and it was in worse shape than I remembered. We made it up in a stock Outback, but we saw a lot of other Subarus turning back before the first major obstacle. In fact, I think we were one of two that made it to the upper TH today. I would consider this about the upper limit of what I would put the subie through. There are three sections (not including the stream crossing) that required extra attention, good clearance, and 4WD. The tree mentioned in earlier reports has been removed from the road.

To whomever said this was doable in a sedan, I sincerely hope you were joking.
Posted By: ellenmseb
Info: There’s currently a small tree blocking the road just after the creek crossing. A saw should make quick work of it. Otherwise extremely subaruable or maybe even sedanable if you’re bold.
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Drove all the way to the upper trailhead at 1.8mi. There are two holes/rut spots along the road that require 4wd and good clearance. The more difficult one is at 0.5mi and the other is at 1.0mi. I have a full-size pickup and moved past both without issue.
Posted By: gregpeak
Info: I was able to drive within 100 yards of the 4WD trailhead. There was a snowbank there that somebody had driven through and made it to the trailhead, but I parked just below it. It will probably be melted in a few days,
Posted By: themadgadder
Info: No problem driving my stock 2017 Honda CR-V to the 4WD trailhead this morning. The road is free of snow, and the stream crossing was manageable.
Posted By: RWSchaffer
Info: The 24 road leading to the 2WD parking, and the 2WD parking itself, were both plowed but with significant icy stretches. The 4WD road to the trailhead held several inches of well packed snow and was not passable to wheeled vehicles; wheeled vehicle tracks made it no farther than about 100 feet from the 24 road (pictured). Plan on parking at the 2WD parking and walking to the trailhead.
Posted By: Jstodda
Info: Approach to 2WD trailhead was ok. Easy approach but icy the following day due to snowstorm. 4WD trail pretty deep with the snow on the 26th.
Posted By: 14ercooper
Info: While there’s technically no gate or anything blocking the road, it’s buried in enough snow that you’re probably not getting any vehicle up there (and the one person who seems to have tried only made it like 50 yards, if even).
Posted By: summit21
Info: Was able to get within .30 miles of upper 4WD TH (my buddy’s RAV4 TRD Pro). Creek has about 3-4 inches of water and probably could have made it all the way but he didn’t want to push it. Just a couple of rough spots otherwise no issues.
Posted By: serveJesusChrist
Info: The river crossing is about 5 inches deep. I made it without any problems in a 2WD Chevy Suburban.
Posted By: codyli34
Info: 4WD trailhead was accessed with no problems in a 2014 Nissan Rogue AWD. Road shouldn’t be an issue for most vehicles with a decent amount of clearance. Stream crossing was not an issue. Lot was full around 6am, though several vehicles managed to park in less than ideal places around the trailhead.
Posted By: OilyOrca
Info: Access to 4WD drive trailhead was manageable, single creek crossing was comfortable in a light SUV.
Posted By: aldsw
Info: No problem getting my Subaru Outback up / down the 4wd road to the South Elbert trailhead but word of warning that the lot is extremely small. We drive up Saturday afternoon and all camp spots were taken by 6pm. There were still la couple parking spots left but the lot was completely full by 6am on Sunday.
Posted By: kimbuk2
Info: Clear 4x4 road all the way to the trailhead. One creek crossing, unsure of clearance needed for it but a few Subarus were parked at the top. I got there in a non-lifted Land Cruiser with KO2 tires.

FYI the placard at the TH states the trail is 3.85 miles each way, but it’s more like 5.50 miles (aka 14ers beta is accurate)
Posted By: swilson753
Info: As others have said, this is doable by most cars with decent clearance. Got my 2WD Hyundai Tucson (6.7") with worn all-season tires to the TH with no scraping. Creek was 4-6" deep on 6/11 in the evening.
Posted By: Pedro F
Info: As gregpeak notes, road is totally clear of snow to the 4WD TH. Road is in pretty good condition, only a handful of mildly rowdy spots, otherwise smooth with no washboarding. Creek crossing almost a non-event at ~15’ width and less than 6" depth. Any vehicle with AWD and Subaru-caliber clearance should have no problem making it; indeed, there were two Subies at the TH the day I was there. For comparison, I found this easier than the 4WD portion of the N. Halfmoon Creek TH road.
Posted By: gregpeak
Info: The road is clear all the way to the 4wd trailhead.
Posted By: heathcliff
Info: On April 10, the road was dry about halfway up, 0.9 miles in - thats where we parked. Then hit intermediate snow that turned to slush/mud in the afternoon. Upper TH and last 0.2 mile was completely snow covered. A little clearance needed, but overall an easy 4wd road relative to other 14ers, any full SUV or truck should be fine once its dry.

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