Jennings Creek Trailhead


Range: Sawatch Range
Coordinates: 38.60050, -106.27888
14ers: Tabeguache Peak, Mt. Shavano
Elevation: 10,500'
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Road Difficulty

Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
4WD dirt to the TH.

Driving Directions

Drive to the intersection of U.S. 285 and U.S. 50 in Poncha Springs. Go west on U.S. 50 for 6 miles and turn right on County Road (CR) 240. After 3 miles, CR 240 turns to dirt. Continue 0.6 mile to the Angel of Shavano trailhead, campground and picnic area. After the campground, the road turns to 4WD. Continue another 3.8 miles to reach the unmarked trailhead on the right. The total drive from U.S. 50 is approx. 7.6 miles. There's parking for 2 or 3 vehicles but you'll also find some pull-offs along the road, 0.25 mile below the trailhead and 0.4 mile above. Since the trailhead signs have been removed, it's easy to miss; Here are the coordinates: N 38.60050, W -106.27888

Winter Access

Closed over 5 miles below the TH.

More Info

Parking: 2-3 Vehicles can park right at the start of the trail. There are more pull-offs along the 4WD road.
Camping: Not many dispersed camping options along the 4WD road. Try the Angel of Shavano campground.
Restrooms? No
Fees? No
Trailhead added by BillMiddlebrook
Status Updates 
Posted By: mightycuine
Info: Road is Subaruable but not crossover SUV friendly. Couldn’t get a 2WD Hyundai Tucson (6.8" clearance) more than .3 miles past Angel of Shavano CG due to a steepish section with ruts and loose rocks that I couldn’t keep traction on. I did see a Lexus RX350 about .75 below the trailhead. YMMV with better driving/tires.
Posted By: davisrice4
Info: The road is subaruable up to billings lake.
Posted By: MaryinColorado
Info: Road has a couple of interesting obstacles. Past the maintained section of road, things get super rocky. I’d be hesitant to take a standard SUV (i.e., 7.3" clearance). Probably not impossible, but plenty of opportunities to hit components in the undercarriage. (For comparison, definitely more rough than the Stevens Gulch Rd to Grays/Torreys in a few spots.)
Posted By: yaktoleft13
Info: Went to Cyclone Creek trailhead today, which is largely an unmarked pulloff on the side of the road. Road is pretty bumpy, but likely passable in any suv with any kind of clearance. Nothing really technically difficult, just rocky and slow-going
Posted By: globreal
Info: The road is clear of debris. Drove all the way to the Jennings Creek TH in a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Lower all wheel drive vehicles like Subaru Outbacks can probably make it. However, this road is quite bumpy. At this trailhead, there is a sign saying "Trail Closed." After our climb of Tabeguache, we ran into some Forest Service guys and asked.This trailhead is OPEN for the WEST RIDGE route. The trial up the SOUTHWEST RIDGE is closed. The hike through the Jennings Creek drainage is beautiful, and the west ridge route is amazing!
Posted By: LetsGoMets
Info: Moderate 4x4 to the trailhead. One section a bit past the Angel of Shavano Campground that I would maybe classify as an "obstacle" but mostly it’s a rocky road and you just want clearance/good lines over the protruding rocks sticking up. Wouldn’t recommend AWD, but probably doable.

Trailhead is unmarked and located exactly as described here. Google maps also navigates well to it. Enough parking for 2 vehicles at the TH, but there are pull-offs before and after the TH proper. Trail itself is in pretty great shape.
Posted By: jslove1
Info: Trailhead access is pretty accurately described already. Water running on roadbed here and there, but nothing notable. I mostly post just to say that we drove back in the long long sprinter 4x4, so if you have a long or tall vehicle (Im 9 tall and 24 long) you can make it given that the vehicle is offroad capable. Im not exactly nimble, but 4low can overcome a lot fortunately. The worst of the road right now was a steeper rocky bit about a mile past the campground, reminiscent of some of the stuff on south colony lakes approach. High clearance makes it all pretty mellow, albeit still bumpy.
Posted By: ltlFish99
Info: Trailhead is exactly where it is supposed to be according to the coordinates and other information.
I thought the last 3.8 miles was quite rough in spots. There were a Lot of rocks, some of them quite large.
It was definitely a slow 3.8 miles.
nice place to sleep before hiking tabeguache the next day. Only 1 other vehicle at the trailhead.
I drove .4 miles past the trailhead and found a Large wonderful place to park on the left.
Posted By: E_A_Marcus_949
Info: Drove up in stock 2018 Forester. Right after campground it gets rougher, but my Forester made it just fine. Maybe two spots that require some navigating, but otherwise just pick your line and watch for all the rocks on the hills heading to the TH. No major puddles to be aware of right now. Parking for 2-3 (me, a 4Runner, and a Pilot all parked) at TH (right where the coordinates are).

I would say similar road challenges to Huron/Ice upper TH from Summer 2020 if that helps gauge the road condition/driveability.
Posted By: CraigE
Info: I drove to the Jennings Creek trailhead in a stock Forester on 8/30/2020. Just want to confirm that dirt road past Angel of Shavano Campground is pretty rough and requires good clearance. There are 2 or 3 washed out spots where you have to pick your line carefully.
Posted By: jnorris303
Info: Rough, narrow road past the Angel of Shavano picnic area. It is a mix of smooth stretches and stretches with lots of rocks and a few steep sections. High clearance is the biggest thing here, as are decent tires. You could easily bust a tire here if you aren’t careful. Having said that, most SUVs with good clearance and a careful driver can make it to the unmarked Jennings Creek Trailhead. My 2018 Forester on all-terrain tires did just fine, albeit slowly. I wouldn’t try with less than 8" of clearance. An Outback, Cherokee or something similar will make it just fine. 4Runners were built for roads like this. Don’t try it in a Ford Edge Sport (for example) or any SUV that is more on-road oriented. If you’ve been up the Winfield road to Huron’s main trailhead, you’ll be just fine on this one. Picture is @ trailhead, facing back down the road (east).
Posted By: wanderingsteve
Info: The road is a little rough, but I made it to the trailhead in an Outback without any issues. As long as you have 4WD, some clearance, and take your time, you should be fine.
Posted By: crowdsurf
Info: Road is open to the TH. Not a difficult road but as always I am surprised what people can get up to some THs. Decent tires will go a long way. Rocks on the road are numerous.
Posted By: Bryan W
Info: The road past the Shavano Campground is open and in good condition all the way to the trailhead. The cleared avalanche debris is approximately 1/4 mile prior to the the trailhead. Anything with the slightest bit of clearance should not have any problem getting to Jennings Creek. This is as of 9/5/19.
Posted By: Flyingfish
Info: Road is open to the trailhead. Very rough in places and requires high clearance
Posted By: Ashleybarrett9
Info: The road is blocked by a barricade at about 3 miles down, right after the Angel of Shavano Campground. The sign on the barricade stated that due to avalanche debris/risk the road is closed, effective through September of 2019. Then the road has a locked gate blocking access .2 miles after the barricade. Thus, Id recommend calling the forest service to see if the road has been reopened yet before trying to reach this TH. The sign also advised against climbing Tabeguache from that route, fwiw.
Posted By: cougar
Info: Road has a bunch of rough, rocky stretches for the last 2-3 miles. A bit of smoother sections mixed in. Not too many big rocks, lots of smaller loose ones, and a couple rougher spots. Some water flowing down it. Made it fine in 2017 Outback going slow. Several campsites along the way. A landmark just below the trailhead is a pair of beaver ponds, one on each side of the road, about 0.25 miles before the trailhead. There’s a large pullout on each side of the road here, and a good spot to camp. Trailhead itself is just a small pullout, has room for about 3 cars. Only signage is a USFS generic "trail closed", but matches the route description.
Posted By: KristineL
Info: Drove to trailhead in a Jeep Wrangler (Sport, 2017, mostly stock) and a 4-runner (a few years old). The road turns to dirt after a few miles and gets a little rougher after the campground. Both cars did fine, as will any car with decent clearance and any driver used to a little off-roading. There weren’t any tricky spots which required thought or much maneuvering - just a few washouts/rocks which require some clearance. There’s a few wide areas and pull outs throughout the road, so even if you encounter a vehicle going the opposite way, someone can typically pull over some. Lots of scattered camp-sites throughout the drive up to the Tab hiking trail start.
Posted By: ranjc25
Info: Made it to the trailhead in my 2017 Subaru Outback no problem. Hooray for X-mode!
Posted By: JQDivide
Info: About .6 miles passed the Angel campground area, on the 4wd road, there is a short stretch of snow, maybe 30 yards long. Going up.... the snow covers about 2/3rds to 4/5ths of the road on the driver’s side leaving bare road for the passenger-side tires. Snow bank is anywhere from 1/2 foot to 1 1/2 foot deep. Passenger side of the road... it is a significant drop=off, leaving little to no room for mistakes
We decided not to drive it in our Suburban. If we slid, or a short piece of muddy road on a soft shoulder gave way, it would have been bad. I would have tried it in my Jeep.
Now we later found out that day, someone drove over it in a full size single cap pickup truck. Also suspect a side=by-side drove it. The snow held for both on the way up and later in the day on the way down. Pickup driver said the rest of the road was clear.

If the snow gets soft, and you get stuck, it could be a bad day. There is no room to maneuver. If the weather stays warm, it should melt out pretty quick. Take a shovel just in case.

A couple folks in Subaru type vehicles were going to give it a try on Sunday.
Posted By: Eagle Eye
Info: Drove about .4 mile up from the Angel of Shavano TH/start of the 4WD road. Large ice flow in the picture covers the road about .6 mile up. Large Aspen tree down across the road roughly 1 mile up. Added two pictures of the Jennings Creek TH area & sign.
Posted By: NickJohnson
Info: The road is in good condition, though pretty wet in places. Was able to easily find the TH using the lat/lon coordinates in the description.
Posted By: merrion13
Info: Road is passable in most crossovers, I saw an MDX and Element make it. No significant water or crazy obstacles, just a little slow going at times. As others have mentioned, TH is easy to miss so I recommend arriving with light.
Some amazing dispersed campsites along the entire road, including ours which was 0.3 miles from the TH. No crowds, easy access, close to water.
Posted By: xandc
Info: TH is, as everyone mentions, very easy to miss. preprogramming the coordinates in your GPS before you head out is very helpful. Not sure if there has been some maintenance to this road recently, but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. I did this in my Jeep Renegade Trailhawk with no problems or worries. (Your circa-2000 subaru outback/forester will shine on this one). There’s a couple rougher spots, but nothing that requires particularly skillful driving (good thing for me) to get through with a little clearance and 4wd/awd. There were a few larger puddles to pass and some runoff making the road a little wet in sections, but I’m guessing it will be dry in a few weeks
Posted By: Herbert
Info: Accessed this trailhead on 9-8-2016 using a stock Jeep Rubicon in 4WD Lo and had no problems with the road. I had the TH coordinates from this site programmed into my windshield mounted portable GPS. Keeping an eye on those coordinates and looking for 7.6 miles on my odometer, I nevertheless overshot it in the dark on the way up. I went just a little past the coordinates, turned around, and saw it fairly easily on the way back. It is a lot easier to see in the dark on the way down than on the way up. A photo of my Jeep parked at the TH, facing down the road, is attached. The worst spots in the road are in the first half mile. If you get past those, you are good to go. I don’t think I would try it with anything less than 9-10" clearance, solid axle and part time 4WD, but then admittedly I have a low risk tolerance.
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