Clear Crk./S.Winfield Trailhead


Road Difficulty

Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD dirt to Winfield.
4WD to upper TH. SUVs with good clearance can make it if the road is dry.

Driving Directions

From Leadville: Drive 20 miles south on U.S. 24 and turn right on the Chaffee County 390 road. From Buena Vista: Drive 14.5 miles north on U.S. 24 and turn left on the Chaffee County 390 road. On the 390 road (dirt), drive 11.8 miles to Winfield. Turn left and measure from here. Drive 0.1 mile to reach the lower, 2WD trailhead on the left. After 0.4 mile, the road gets rugged and narrow (4WD required). After 0.7 mile, stay right at a junction. After 1.7 miles, the Banker Mine road is to the left - stay straight on the main road and continue to the end, at 2.1 miles. The trail starts past the parking area.

Winter Access

Closed near 9,200 feet - many miles below the TH.
Status Updates 
Posted By: randallson
Info: I parked about 1 mile past the snowplow turnaround. That put me about 6 miles from Winfield. Some cars were driving a bit past Missouri Gulch but there are limited places to turn around. There was a well packed trail all the way to Winfield. Past Winfield the snow got significantly deeper, but an old trench could faintly be followed to the 4wd TH. A solid trench is now in. On the way out it looks like a snowmobile pulling a sled drove all the way to Winfield. It made for a super easy walk out.
Posted By: supranihilest
Info: Chaffee County Road 390 is only plowed a couple of miles in. Past that there is a set of tire tracks continuing up the very snowy road, but that’s it: one set of tracks. If you venture outside of that track you instantly get sucked into the bottomless powder on the sides. We didn’t make it to Winfield and I almost got stuck, requiring me to rock my van back and forth in 4WD to get back on the tracks, whereupon I backed nearly a mile very carefully down, staying neatly on the tracks. They did continue past our stopping point but for how long I can’t say. We still had a minimum of five miles to Winfield. Don’t get stuck.
Posted By: CaptCO
Info: I’d recommend parking at the Winfield campground unless you like getting unstuck. Don’t be that guy to park at the upper 2WD and give nobody room to turn around ;) LuLu trenched to windblown area
Posted By: WildWanderer
Info: 2WD road to Winfield is mostly dry, and in a few spots icy but manageable, even in a 2WD. Less than half a mile past Winfield the 4WD road becomes very iced over. Look for dispersed camping/parking spots which are (mostly) clear of ice/snow about 2 miles below Cleark Crk./S. Winfield trailhead. Conditions likely to change/get worse with incoming snow this weekend.
Posted By: Stephaniejo37
Info: 4WD road was try to the trailhead. Made it up in an Outback.
Posted By: E_A_Marcus_949
Info: Dry to the TH. Stock 2018 Forster made it well with picking a careful line. Mostly trucks and SUVs at the upper TH.
Posted By: Almost13ranch
Info: Road is dry all the way to the 4wd trailhead.
Posted By: coloradowriter
Info: Road was wet in only a couple places. My 4Runner and my friends’ F150 had no issues. Saw a Crosstrek and of course an Outback at the trialhead but get this - saw a BMW X5 make it. Go figure.
Posted By: tdurty
Info: No issues getting to upper TH in a Subaru Crosstrek. Saw a few other Subaru’s up there, lots of trucks/SUV’s.

The road still has snowmelt/mud in places. I would still recommend AWD or 4WD to get to the upper TH.
Posted By: colin j
Info: Drove up evening of 9/11 and left early afternoon on 9/12. Road is driveable with 4wd to the end with slush/mud starting shortly after Winfield in the afternoon and iced over in the morning leaving camp. For what it’s worth, with the improvements made to this road if its DRY a good clearance 2wd can probably make it.
Posted By: Mustavio
Info: Finished the 4wd trail with no issues in a stock 2017 Subaru Forrester. My only concern was some large loose rocks in the middle of the road. If I was a little more cautious I could have gotten out to move them to the side but I went for it and had clearance.

It is a narrow trail - barely one car wide so be prepared to back up to find a shoulder if you run into someone at a bad place.
Posted By: DixieFlyer
Info: I drove all the way to the TH in a Jeep Compass 4X4 -- it has 8.2 inches of clearance. I used 4WD and took it very slow in a few places, but I did not have any issues. The road is narrow, and I was thankful that I did not meet another vehicle. I would not do it without 4WD, although if it was dry a high clearance 2WD truck might make it.
Posted By: Hershel
Info: Took this to Huron and I felt the need to post an update. If you’ve gone down this road in the past I think that you’ll find it’s wayyyyyyyyyyy easier than before (per bulldozer obviously). I remember going down this in my Forester a few years back and scraping in the puddle. When I went down this on the 12th, no puddle and I couldn’t even tell where that spot was.

Someone at the bottom of the road basically called me crazy when they saw I had brought my Forester down it. But I’ve done a handful of 4wd roads and I’d say this just hits a 3 rating. There were no major obstacles IMO. Of course, it was pretty dry, so perhaps a good rain could change that.
Posted By: hbkirkwood
Info: Took my Silverado 1500 up to the 4wd trailhead without scraping. The bulldozer water benches get close but if you angle even slightly any stock 1/2ton should be fine. I arrived at 3:00am and there were plenty of spots, but the lot was pretty full though when I got back to the truck.
Posted By: dtron
Info: A bulldozer went up the 4WD portion all the way to the upper TH and smoothed out the three main obstacles today. You would hardly know the large pothole was ever there now. I drove to the upper TH in a 4Runner in the morning before the dozer hit it and while the gnarliest obstacles have now been removed, I do think the road is rougher overall right now because the dozer stirred up lots of loose rocks. But I suppose its a net improvement. They created some new water bars and you still need clearance to get up and over them right now without scraping. Its still a 3/6, no doubt.
Posted By: NelsonTrading
Info: The road up to Winfield is in good shape, small potholes and ruts along the way from normal wear. After Winfield, I would say high clearance is your best bet. The road is very rough and full of potholes with water from the recent Monsoon rains. I did not find the obstacle at the beginning of the 4x4 rough section too difficult in a Jeep Wrangler. I took it slow the entire route, as I was in a rental and hiking solo. I parked in the large clearing thinking this was the start of the trail head. The large crater is muddy and filled with water and getting deeper on entry/exit from the rains. I spoke with several folks who made it and they said it wasn’t too difficult, but there is no going around it anymore, just straight through.
I took several photos along the way as of 7/29/20. It took me an hour to reach the upper TH from Leadville.
Posted By: dfeezell
Info: Drove my stock 2015 Outback to the upper trailhead on 7/28. There are two sections that are challenging. The first section is relatively close to the beginning and has some large dirt features and potholes to negotiate. The second section comes about 1 mile up after a large clearing on the right side and involves driving through a large muddy pothole that was filled with water. The exit from the pothole is steep with a large bank. I got out and checked the water depth with my trekking pole. It was only 3-4 inches deep, so I proceeded through, generally staying to the left. Exiting the pothole takes a bit of momentum, without which you might get stuck. A group in a stock Subaru Crosstrek followed right behind me after I played the guinea pig! They also made it to the upper trailhead and reported no scraping.
Posted By: OldDude
Info: The road to the upper trailhead is challenging. I drove my Outback up to the end with white grip knuckles and focused attention. Big 4x4’s just went barrelling through. I was sloth slow.

Upon leaving I met a family at the lower parking area who stopped and asked me if he could make the final 1.8 miles in his Honda CR-V. They had 2 very young boys and the dad said he wanted to get as close as possible to summit. Mind you, this was 11 AM. I told him it’d be a wild ride and to pick his lines carefully, and first, go left at the fork, and 2nd decide carefully at that Jacuzzi size mud hole (see pic). Do this wrong and you’ll be stuck in mud or worse case flip onto its side. Top it off, he was driving a rental. Hit a bulging rock --and there are many-- and bust something underneath and he’d out a lot of money -- towing, repair, out of commission charges etc. Hope they made up to the trailhead but not sure he topped out with those youngins.
Posted By: Txhiker1471
Info: Made it to the top in my Jeep Cherokee... no lift but have good all terrain tires...saw plenty of other lower vehicles on top... I arrived around 9:40pm... I couldn’t get through on the first rough spot on my first try but a couple of great guys helped spot me and I got through... the dip at the end wasn’t to bad... over all for driving in the dark it wasn’t to bad
Posted By: bjbatchelor
Info: Drove to the Upper 4wd TH in my stock 2019 Outback. No regrets. Minor scraping but no damage on the previously mentioned big pothole near the beginning.
Posted By: ellenmseb
Info: I parked at 2WD in order to do Lulu Gulch. But on the way down, I saw 1 Outback at the upper 4wd TH, and several Outbacks 1 mile up from the 2WD TH (halfway to 4WD). At 1 mile, there is a large muddy dent, I am impressed that the Outback got past it. 4WD is fine to go to upper TH obviously, and 2WD should stop at 2WD trailhead.

Along the 2-mile 4WD road, the upper mile is scenic and a pleasant hike. The lower mile not so much. So I would recommend questionable vehicles to park 1 mile up from 2WD trailhead.

Lulu Gulch’s route description claims that there is no parking at the Lulu Gulch turnoff. In fact there are a few parking spaces. High-clearance AWD and better could drive to the Lulu Gulch turnoff and shave 0.4 miles off their hike.
Posted By: boondock63
Info: Made it to the upper TH just fine in my 2015 Honda Pilot. There were about 2 spots where you just have to be careful and pick your line. Pulled in around 5 am and there were plenty of places to park.
Posted By: E_A_Marcus_949
Info: Was in a Tacoma that made it just fine to the trailhead. There is one major dip and up where a lot of people chose to park then walk up to the trailhead... not sure how far, a couple of miles to the top maybe? Quite a few dips, bumps, and such but saw plenty of trucks, SUVs, a Forester, Xterra at the trailhead. I think as long as you go slowly and pick the right line you’ll be able to make it with good tires and clearance if you can get past the first major obstacle.
Posted By: badgerhiker
Info: Made it to the TH in my 4Runner. I have nice tires but no lift. I kept it in 4Low and took my time. The pothole isn’t an issue, it’s a spot in beginning of the 4WD road with deep ruts combined with a tight squeeze. Just pick your line and go slow. Took me about 30 minutes to get from Winfield to the upper TH.
Posted By: jjjeffries32
Info: No status update, I am a noob to Huron and was looking to see if there are others out there that could help.

Read the reports but am mixed as to my drive to the trail head, I have a 2009 Subaru Forester with about 10" of clearance. I also do not have a lot of off road experience, would the drive to the upper TH be a good idea or should I play it safe and stop at the 2WD TH?

Any advise would help, Thanks.

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