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Rainbow Trail Trailhead

Posted By: supranihilest
Info: Intermittent snow and ice patches to the Rainbow trail junction but any vehicle capable of getting here in dry conditions won’t have any problem with getting here right now either. Lots of trucks and such up this high and a little higher towards South Colony Lakes trailhead.
Posted By: kyrawhitworth
Info: Attempted to drive up in an FJ but we did not make it far at all before spinning out in the fresh snow and having to turn around and park at the 2WD TH. Snow on the road up to Rainbow Trail was relatively deep in spots and inconsistent--not sure if a better equipped street vehicle could make it too much further.
Posted By: yaymountain
Info: Drove all the way to 4WD TH at 7am in a Jeep Rubicon on 37s. Had it on 4L and used lockers but did not air down. Did get stuck on one uphill portion quarter mile from TH with deeper snow which required some shoveling, then backing up, and using momentum to get up.

A truck (GMC?) in front of us got stuck half mile from TH and parked there at a turnoff. Hope you guys got out ok after the hike!

When we left at 430pm, another Jeep Wrangler was at TH. A Jeep Trailhawk also made it with chains on.
Posted By: Ryan987
Info: Drove in the night before 1/7 and made it up alright with a 4x4 Tacoma w/ no locker until 0.4 miles prior rainbow trail and had to then constantly snow bash/dig out the road. Was aired down and in 4lo. Leaving the trailhead the next day 1/8 the snow melted a bit and exposed some rocky terrain but made it down alright.

A jeep Wrangler had similar issues but had it easier than me
Posted By: sarahmariekirk
Info: Made it to the upper trailhead in a Jeep - minimal snow.
Posted By: piper14er
Info: This is a trail status report for the Peerless Mine Trail and the North Brush Creek Trail. You can start on the Rainbow Trail but this way you drive to the trailhead from FS 337 which is accessed from Highway 69 by Hillside, west on CR 198 and Cr 32 to FS 337. Follow FS 337 to FS 331 left to the end of the road.

Unfortunately, there was still one drift that has probably melted away by now that made me park before getting to the end of the road and the trailhead. Parked 1.25 miles below.

The road was fine and the start of the trail, while having some snow was good to go in the morning. The snow was set up and I actually booted my way all the way to the summit.

Unfortunately, this trail is a blow down/tree down mess once you connect to the North Brush Trail. The first section of the trail is called the Peerless Mine Trail.

Yikes the downed trees were obnoxious. It may be better to leave the trail when it starts getting bad and follow the creek. There have been years of trees that were cut to make the trail useable. As a matter of fact, to follow the trail you have to keep a sharp eye out for the old cuts and stay between the cuts as best as possible.

I suppose once the snow is gone the FS may cut the trees across the trail. They have in the past and there are lakes to be fished.
Posted By: tjvanfossen
Info: All snow starting a couple hundred yards past the 2WD lot. Impassable (2-3’)
Posted By: daway8
Info: 2WD trailhead is dry as a bone - any vehicle can easily get there. Don’t be fooled by the road to the 4WD trailheads - it too starts totally dry but I only got my Jeep ~0.6mi up before I had to turn around and go back to the 2WD lot (it’s private property with no parking between 2WD and 4WD lots). On my return someone with better tires than me made it slightly further but it was clear they got stuck and did a multi-point turn-around to get out. There’s too much hard packed snow and ice on the road to the 4WD trailheads to make it worth trying unless you just have some time to kill and want to see what your rig can do (I only tried it because the wind this morning was insane and I was hoping to avoid the half mile of wind blasted walking before reaching trees/hills that block much of it).
Posted By: gpeoples
Info: As of May 30th the Rainbow TH is snow free. Be advised, if you don’t have high clearance 4X4 you will be very sorry and wish you didn’t attempt the road. From about 50 yards of the 2WD trailhead you will encounter the 1st obstacle and it gets worse. A Honda CRV finally called it quits about 1-mile into it. It was not a problem for my Nissan Pathfinder, but it was completely DRY conditions, which was the game changer.
Posted By: rudi32
Info: Pretty rough beyond the Lower 2wd. Road is dry until about 9,600, shortly after it becomes on and off snow / mud. Parked at a nice pulloff around 9,475’.
Posted By: Kevin Baker
Info: I hiked 12er Blueberry Peak from the Rainbow Trail north of Medano Pass. The road to Medano Pass is currently gated at 9160’. The Rainbow Trail is accessible from Promontory Ridge via FS 416. Note this is not the same area as Colony Lakes road. The Sangres are at 40% of normal, so even east facing roads are melting out. The road just had a few patches of minor mud.
Posted By: Carl_Healy
Info: *Do Not let Google Maps blindly navigate you to the 2WD trailhead for Rainbow Trail/South Colony*

Google will navigate you to the trailhead from the North via Colony Lane (125) because it considers the last 0.5 miles of this road as a real road. It is not... It’s a goat trail through a field (attached photos indicate this).

Navigate to the 2WD trailhead from the North via Colfax Lane (119) then turn West (right) onto South Colony Road to access the 2WD trailhead.

All the roads in the area are pretty much dry like the attached photos of Colony Lane show. However, the last 0.25 miles or so approaching the 2WD trailhead the road has a bit of snow on it making navigation more difficult, though a Jeep Renegade without 4WD activated made it up just fine.
Later in the day however the aforementioned section of road became a bit muddy making navigation more difficult. The same Jeep operating in 2WD was still able to make it fine.

Past the 2WD trailhead there’s nothing to stop someone from going up the 4WD road... But the road is notorious enough in summer that it’s a given that it’s not a good idea to try it in winter (conditions on the 4WD road today confirmed this).
Posted By: wintersage
Info: Deep snowdrifts block access 0.4mi from the 2WD TH. The 4WD road is completely snowed in but packed.
Posted By: bangerth
Info: The road to get to the Rainbow Trail trailhead is impassable. We took a 4x4 pickup to give it a shot, but the 4-8" of snow are underlain by an icy layer. With difficulty, we made it to within 1/8 of a mile of the end of the private property, but got hung up on large rocks coated in ice and ended up driving back down. Short of an ATV, I don’t believe that any car/truck can make it through the last section of private property and then on to the trailhead. Be prepared to walk the 2.5 miles (each way) from the winter lot.
Posted By: angry
Info: Parked at ~9200ft. 4wd can make it further up.
Posted By: mattpick
Info: Trail was rocky but clear this weekend. We drove up in a Chevy Colorado 4WD and were moving rocks on the way up to avoid scraping. We ended up parking at the trailhead (we were the only vehicle there today). Drainpipe was still there but it’s been covered with dirt over trail crossing, so you can just walk right over it now.
Posted By: boudreaux
Info: South Colony Road is clear all the way to Rainbow Trail. We got up there in a heavy, stock, 2WD suburban, so it’s not impossible. We did have a spotter and moved some rocks around, but we got up there. We parked about a 1/4 mile from the TH and walked the last section. As we walked by the metal drainpipe, we noted it is still a major obstacle to overcome. Others have piled rocks below the pipe to lessen a small hole, but its still about a 3" or 4" high x 10" wide, extremely, slippery pipe that stretches across the road. This pipe is about 200 yards below the Rainbow Trail. A few parking spaces at the TH. FS cleared away most of the trees here, I’m guessing beetle kill mitigation.
Posted By: spaceman_mort
Info: The first patches of snow start around half a mile above the 2WD parking lot. They are passable in a 4WD vehicle, but significant snowpack covers the road fully around 0.75 miles up from the 2WD lot.
Posted By: wintersage
Info: I parked at the 2WD trailhead as it is open, dry, and snow-free. The 4WD road looks deceptively open as there is no physical closure and no snow in sight, but you will encounter deep snow about 0.3mi in, which progressively gets deeper and more impassable.
Posted By: WildWanderer
Info: You’ll still need to park at the Lower South Colony Lakes 2WD lot, as the road further is impassable.
Posted By: WildWanderer
Info: Unless you’re driving a snowmobile you’ll be parking at the South Colony Lakes 2WD trailhead for the next few weeks. It looked like a few vehicles had tried to drive further, but changed their minds and backed up about 20 feet past the 2WD parking area. Luckily the 2WD drive in is dry: it only gets a bit muddy just before the turnoff into the lower parking lot. Snow begins right at the South Colony Lakes 2WD area.
Posted By: QuietBear
Info: The winter closure is at the 2WD trailhead at the start of the jeep road. Be sure to follow the trailhead directions and take Colfax (country road 119) and turn right onto 120 to the trailhead. Do not take the "shortcut" of country road 125. The last quarter mile of which is not plowed and has very deep snow. My high-clearance 4x4 with beefy snow tires got bogged down here at 5am and I had to use my traction plates to get out. Colfax and 120 are plowed up to the trailhead and you won’t have any problems.

The jeep road is snow-filled and made good skiing. While the trench had been buried under new snow, I re-broke the trail up to the upper trailhead, and later in the day several others reinforced it.
Posted By: sallenrogem87
Info: Made it to 0.2 miles from the official Rainbow Trail TH in a Subaru Outback with ~8.7 inches of ground clearance. It was somewhat of a stressful drive and the metal tube/drainage pipe just before the official Rainbow Trail TH is no joke. We parked just below that. I see that some people have stacked rocks underneath the tube/drainage pipe itself, but it is still somewhat of an advanced looking maneuver, as the road happens to steepen there as well. I don’t know if I would give this TH road the designation of Subaruable, but a skilled driver and a cautious line choice is an absolute necessity if you don’t have HIGH clearance 4WD vehicle. Entire length of the TH road is snow-free and dry, as is 98% of the East Ridge route up Humboldt Peak.
Posted By: bmcqueen
Posted By: WildWanderer
Info: Slush and ice and mud on entire trail. It was a bit sketchy but my Tundra made it about 1/4 of a mile from the Rainbow Trail trailhead. I only stopped because I found a decent place to park and I couldn’t see the rest of the route behind a turn. It was obvious hiking a little further several vehicles had turned around.
It should probably be closed at the lower trailhead. There were no tire tracks past Rainbow Trail towards South Colony Lakes.

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