Trailhead:  West Winfield
Sawatch Range
 Posted By:  GuiGirard
 Date of Info:  08/31/2021
 Date Posted:  09/07/2021
Status Update
Driving up to Winfield past the first few miles of smooth dirt is slow and unpleasant with many rocks and potholes, but it can be cleared if going slow and carefully with any vehicle (plenty of 2WD sedans at Winfield and dispersed campsites around the area). For the West Winfield road proper, I made it very slow and without a scratch with a standard 2016 Outback with regular M+S tires. Road was dry so this helped a lot. It's rough right out of Winfield past the first cabin at the intersection and this spot sets the tone for what's coming ahead. It you can make it through this early spot, you are likely to make it up to an intimidating and deeply carved creek crossing which might have been, after further analysis, drivable just fine with the Outback. An earlier creek crossing right before this spot is mostly stagnant water with a shallow stony bottom and is not a matter of concern. This spot is roughly 1/3 mile before the junction of the La Plata trailhead road, and has parking for a few vehicles and a dispersed campsite. Overall that is about 2/3 mile of hiking on dirt road before the real trailhead. By hiking up the 1/4 mile road to the trailhead after the split, I confirm it is rough, steep with what appears to be poor traction in loose and sharp stones. True 4WD needed to make it there but that 2/3 mile "warmup" before the beautiful ascent to La Plata is a fine warmup. Note that it is a true one-lane road all the way from Winfield and crossing a vehicle might get tricky without true 4WD high clearance (or involve precise backing maneuvers to the nearest safe crossing spot). Luckily I was alone going up and down!

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