Grays Peak Trailhead


Range: Front Range
Coordinates: 39.66087, -105.78462
14ers: Grays Peak, Torreys Peak
Elevation: 11,280'
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Road Difficulty

2WD, rough dirt road 2   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Normally it's Rough 2WD to the TH but some years it gets rough and might require 4WD. It always requires good-clearance.

Driving Directions

Take I-70 to the Bakerville exit (#221). Leave the highway and drive south over to the dirt parking area near the start of Forest Road 189. This is the winter trailhead and even if the upper road is open, low-clearance passenger cars should park here. It's almost 3 miles to the summer trailhead. Continue up the Grays Peak (189) road. After 1 mile, stay straight at a junction. Continue another 2 miles to the trailhead, at 11,280'. There are restrooms and a few dispersed camping spots near the parking area.

Winter Access

Closed at the start of the 189 road, near I-70.

More Info

Parking: Parking for about 40 cars and it fills up very early in the morning. There are a few more spots up past the restrooms.
Camping: No official campgrounds but there are a number of dispersed camping spots near the parking area and up past the restrooms.
Restrooms? Yes
Fees? No
Trailhead added by BillMiddlebrook
Status Updates 
Posted By: MountainHiker
Info: I hiked the road, but some people were driving as far as the old mill. The road was mostly snow covered. The hill shortly before the mill was icy. The road was blown bare below the avalanche slope before the mill - the only stretch of dirt. Most hills had evidence of previous slide offs indicating conditions could vary daily with snow, sun, freeze cycles. Caution, there were apparent survey nails in the road with orange flagging near the nice property on the right not far past the Grizzly intersection. These were sticking up enough to puncture a tire. I stepped on one to push it in, but it didn’t move. During the day someone had driven as far as the summer trailhead through the deeper snow.
Posted By: 14er101
Info: I did not drive the road, but rather walked and then hitched a ride down to Bakersville (Thanks for the ride!)
The road was in better shape than in summer, mostly packed down snow with one small ice-flow crossing over the road.
I saw Subies make it up and down with no problem, and HRV could have made it up but would have been slow going down. I did see a Chevy Malibu make it up as we were heading down, not sure how the down trip would have been.
Posted By: mtn14
Info: Snow packed all the way. Made it up in the Outback, but slipped and slid all the way back down - saw a Tesla X in the ditch towards the bottom.
Posted By: Misi197
Info: Dry to the top. A few bumpy patches, but nothing more than usual. Yes, your Subaru will make it. And yes, your Humvee will make it too.
Posted By: wineguy
Info: Road in good shape, no snow, a few rough spots could be handled with a careful driver in a sedan. No problem for CRV or RAV4 equivalent. Plenty of parking at the trailhead mid-week, lot not even half full. I hiked from below, wanted more vertical on the way to Kelso.
Posted By: lostintheether
Info: Went up the trail today to see the changing colors. the conditions were passable for pretty much any vehicle. Some larger rocks are starting to show we a few larger pot holes developing. The section where one would turn into the lot @TH is starting to look pretty rough.
Posted By: headsizeburrito
Info: Some conflicting info, so figured I’d post an update since I was there today. Road is in pretty good shape overall, just a little bumpy. A few good size potholes but can be easily avoided. Easy in a stock Outback.

If the car in the attached pic made it up, you probably can too.

Six cars in the parking lot at 5:30am on a Wednesday for those curious about how busy it is at the moment.
Posted By: Lindygreyhikeshills
Info: They are serious about not parking on the road.

The county has improved the road SO THE TOW TRUCK HAS EASIER ACCESS.

They were towing cars Friday/Saturday/Sunday. Do not park on the road unless you want to hike to Silverplume after you hike Grays.
Posted By: DrSluice
Info: There is construction being done on the road so be prepared to be held up some. The road definitely needs the attention, there were several significant 4wd moves on the first half and about halfway up was a monster series of holes on a very steep area that turned me back in my 4wd Xterra.
Posted By: onecloud1
Info: I’m shocked that no one’s message sounds horrified about the 3 mile road to the trailhead. I was driving my sister’s Forrester Outback and while we made it through the huge pot holes and very deep crevices that were constant (and at times, so bad that I had to back up after getting stuck), the car has a new rattle after that climb and descent and one of the tires was at a 10 psi once we made it to a gas station. I loved the hike but the drive to the trailhead would definitely keep me from doing Grays or Torreys in the future.
Posted By: yogianahata
Info: Stress-free road experience in my 4Runner. I was recently up Nellie Creek & South Colony Grays road was incredibly easy to compare. There were lots of different cars up at the trailhead, some sedans. Couple spots in the road where high clearance is ideal.
Posted By: 14ercooper
Info: Road isn’t too bad, a bit bumpy in places but if you pick good lines you should be just fine. Worst part is about 1 and a quarter miles in, and may take a spotter if you’re in a low clearance/2WD vehicle.
Posted By: Kestrelrun
Info: The Stevens Gulch Rd to the upper trailhead is no joke and in pretty rough shape. We were able to manage it in a rental FWD Mazda CX-5; would have preferred AWD for a few very badly rutted places. There was one spot about 1.3 miles in that I had to back down and pick a different line. Otherwise its doable and recommend the same as everyone else: vehicle with decent clearance and power. We arrived at 5:25am on a Monday and got one of the last two spots. Some folks also parked like total disasters and probably cost the lost a good 3-4 additional spots.
Posted By: EndWillows
Info: Road to upper trailhead was easy in a Forester. Any car with decent clearance can do it
Posted By: Ryannelson182
Info: Road up to upper trailhead in rough condition. 10mph has was our average speed on the road up and down. Even on a Wednesday, upper trailhead was full by 5am. Get there early!
Posted By: CraigE
Info: I got to the trailhead at 4:45 this morning (a Saturday). The main upper lot was full, and the pulloffs on the road above the trailhead were filling fast. When I drove back down the road around 10:30, there were cars parked along Stevens Gulch Road for about 1 mile below the trailhead. I didn’t see any tickets on windshields, so maybe the county wasn’t enforcing the parking restrictions today(?) There was a tow truck at the upper parking lot, but I couldn’t tell what for . . .

The lower parking lot down by the freeway was also full around 11:00, and there were cars parked along Stevens Gulch Road up from the lower trailhead as well.

The road was rough, but there wasn’t any spot that seemed to be stopping cars this year. I saw all sorts of crossover SUVs at the trailhead.
Posted By: colingoodman
Info: The road is in decent shape for the traffic it receives. I think any large SUV or truck should have no issue making it up. TH filled up very early and I ended up parking just below it; didn’t receive a ticket.
Posted By: LightningSye
Info: The road is managable without a pure 4x4 vehicle but I would still want some decent clearance and power in the car to get up here. A lot of suburu outbacks and such made it up to the trailhead just were a lot slower driving the road. Trailhead parking was full at 5:10 am after the brutal slow drive up to the trailhead so had to park on the side of the road and risk a ticket. Was about 1/2 miles away from the trailhead but came back and didn’t have a ticket. Lucky maybe but probably will not be doing these peaks again from this trailhead.
Posted By: fancyco
Info: The road up is just as bad as ever, some sections have been improved since last year but others are just as bad if not worse

It is doable with a 2 wheel drive, but only if it has decent clearance
Posted By: Carl
Info: A good bit of snow has melted in the last few days. Trailhead is now easily accessible by crossover SUVs (we saw a few) and anything with more clearance. One remaining snow drift .2 miles from the trailhead. Road likely entirely melted out within a week.
Posted By: daway8
Info: Echoing earlier cautions. Some have succeeded in driving to the 4WD trailhead, actually only one that we saw today which was a Taco, but another vehicle got stuck and 5 rescue vehicles were sent to extract since he was phenomenally stuck. I even managed somehow to rip off the front skid plate on my Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, 8.7inch clearance, while going over a hardened patch of snow, despite stopping 0.4mi from the trailhead (I think the skid plate was already walking wounded). I’ll add a couple photos of the upper road. Lots of people parking along the road. After today’s 5 vehicle rescue team it probably won’t be long before they start issuing heavy fines again for parking along the road.
Posted By: Thevirtualsherpa
Info: Disagree with other posts about access to upper TH. Could you? Sure. Is it a good idea in these temps? Probably not.

Owner of Red Truck - your car is melted out, might as well go snag it.

No other cars across road but deep (6+ inches) of freeze/melt snow tiretracks still are the only way to drive up close to upper TH. Snow warms very quickly and the drive down is probably not going to be a good time, especially if you can just walk it.
Posted By: aholle88
Info: Ive seen a few reports of people parking at the Grizzly Gulch turnoff recently. This is just a reminder that they were ticketing folks parked there around this time last year.
Posted By: kwhit24
Info: We parked 2 miles from the trailhead with a few other vehicles but we might’ve been able to get another .5 miles (a few vehicles made it). 2 other vehicles go stuck trying to get higher. Snow is continuous to about a mile below the trailhead and then patchy/icy/rutted after that.
Posted By: amneal27
Info: Drove a 2021 stock Tacoma to around 10,500’. Road is a combination of dry areas and snow/icy ruts in spots. It was snowing when we left so could be a different story this weekend. There was a Tundra stuck sideways in the road around 11k. Watched a grand Cherokee with snow tires get around it, only to get stuck a couple hundred yards below the trailhead. Noticed a couple other stuck vehicles on the way in, on the way out one had gotten out with the assistance of a towing company’s Bobcat which we saw at the Bakerville exit.
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