West Winfield Trailhead


Range: Sawatch Range
Coordinates: 38.99366, -106.47108
14ers: La Plata Peak
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Road Difficulty

Moderate 4WD, long wheel base vehicles not recommended. Good clearance required. 4   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD dirt to Winfield. 4WD to 10,700'.

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 11.3 miles to Winfield. There are a bunch of log buildings here. Continue to a fork. The main road goes left but turn right onto the 4WD road for West Winfield. Parallel a fence for a bit before turning left. After about 0.4 miles, pass the Winfield Cemetery, which is marked by an explanatory sign. Shortly thereafter, pass a loop to your right, that provides some parking places. Continue a bit farther and you'll find a turn-off on the left that provides more parking. After driving approximately 1.7 miles up this 4WD road, a rough but obvious road rises to the right. Park near this junction or turn right up and drive the last few hundred yards and park below a gate where you'll find the start of the trail.

Winter Access

Closed near 9,200 feet - many miles below the TH.
Status Updates 
Posted By: Josh Bux
Info: Road is in great condition, no snow or ice yet. Definitely need high clearance for the last half mile to mile or so of road. I had no problem in a stock Wrangler Unlimited Sahara, but I saw some other 4x4 cars with lower clearance pulled over before the trailhead.
Posted By: Acook60
Info: Drove our new 4Runner Trail Premium up there today and had no trouble, despite the road being wet. Didn’t have to use any of the car’s bells and whistles. There were 8 cars/trucks up there, 7 of them Toyotas, including a RAV4. The non-Toyota was a Subaru Forester. We thought this road was not as bad as it’s made out to be. It’s rough, but take it slow, you’ll be ok, certainly in any 4 wheel drive vehicle.
Posted By: EKassan
Info: The road was uncomfortable, but otherwise not challenging for a stock Xterra and Tacoma.
Posted By: johnt
Info: The washout is a non issue for any reasonable 4x4. I did it in a stock Tacoma, and an F-150 also did it. I’d probably stop in a Subaru before the washout anyhow, but try it if you like. If you got through the rock garden before the washout, you’d probably make it through there, too.
Posted By: shaberer0511
Info: The West Winfield Trailhead is in good shape, but 4wd and good clearance is a necessity. The road is rocky, and good clearance is necessary. The stream crossing/washout is passable, but only with a lifted SUV with high ground clearance, maybe at least 12 inches. I drive a Jeep Wrangler 4 door, with a 6 inch lift and 35" tires (about 20 inches ground clearance to running boards), and I came awfully close to scraping the running boards coming down the stream crossing. Just below the upper trailhead, there’s a pothole that I didn’t have the guts to cross in my Jeep. It’s about 100 yards shy of the trailhead, but I had my jeep teetering on two wheels. Maybe it was the wrong line, but its so close to the trailhead that it’s not even worth the risk.
Posted By: vidoona
Info: We took a Land Rover LR2 with 9" of ground clearance, A/T tires, recovery gear, and an experienced off-road driver up past the washed-out road section across the creek and up a final steep, rocky section to the trailhead. We got a couple of rock hits to the skid plates, but nothing major. Land Rovers, some Jeeps, most trucks, Xterras, and 4Runners with 4-wheel drive will be able to do the same with A/T tires and a competent driver if the road is dry. If you have ground clearance under 10", expect some uncomfortable sounds from your undercarriage. Other SUVs and crossovers (including Foresters and Outbacks) will want to stop at the washed-out creek or earlier if you get uncomfortable.....it really doesn‘t add that much distance to the route in the grand scheme of things. I would not take a passenger car very far up the road to the trailhead.
Posted By: khub91
Info: Trucks are now making it over Blackbear Creek to the right of the new footbridge. Takes a bit of clearance but nothing too crazy. I was able to make it over in my stock Expedition and, although I still don’t believe it, the gentleman in the Forerunner towing a trailer with his three pet goats also ended up on the other side.
Posted By: ronichen
Info: The bridge is still washed off 1.3 mile from TH. There is also a small creek crossing before the wash off (after the warning sign) that is best to have high clearance. We saw regular SUV crossing it and bottomed out doing it. There are a lot of good camping spots off 390, the lower you are the more buggy they are.
Posted By: dogballs
Info: Trail is washed out 1.3 miles from Winfield. There is a sign at the 2wd TH warning you to turn around, but you can continue up to where its washed out and there is room for 3-4 cars to park there. Many thanks to whoever built the bridge across the wash out. I don‘t think that anyone will be driving past that point anytime soon. Needs major repair and proper culvert.
Posted By: Trotter
Info: Road is rough, 4WD non-low clearance vehicles will make it fine, with a lot of slowing down and bumping around.

After the meadow at 10,700 I would recommend NOT driving further.

Road becomes much rougher, and its only about a 200 yard walk to TH anyways.
Posted By: 4 LO
Info: The road is clear and easily drivable all of the way to the trailhead. I drove it today and I had the trail all to myself. Great place to hike La Plata from!
Posted By: bnlarochelle
Info: The road to the 4wd trailhead was driveable. A little snow and mud, but easily passable.
Posted By: RyGuy
Info: My buddy and I made it to Winfield today in a stock 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. We were fully aired down to about 4PSI and needed the front and rear lockers engaged past Rockdale. We did up hitting ice and sliding into about 3 feet of snow on the right side of the road right by the town sign. Took an hour to dig out. I wouldn‘t recommend anyone else trying it with anything less. Clearance isn‘t really the issue. There is a layer of ice about 4-6 inches thick on the road itself, and then about 4 inches of wet snow on top of that, so traction is pretty bad. As the previous post mentioned, there is a fair bit of snow on the sides of the road, so if you slide (which you will) there is a good chance you‘ll end up in the snow bank.

No signs of anyone around Winfield for a awhile. No marks in the snow at all. The Belford/Oxford/Missouri trailhead is reachable if you are willing to air down and have front and rear lockers. As I mentioned above, I wouldn‘t try it without serious recovery gear in case you slide off the road crest.
Posted By: fourseasoncyclist
Info: Made it only 4 miles up county rd 390 in a buddy‘s 2012 Xterra. A Tacoma got stuck and had to hike down to get the sheriff. Snow is deep and very hard. If you get off the crest of the road it‘s all over. 3-4ft of snow on the side of road. I work for a Jeep dealer that does 2.5- 4.0" lifts and I don‘t think one of them could even make it to Winfield. I will try again in April, maybe...
Posted By: alpinenut
Info: Drove all the way to the ATV road that goes to the TH. Did not see the road in the dark. In fact we went about .25 past. Turns out it was 1.75+ from 390 390a fork at Winfield. 1.3 from High clearance vehicles only sign which is on the left. Some snow, definitely high clearance 4WD required.
Posted By: Monte Meals
Info: 4WD trail head from Winfield to La Plata is open all the way to the trail register.
Posted By: CO Native
Info: Road is clear to the trailhead. Some water and ice in spots. Definitely need a 4X4 with decent clearance to make the trailhead.
Posted By: ilium
Info: The trailhead is still open for high clearance vehicles. I saw a standard Subaru Forester at the 4wd trailhead. There wasn‘t any snow on the road at all as of 10/16/11.
Posted By: Marcia
Info: County road 390 & 4wd road to gate and Huron TH snow-free.
Posted By: globreal
Info: You can drive all the way to the end of County Rd 390A to where the TH is for LaPlata‘s SW ridge route. No more snow on the 4WD road.
Posted By: Grover
Info: You can only make it as far as the Winfield townsite as of this post. There is very soft snow on the bridge crossing, and on the trail after that. However, the snow is very deep back there.
Posted By: Brighteyes
Info: On Monday, Columbus day, 11 Oct 10, clear, dry, easy and gorgeous to TH registration area with good clearance (Forester) vehicle. Tuesday it may have snowed per NWS reports?

If you are new to this TH, I was, be sure to follow closely the post cemetery directions...I took the road less travelled, and it made all the difference. Added a lovely mile plus both ways to my hike but somehow I was too blissed to notice til now.
Posted By: Gator
Info: I drove my 2WD 4Runner to the "...road that rises to the right" (coordinates 38˚ 59.560’N, 106˚ 28.141’W) without a problem. Go slow and pick your lines and any high clearance 2WD can get there right now. That would probably change with a change in the weather.
Posted By: yosemite98
Info: Clear all the way. Stream crossings not an issue. We were able to get about 100ft from the trailhead, just before it takes a sharp right turn up a steep and wet section. There are several parking areas at this point.
Posted By: larkinrx2
Info: as of 9/28 no problems. Hard to catch that last turn up the spur in the dark. look for stacked cairn and trust it turn right will be another cairn 100 ft up road then road goes into aspens. Park at the clearing before road turns up right and looks really rocky, TH/register box is just up the road with little parking at it.

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