Missouri Gulch Trailhead


Range: Sawatch Range
Coordinates: 38.99807, -106.37508
14ers: Mt. Belford, Mt. Oxford, Missouri Mountain
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Road Difficulty

2WD, easy dirt road 1   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD dirt to the TH.

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, drive 7.5 miles to a sign for the Missouri Gulch trailhead. Turn left and drive down into the large parking area. There are restrooms here.

Winter Access

Closed near 9,200 feet - almost 4 miles below the TH.
Status Updates 
Posted By: ChadBriggs
Info: Summer conditions. Previously mentioned large rocks have been moved. Road cleared/graded; smoother than our trip up last June. (From HWY 24 to TH parking lot).
Posted By: JasonCrane
Info: Chaffee County Road 390 is completely dry to Missouri Gulch. There were a couple of "coffee table" sized boulders in the lane, but can be circumvented. Road is still holding sections deep snow along the river-side of the road past Missouri Gulch to Winfield & could pose an issue for low clearance vehicles.
Posted By: mtngoatwithstyle
Info: The 390 CR is drivable for a few miles before it stops being plowed after the private property. At least this past weekend.There seems to have been vehicles attempting to drive in the snow past the turn around point and have created quite the mess for a short stretch. After that, the road is packed with snow. Bathrooms in TH are open and have TP. I did see a few snowshoe tracks by the TH but not sure if they were very recent. Other than that, I ran into 2 hikers all day long.
Posted By: daway8
Info: Last update still applies - some more folks tried to drive up the road from where the plow stops - didn’t get very far and made a real mess. Plow stops 3.1 miles from summer trailhead. Note there is a sign saying "no parking, plow turnaround." I wasn’t aware of this but since the road to there was already plowed with no recent or pending snow, I tucked into a corner as out of the way as possible and didn’t have any issues.
Posted By: RWSchaffer
Info: Road 390 was plowed to the plow turn 4.6 miles from U.S. 24. Packed and icy residual snow remained on the plowed road, but my 2WD hatchback had no difficulty reaching parking just before the plow turn. Beyond the plow turn, the road held a foot of snow and was not passable to wheeled vehicles. The first hundred feet or so past the plow turn were a bit of a mess from people trying to drive it, but after that, snow machine tracks on smooth snow made for a pleasant stroll on the remaining 2.9 miles to trailhead (pictured), no traction or floatation needed.
Posted By: Eagle Eye
Info: The road is blocked & closed 4.6 miles from the start of CC390 off U.S. 24. The CC390 road condition was snowy but well traveled & plowed up to the fork at Clear Creek Ranch, which is at about 3.8 miles. A little deeper and two-tracked continuing from the junction to the closure. Room for maybe 5 or 10 vehicles to park right at the closure.
Posted By: Eagle Eye
Info: A small amount of snow on the road starting at the beginning of CC 390 off US 24. It increased a little past Clear Creek ranch fork towards the TH. The bathrooms at the TH are unlocked and stocked with tp!
Posted By: mightycuine
Info: Road 390 is dry to the TH. First time I’ve ever seen space in this lot at 7am on a Saturday.
Posted By: JasonCrane
Info: Chaffee Road 390 has the typical "washboarding" & some potholes. There’s one massive pothole/puddle that has been washed out from run-off. It takes a little bit of shake ’n bake, but can be circumvented around to the side. Saw a 2WD turn around at this point, however 2WD should be okay with careful driving. Use your best judgment. Note - Toilet is open & operational at TH.
Posted By: Mountain_Maniac
Info: Arrived at 5am on a Wednesday and there was plenty of parking. The toilet is open again with plenty of toilet paper inside.
Posted By: hokierock
Info: Main parking lot filled @ 6:15am on FRI morning, just before sunrise - no issue, just parked on 390 on roadside. Single restroom on-site is OUT OF ORDER.
Posted By: E_A_Marcus_949
Info: Straight forward dirt road to get to with normal washboarding and a few potholes to look out for, but they can mostly be avoided. One larger puddle that may prove difficult if you have a lower clearance vehicle or not enough power.

Got one of the last spots at 4:15am on Sunday.
Posted By: ranger_reamer
Info: Every spot filled at 4:30am. Car sleepers...forest road though so you can park pretty much anywhere along it if the lot is full.
Posted By: Alpinefroggy
Info: Road until it becomes forest service land is graded and nice. Rest is rougher but not at all a problem. Steve the Prius did just fine getting to the gulch taking it slow. Even saw a wild civic as well. So basically any 2wd car can easily make it.
Posted By: bangerth
Info: Dry all the way to the trailhead, and about as smooth a road as one can find in the mountains. With a bit of care, could probably be driven with a Prius, and was no problem at all with a Subi.

As mentioned in the previous report, the outhouse is open but has no toilet paper.
Posted By: supranihilest
Info: Dry to trailhead. Bathroom is unlocked but there is no toilet paper so bring your own.
Posted By: JasonCrane
Info: Chaffee Road 390 is 98% dry to Missouri Gulch TH & passable for 2WD. Only obstacles were potholes & several softball-sized rocks just requiring some careful driving.
Posted By: RWSchaffer
Info: All but a few small patches of the snow that fell in last week’s storm cycle was gone. The report from April 12 remained valid as my 2WD hatchback made it to the trailhead without issue.
Posted By: Posthole Pete
Info: Can make it here with any car. No clearance or 4WD needed. Bathroom is unlocked with an adequate amount of tp. Still one of my favorite places to poop.
Posted By: angry
Info: 2 cars parked near snow plow turnaround. Approximately 2 miles below the th, there is a large open space on the left where another 2 cars parked and I also parked there (pic 1). ~1.2 miles below the th, there were 2 cars parked on right side of road (pic 2). Nobody parked at actual th (pic 3). however when I was walking back to my car in the evening someone stopped to check on me who stated they had made it fairly close to sheep gulch in a burly 4wd but another car had gotten stuck back there. Lots of options depending on how frisky youre feeling.
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 the trailhead (our intention was to go 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. Don’t get stuck.
Posted By: jscully205
Info: Was able to drive all the way normal trailhead in a 4wd Tacoma. Similar vehicles with some clearance would most likely make it until the next storm. Road was tire tracked the entire way but some sections still had 8-12 to drive through.
Posted By: RWSchaffer
Info: Chaffee County Road 390 was well plowed to the new plow turn, about three miles below the trailhead. 2WD vehicles should park just below the plow turn. The remaining road was fairly uniformly and continuously covered by several inches of snow; the snow was well tracked, and most 4WD vehicles would probably make it to the trailhead.
Posted By: lasallecrew2
Info: Easily accessable by 2WD. No snow on road or at parking lot.
Posted By: mountainmanfrank
Info: Trailhead is easily accessible by any vehicle. Plenty of parking on dirt road if parking lot is full (which it probably will be early in the morning).
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