Clear Crk./S.Winfield Trailhead


Range: Sawatch Range
Coordinates: 38.96039, -106.46091
14ers: Huron Peak
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Road Difficulty

Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD dirt to Winfield.
4WD to upper TH. SUVs with good clearance can make it if the road is dry.

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 11.8 miles to Winfield. Turn left and measure from here. Drive 0.1 mile to reach the lower, 2WD trailhead on the left. After 0.4 mile, the road gets rugged and narrow (4WD required). After 0.7 mile, stay right at a junction. After 1.7 miles, the Banker Mine road is to the left - stay straight on the main road and continue to the end, at 2.1 miles. The trail starts past the parking area.

Winter Access

Closed near 9,200 feet - many miles below the TH.
Status Updates 
Posted By: Chicago Transplant
Info: First creek crossing was passable in stock XTerra and we parked just after it before the road steepens with an ice floe on it (less than half mile from camping meadow in Winfield). Decent amount of parking there for a few cars. The steeper icy section was followed by a couple more closely after that did not have anywhere to really turn around. Not really much snow on the road, its just the ice floes that are the issue.

2WD trailhead is easily reached, a few spots with a little bit of packed snow but its less than an inch deep.
Posted By: Tornadoman
Info: A couple minor spots of snow/ice on way to the 2wd TH. No problem in any car (the usual potholes and bumps require some slow driving). The 4wd road has snow and ice at the start of it, including the steep rough hill which marks the beginning of the 4wd road. If you can make it up the steep hill at the start, probably will have no problem making the 4wd TH.
Posted By: mightycuine
Info: Made it to 4wd TH in a Ford Ranger. Couple patches of ice in deep ruts just after the second "4wd required" sign required some momentum to get over. If you can get past the ice, you can make it to the upper TH.
Posted By: JasonCrane
Info: Chaffee Road 390 provides access to both Missouri Gulch TH & Winfield/Huron. Past Missouri Gulch TH, 390 is has some "washboarding" & potholes, but generally passable for 2WD with careful driving. About 1/4 mile past Winfield, there’s a 4WD sign & the road narrows to one lane & deteriorates drastically into deep ruts, as it ascends. A few of the humps must be at least 2-3 feet deep. Use your best judgment. A couple of SUVs were parked in spacious pull-offs just before the start of 4WD.
Posted By: Hslawson86
Info: I drive a stock 09 grand Cherokee and not much off road experience. I did briefly get stuck in a rut near the start of the 4wd road because I couldn’t see a good approach going up. It was rougher than I expected from looking at pictures posted here. Road was easy after that and no problems on the way out.
Posted By: JROSKA
Info: I drive a standard 2018 Jeep Cherokee (8.7 inches clearance) and based on a prior report, planned to park about .4 miles up the rough 2.1 mile 4WD road. Didnt happen. Got stuck in a steep wet section only .2 miles up and promptly backed up & parked on the side.

Stream crossing would have been doable but there was another section a little further up that would have been a big problem. I wouldnt mess around with this part of the road unless you have a true high clearance vehicle. Seems risky with a Subaru or anything else with less than 9 inches clearance.
Posted By: noob_hiker
Info: Can a Subaru make it? yes. i saw a forester and a rav4 at the 4WD TH. is the potential vehicle damage worth the extra 2 miles? the choice is yours.
Posted By: coloradoDDS
Info: About 1.75 miles from the parking lot that has Huron Peak and Lake Ann trail starting points is probably the worst part of the trailhead. There was parking/camping for 4-6 cars off to the right about 100 yards short of this point and the creek/stream that crosses the trailhead was probably another 100 yard past this point. On the trailhead there was a relatively steep incline with a large rock protruding out of the dirt that I made solid contact with. at 4:30am. We couldn’t see what the rest of the trail looked like so we went back and parked at the lower spot, but on my hike back I saw that if I would have steered to the right it would have been very doable.
Posted By: GuiGirard
Info: I hiked the road up from my dispersed campsite near Winfield (drive up to Winfield is painstakingly slow and long if one wants to avoid the nasty potholes and stones but passable by any vehicle, judging on the vehicles I saw in Winfield). I knew I COULD possibly make it with my Outback BUT it’s one lane all the way, and crossing other vehicles can be sketchy (last year, I helped a driver get his stranded CR-V back on the road after he got stuck in a nasty ditch when yielding to two uphill vehicles, so my reasonable self walked up the road). Of course, at the trailhead, there was an Outback just identical to mine. One’s ability to make it through the only two early tricky sections without true high clearance 4WD will depend a lot on whether or not they will have to share the road and where exactly. Which is unfortunate because the road profile rapidly gets much nicer. Being a popular 14er trailhead, I tend to think it’s a bad idea to ignore the 2 warning signs and attempt without the proper vehicle.
Posted By: RUN_IT
Info: From Winfield to Upper 4WD TH was as expected, high clearance required. 4Runner made it ok with no scraping but a few areas felt a bit sketchy in the early AM before sunrise. Saw a stock forester at TH (I wouldnt have the guts), the rest were Jeeps and a full size pickup. Tons of great looking campsites between Winfield and TH.

390 is not in great shape with lots of potholes. Saw an abandoned minivan near sheep gulch that evidently met a pothole and was majorly leaking something all over the road.
Posted By: NelsonTrading
Info: The drive to Winfield from Hwy 24 is filled with potholes the entire way. There is one spot maybe 5-6 miles in that looks like its getting washed out somewhat. Its a slow journey. 4WD to Huron trailhead is rough but same as last year no problem high clearance. The huge deep puddle is gone up near the trailhead but the hole remains.
Posted By: rcpelikan
Info: The quality of the dirt road is pretty bad. There are numerous potholes and large rocks in the way. I did see a Prius near Winfield off to the side of the road, so it must be possible to go until the 4WD trail begins, but I would not do it to a car I love. Even if you have a 4WD car, be careful. There was an entire exhaust system lying to the side of the road just past Winfield. Our group went up in a Toyota 4runner and had no issues with clearance, but quite a few issues with in-cabin turbulence. Another party behind us with an Acura RDX did scrape a couple rocks but came out otherwise unhindered.
Posted By: charles6202
Info: The first 2 or 3 miles from the hwy is an easy dirt road, but the dirt road gets bumpy and has plenty of potholes after that. We ran into one large puzzle that might make the driver of a sedan take a deep breath (we didn’t see anyone stuck), a FWD sedan could probably make it to Belford trailhead or Winfield. Whether high clearance or sedan, it’s a bumpy road. We parked just passed Winfield, just prior to where 4WD/ high clearance is needed.
Posted By: gtalmage1
Info: Made it to the 4WD trailhead in a stock 2012 Xterra today. I want to echo some things that others have said
- The second half of road 390 is not a smooth dirt 2wd road. There are lots of potholes and the road is somewhat wet in many places, and in particularly in one spot Im not sure how some low clearance 2WD made it. That being said, I did see a couple this morning.
- several parking spots at 0.4 miles past the 2wd parking lot
- after this point it gets MUCH more difficult. And still wet in many spots. I would strongly advise against anything less than a Jeep/Xterra/4 runner or something of that caliber with a high clearance and true 4WD. I kept my Xterra in 4-LO after the 0.4 mile marker and went slow and it went fine
- again, overall this area is a bit more wet than others Ive been in the last couple weeks, and as such there is basically a stream going through the trail at one point
Have fun!
Posted By: Evan_Hikes
Info: Really wouldn’t advise anything less than high clearance 2WD to the lower TH. Tough to imagine my old 03 Accord making it up there. From the 2WD TH, the beginning of the 4WD road is a little slick in the morning so I thought my Cherokee Trailhawk had taken me far enough to this point. What a mistake, the road to the 4WD TH is easily navigable, only a few puddles. Decent clearance 4WD should have no trouble. About a half hour walk between the trailheads.
Posted By: Carsonj20
Info: We hiked the north west ridge of Huron on 6/19/21 and came down the standard route. The route page for the north west ridge says the lulu gulch 4wd road requires high clearance and low gearing but I guess they mean literally any full sized suv or truck with 4wd. Snow on trail as of now would prevent driving up the road but once that melts one could easily drive to 11,600 where theres a parking spot in something like a suburban. Now the standard route 4wd road is so easy I would have taken my new stock explorer up it with zero scraping but these scardy cats made me think it was the real deal. Both roads are easily subaruable
Posted By: kimbuk2
Info: Mostly dry to the trailhead with a low stream crossing. 4x4 recommended. Decent amount of pull-offs for oncoming traffic if needed. Lots of camping options. Decent amount of traffic by the time we left around 11 am, parking lot was jammed but plenty of other areas to park if needed.

Shoutout to the 80 Series Land Cruiser that "waved" over to my 200, pretty stoked on that.
Posted By: tward16
Info: Made it to the 4WD trailhead in a Subaru Crosstrek with no bottom-outs or scraping. Saw a newer Rav4 and several Grand Cherokees as well. I’d recommend 8.5" clearance.
Posted By: RWSchaffer
Info: Full summer conditions to the first 4WD sign, above Winfield, where I parked my 2WD hatchback. The remainder of the road is at least 90 percent dry, though patches of ice and snow still cover the road in places; the picture shows one of the largest. A Tacoma and a 4-Runner were parked at the trailhead.
Posted By: supranihilest
Info: Mostly dry to Winfield townsite and all rocks/downed trees/snow easily avoidable. The 4WD road to the Huron trailhead is clear for something like .25 miles and then large snowbanks block the road. This is approximately 1.75 miles from the Huron trailhead. I expect 3 or so weeks before things are melted enough to drive to the Huron trailhead, or at least very close.
Posted By: randallson
Info: I parked about 1 mile past the snowplow turnaround. That put me about 6 miles from Winfield. Some cars were driving a bit past Missouri Gulch but there are limited places to turn around. There was a well packed trail all the way to Winfield. Past Winfield the snow got significantly deeper, but an old trench could faintly be followed to the 4wd TH. A solid trench is now in. On the way out it looks like a snowmobile pulling a sled drove all the way to Winfield. It made for a super easy walk out.
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 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. We still had a minimum of five miles to Winfield. Don’t get stuck.
Posted By: CaptCO
Info: I’d recommend parking at the Winfield campground unless you like getting unstuck. Don’t be that guy to park at the upper 2WD and give nobody room to turn around ;) LuLu trenched to windblown area
Posted By: WildWanderer
Info: 2WD road to Winfield is mostly dry, and in a few spots icy but manageable, even in a 2WD. Less than half a mile past Winfield the 4WD road becomes very iced over. Look for dispersed camping/parking spots which are (mostly) clear of ice/snow about 2 miles below Cleark Crk./S. Winfield trailhead. Conditions likely to change/get worse with incoming snow this weekend.
Posted By: Stephaniejo37
Info: 4WD road was try to the trailhead. Made it up in an Outback.

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