Crystal/Spruce Creeks Trailhead


Range: Tenmile Range
Coordinates: 39.43681, -106.05038
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Road Difficulty

2WD, easy dirt road 1   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD dirt to the lower TH. 4WD to the upper Spruce Creek trailhead. Rough 4WD to the upper Crystal Creek trailhead.

Driving Directions

From the south end of Breckenridge, drive 2 miles south on Colorado 9. Turn right on Spruce Creek Road. Stay right up a small hill and turn left at an intersection. Stay on the main road and drive 1.2 miles (from Highway 9) to the Spruce Creek trailhead at 10,400'. There is a large parking area here.
To continue to either of the upper, 4WD trailheads, pass through the parking area and continue up the rough road:
Crystal Creek: After 0.2 mile, turn right and follow a narrow, rough road approx. 2 miles to reach Lower Crystal Lake, near 12,000'.
Spruce Creek: From the lower TH, drive nearly 2 miles on the 4WD road to reach the upper Spruce Creek trailhead, near 11,100'.

Winter Access

Lower TH (10,400') open in winter but the road up from Highway 9 is fairly steep and often requires AWD, at least.
Status Updates 
Posted By: LetsGoMets
Info: 2WD to the lower TH around 10,400. Recommended clearance and good tires to get up to the upper TH, would not take a Subaru or like AWD vehicle.
Posted By: nedryarson
Info: Took my stock Xterra Pro-4x up Crystal Creek to the Lower Crystal Lake trailhead. Once you leave the Spruce Creek road right after the lowest trailhead, this is a legit 4x4 road. Narrow, steep, big rocks, and lots of deep holes. Easier once you pass Francie’s Cabin and leave the forest. Biggest concern was encountering oncoming vehicles on the way down (very few pullouts for passing) but ended up lucking out. Other vehicles at trailhead - three full-size trucks, one 4runner, two Wranglers.
Posted By: camiller4
Info: Drove my Subaru Forester up the 4WD road to Upper Spruce Creek TH (Spruce Creek Rd/Aqueduct Rd junction). Road is really not that bad, definitely pretty rocky with some deep holes, but very doable if you are a confident driver with 4WD and at least as much clearance as a forester.
Posted By: blazintoes
Info: Spruce creek is dry. Get there early. It fills quickly even on a weekday. You can drive up to Mohawk Lakes TH in a rental car (thats what CO visitors told me). I prefer to MTB on roads like this because its faster and less abusive but the 4WD road is bumpy and wet. You can park 2.2 miles to the upper TH from Spruce Creek and have an easier hike to go see the beautiful waterfall!
Posted By: Mountain_Maniac
Info: Took a stock 2017 Tacoma with AT tires up the Crystal Creek 4WD drive road. Didn’t go all the way to the lake - pulled off and parked near treeline shortly after the closed gate for the road that connects to the Spruce Creek road. Crystal Creek Road is rough and narrow - few pullouts and you have to get a bit creative to let oncoming cars pass. The numerous deep holes are the main thing that could actually prevent someone from getting up the road in a Subaru-type vehicle. Saw a 2013 Jeep Cherokee parked at the lake and a Ford Raptor coming up in the afternoon.
Posted By: hgrote
Info: On way to hike Mohawk Lakes today, was able to bring my Highlander to within 0.4 miles of end of road, but was a big puddle that I didn’t chance going through. Road is in pretty decent shape.
Posted By: cyrrus
Info: Drove to crystal lake yesterday. Road is quite rough--in steeper sections, there are numerous sizeable holes. It would be very challenging to get a subaru up this road given the needed torque to get past these sections. There are also very few places to turn around if your vehicle can’t hack it. Despite numerous rocks, they are nearly all quite small. All vehicles at the lake were more or less alike -- Tacomas and Jeeps. I took my xterra. Gate is open. The road is barely wide enough for 1 vehicle. Would recommend not driving up when everyone is coming down - i.e. late afternoon
Posted By: rhammond530
Info: Clear to the upper trailhead, high clearance necessary. 4WD still closed, road has snow on it above the Crystal Creek diversion.
Posted By: Agstrohmeier
Info: Still recommend parking at the lower trailhead. You can make it about half way up the road to the other 2wd trailhead but then it is snowpacked. 4wd gate still closed, and snowed in well before the treeline.
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Spruce Creek road is still blocked by snow just a short distance about the lower, 2WD trailhead (10,400’).
Posted By: ryannadire
Info: Plowed to 2wd trailhead. Roughest part is the first two hundred yards from Hwy 9.
Posted By: Cereal
Info: Nicely plowed to TH; any 2WD vehicle (or at least my Toyota Corolla) can make it.
Posted By: ma1919
Info: Packed snow pretty much all the way from Hwy 9 to the winter/2WD trailhead. Any vehicle with decent tires should be able to make it, although 2WD might require a little more skill. The worst part is the initial 1/4 mile right off of Hwy 9 - if you can make it up that, you’ll be fine for the rest of the way. The road past the 2WD TH is blocked by a snow berm.

The parking lot was probably 1/3 full at 8:30 AM on a Saturday, but there were only a few spots left around noon.
Posted By: madmattd
Info: 2WD lot half-full at 7am, way past full with cars parked along the road for 1/4mi+ at 1pm. Easily 100 cars around the main lot. Road to Upper Crystal Lakes open and numerous 4WD vehicles made it to the lake. Clearance needed moreso than 4WD/AWD. One stream crossing on the road that is a borderline rock-hop for the foot traffic, another that has a detour path to a couple logs across the creek.
Posted By: 9patrickmurphy
Info: Spruce Creek 4WD road open to its junction with Wheeler Trail. Crystal Lakes 4WD road gate is currently shut at junction with Spruc Creek road.
Posted By: madmountainmike
Info: Basically snow free until you hit the big old avy debris over the road at top of the hill before the last descent to meadow and parking area. 2 historic slide debris with trees and snow covering 100+ feet of road within .75 miles of 4wd thj
Posted By: grahampa
Info: Spruce Creek is open and easily accessible with 2wd. Deep snow starts immediately on 4wd road beyond TH
Posted By: clairekm
Info: Road up to Crystal Lakes is gated at the junction with the spruce creek road.
Posted By: Trotter
Info: Spruce creek upper 4WD TH is fairly easy 4x4 road, a suburu type vehicle could do it. Its mainly an issue with clearance.

Note, the road that goes between spruce upper 4WD TH and the Francie’s Hut location on Crystal road is Aqueduct road, and it is gated shut and posted for no motorized vehicles.
Posted By: Laura M
Info: All clear of snow up to the 4WD trailhead and beyond. Past the 2WD trailhead the 4WD road was wet in a few areas but not muddy. Wrangler made it to the upper trailhead easily in 4WD high, no need for a lower gear.
Posted By: Marmot72
Info: You still cannot get beyond the lower TH, because there is a huge pile of snow blocking the continuance of Spruce Creek Rd. The road beyond is dry.
Posted By: Tim Edinger
Info: Spruce Creek Road free and clear to trailhead. Still plenty of snow at trailhead. I was able to skin/ski from car to/from summit of Crystal Peak. Lower portions of trail are melting out though so within a week, it will be intermittent ski/skin conditions within the first 1.5 miles I suspect.
Posted By: cory_eales
Info: Fresh snow on road to lower TH on the way up. Needed 4WD/AWD. The fresh is melting quickly and bare spots were already exposed on the drive down. Large snow drift from plowing just passed the parking area.
Posted By: Tornadoman
Info: Easy, any vehicle 2wd to the main lower trailhead. About a hundred yards beyond there are some decent ruts, etc, that would stop passenger cars.
Posted By: SolarAlex
Info: Drove up to crystal lake yesterday afternoon on the crystal lake road, and this is a real 4wd road. Its steep and rough...theres one pretty big hole about 500 yards up from the junction that would shut down a lot of stock SUVs/ Subarus id imagine.
Another guy up there said that the road had deteriorated a lot this year, for what its worth.

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