Grouse/Burns Gulch Trailhead


Range: San Juan Mountains
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Road Difficulty

Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Access to the Jones group of 13'ers (Centennials & Bicentennials) from Silverton

Driving Directions

From the north end of Silverton, go 4.2 miles east-northeast on Colorado 110 to Howardsville, continue north east up the Animas River valley and reach Eureka town site at mile 8.0. Cross to the Animas River's west side (bridge), continue up the steep shelf road and reach the Grouse-Burns Gulch trailhead at mile 11.1 just before the road crosses back to the river's east side. Park in flat area on road's west (eft side) side.Description courtesy of Colorado's Thirteeners by Gerry and Jennifer Roach

Winter Access

Status Updates 
Posted By: CCU_Jim
Info: Made it to the 4WD turn off today in a 2WD Kia sedan. The road is in great shape until Eureka. Above Eureka, it starts getting bumpy, but still fairly easily passable for the next two miles or so, just dodging rocks here and there. The final mile (really .5 mile) was a lot more interesting, with about 3 rough spots. With good lines, I was able to get up without scraping or hitting bottom, but was nervous at times. This was further complicated on the descent as the road was packed with 4-wheelers and ATVs. 4WD vehicles, or anything with descent clearance shouldn’t have a problem though. The 4WD road up Burns Gulch is clear of avalanche debris and passable - saw a Jeep and several ATVs up by the 4WD parking. Still a ton of avy debris and snow sitting next to the Animas from last year’s slide, but it does not affect any driving.
I clocked slightly different mileage as well: Starting where you turn right from main street onto county road 2, it is paved for 2.0 miles. Reached Howardsville at 4.1, Eureka at 7.5, and parked at 10.6. Found a parking spot on the left, right before the river crossing, but there was a good amount of room just past it as well, without any major obstacles in the way.
Posted By: kwhit24
Info: The 4WD road past CR 2 is still completely blocked off to vehicles but there is a way to get over the debris and snow on foot. Most likely will not be passable until maybe next year so you have to park at the Animas Forks

Didn’t actually drive to the trailhead but we could see it from the Jones-Niagara saddle and we talked about it with someone who came up from there
Posted By: denvermikey
Info: Believe it or not, the trailhead for Burns Gulch is still buried, massively. Grouse is clear but you may not be able to access Burns TH, or the road itself for a year or more. The avalanche debris is unreal. Mid September and there is 20-30 feet of snow/debris covering the area. It was actually awe inspiring driving through the road where they plowed through. The pic is looking up through our moonroof at the top of the debris where you drive through. Amazing.
Posted By: Chicago Transplant
Info: Was up here on the 30th, parked at Eureka at the base of the shelf road (3 miles below the trailhead). Road was plowed for about 2.5 miles beyond with a turnaround and minimal parking at the end of plowing. Walked through a plow cut that was 20-25’ high on each side. The trailhead itself is buried in avalanche debris, estimated in excess of 40’. Both trails, however, were visible on the hill side as its really the valleys that have the brunt of the snow along the Animas here.

Image 1: Snow canyon a mile above Eureka
Image 2: End of Plowing
Image 3: Grouse
Image 4: Burns (Niagara Peak visible, I am looking down the Animas Forks Road)
Posted By: TravelingMatt
Info: The Grouse Gulch and Burns Gulch THs are in slightly different locations, with Grouse up the road a bit from the turnoff for Burns. No problem getting there in a Rav4. The Grouse Gulch trail is not signed by name, only a small post identifying it as a trail, and it starts a few hundred feet up from, and on the opposite side of, the more conspicuously-signed Picayne Gulch Road. No parking right at the TH but can park 100-200’ down the road on the other side. It is an easy trail up to the pass and is used by the Hardrock 100. It can also be used to summit Handies, so may actually count as a 14er TH.
Posted By: Chicago Transplant
Info: Road is plowed (actually all the way over both Cinnamon and Engineer passes), but there is a large snowdrift/avy debris that was cut through by the plow that is basically right at the trailhead so there really isn’t any parking right at the trailhead at the moment, you will have to park slightly up or down the road where you can find a reasonable pullout that doesn’t block the road. Creek was running really high, if going up Burns Gulch I recommend crossing the bridge to the Grouse trail then backtracking towards Burns along the grass/snow to pick up that road and avoid the ford. Note that we didn’t hike here, we were on Animas Forks Mtn farther up the road, so I am not sure of trail conditions up road.
Posted By: dixonallred
Info: Road is clear and dry to upper parking at 12,200 ft. Most stock 4x4’s should be able to make it to 11,700 easily and slightly modified 4x4’s can make it to upper parking at 12,200 ft.
Posted By: kamiller43
Info: Plowed all the way to the trailhead.
Posted By: sanchomurphy1
Info: The road all the way to the trailhead is in relatively good condition with the last 1/2 mile being the worst. We made it all the way in a 2009 Honda Fit but we would probably not do it again, yet any car with a decent amount of clearance and power should have no problem making it with two wheel drive. The trailhead is unmarked and is easy to miss.
Posted By: Wyoming Bob
Info: Road plowed one lane with sufficient passing areas to trailhead. Mucho snow everywhere but the road

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