Grizzly Lake Trailhead


Range: Sawatch Range

Road Difficulty

Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)

Driving Directions

Follow CO 82 (Independence Pass Road) approximately 11 miles southeast out of Aspen or 8 miles below the summit of Independence Pass on the west side of the pass. Turn south onto the dirt Lincoln Creek Road (signed). Pass Lincoln Gulch Campground at .4 miles. Beyond this point the road gets rougher, there are several rocky sections and lots of potholes that fill with water when it rains or in run-off season and the road can be muddy in spots. The worst sections of road are along the 22 dispersed campsites. This section of road may turn back many vehicles, but the road is surprisingly drivable by many lower clearance and 2WD vehicles with the proper line. It is time consuming, however, taking 45 minutes to an hour to reach Grizzly Reservoir from pavement. The road eases to more of a traditional 2WD dirt road after the last numbered campsite, but continue to watch for potholes. Just before Grizzly Reservoir there is a road split, stay left (signed) to bypass private land. The Grizzly Lake trailhead is signed "trailhead" (no name) on the left at 6.4 miles from CO 82. Note: You can drive another 1/4 mile to the Portal Campground. Camping is only allowed in the 2 campgrounds or the 22 dispersed sites. Beyond the Portal Campground the road narrows and becomes rougher as it ascends to the Ruby Townsite.

Winter Access

Gated at CO 82, also note that the Lincoln Creek road turnoff is above the normal Independence Pass winter closure by several miles. The road usually opens a couple of weeks after Independence Pass.
Status Updates 
Posted By: CheapCigarMan
Info: The 4WD road is closed at the Portal Campground. Due to avalanche debris that is covering the road about 2 miles south of the campsite.
Posted By: TakeMeToYourSummit
Info: Sorry - I’d meant to put this up a few days ago. It appears the gate was opened on 6-23-19 or a few days prior (it was still closed on 6-16-19). I had hiked the road up to campsite 6 on 6-16-19 with dry conditions up at least that far.
Posted By: TakeMeToYourSummit
Info: Gate is open! I didn’t go back there as we had plans on top of the pass. I can’t comment 100% on the conditions up to the rez & beyond; but looking at the snow levels up the pass in general I’d guess you could make it quite a ways back there.
Posted By: dillonsarnelli
Info: Lincoln Creek Road is open. We went as far as the reservoir. Snow free. Mud free.
Posted By: SnowAlien
Info: Lincoln creek road opened earlier than expected, when I called Friday they said it‘s been open for 2 days, so since last Wednesday. Road is in great condition this year, dry to the reservoir and was fine in a subi. We didn‘t ski Grizzly, but several other parties did.
4x4 section after res is still rough with big puddles, but no snow for several more miles. Lincoln Creek crossing was "interesting" in huge runoff.
Posted By: Chicago Transplant
Info: Gate at CO 82 is open as of 6/13/15. Road is as bumpy and slow as ever, but no issues in a 2012 Outback, just slow going. Road is wet with lots of muddy potholes, so AWD/4WD are helpful. Portal CG is open and makes a nice base camp a short walk from the trailhead.

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