Santa Fe Peak Road Trailhead


Range: Front Range
Coordinates: 39.58193, -105.86822

Road Difficulty

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

Driving Directions

From U.S. 6 west of Loveland Pass, exit at Keystone and drive to the Montezuma road near the east end of the ski area. Drive approx. 5.5 miles to the town of Montezuma and look for the 264 road on the left, at a stop sign near the middle of town. Turn left and drive about 1 mile to find good parking on the side of the road. The road is also known as the Santa Fe Peak road.

Winter Access

The road out of Montezuma is closed in winter.
Status Updates 
Posted By: cougar
Info: I drove an Outback to above 10800 feet, good parking at the switchback. This is above the house with the dogs (which ran out in the road to greet my car coming down), and seems to be a common parking spot. Avoided any encounter with locals as all the homes were below. Road is rocky in spots but not bad. Snow starts at 11600 but bypassable on foot. There was a tree blocking the road around 11100 but a couple guys were moving it aa I was hiking down, usfs contractors.

Road is probably passable farther with clearance, sections of loose small rocks and occasionally bigger embedded ones, but also smooth stretches. Almost no spots to pass oncoming vehicles though.

Also usfs sign board on road in still lists this and all other forest roads as closed except Peru Creek. But there was no gate and only signs on road said open May 20 or when dry.
Posted By: B_2
Info: We discovered today that there is an ongoing war being waged by the locals of Montezuma against the people who would like to recreate there.

We were aggressively threatened by a man and his dog who lives near the Santa Fe road start/the end of 3rd street in town. He repeatedly told us we were being disrespectful even though we parked in a spot that had no sign indicating parking was not allowed near the start of Santa Fe road. He stated that the least of our problems would be to return to a towed vehicle if we did not leave. When asked where we could park he said I dont F-ing care, but its not here on private property. Then he ordered the dog to attack the car as we were pulling out.

He had some illegal (per USFS) No Parking signs posted and these can be found all over town in any possible place to park. I checked the Caltopo map of public lands and I believe we were, in fact, parked on public land at the time of the incident.

The USFS was notified and was aware of this ongoing problem. They said we were in a legal spot to park and the signs are illegal. They were actually having a meeting that day with the town about this issue. Summit county sheriff was also notified and a report filed.

The only safe places to park currently to access the Santa Fe group are 1)At the end of Montezuma Road, several miles past town. This was not plowed past the junction with Webster Pass Rd at this time and had at least 3-6 of snow on it, and was not attempted. 2) The parking area near the start of County Rd 260, several miles before you get to the town.

For more info/updates call USFS at 970-468-5400. They were very helpful.
Posted By: daway8
Info: The small parking area just up the road outside Montezuma was basically full so I decided to see if my Jeep could make it up to the pull off described. It couldn’t. Decided very soon to back down but I suck at backing up and sank in the snow off the side of the snowmobile tracks. Took half an hour or more to extract myself. Might have got a little further if I had put on the autosocks before getting stuck vs. afterwards but taken off guard by how quickly the road got ugly. Eventually just barely had enough room to turn around and park along the road by the parking area. There was a large parking area ~0.8mi before Montezuma. That would have probably been the better choice despite some added mileage.
Posted By: CaptCO
Info: Parked near Duck Creek, it’s nasty all the way up to the new Shelf Lake & South Park TH. maybe doable in a jeep ** from the South
Posted By: mjlucarelli
Info: Just an FYI. We were going to do Santa Fe Peak from Santa Fe Peak Rd but the home owner closest to the 2wd Parking area told us that we were not allowed to park there. We had no idea if the 2wd parking area is on private or public land so we ended up doing the peak from a trail head off of Peru Creek Rd. We descended Santa Fe Peak Road once we summited Santa Fe Peak and the entire road was covered in snow, even hard to find in some places above treeline, so most vehicles will probably have to park at the 2wd parking area (assuming you are allowed too!).
Posted By: shaunblair
Info: I parked at the switchback at 12000’, the road has a snowbank covering the road at 12400’. Above the snowbank, the road becomes a river in the afternoon. Should melt out in a week or two...
Posted By: supranihilest
Info: Park at the bottom of the road in Montezuma, as the snow starts within just a few feet of the small (5ish cars) parking area there.
Posted By: richwill
Info: 2 miles up from Montezuma road is blocked by a fallen tree
Posted By: mikemalick
Info: Made it all the way to the Quail Mine in my ‘06 AWD Ford Escape. No snow until you break out of tree line, but even then you will always have at least two wheels on dirt/rock for the short stretches where there is snow. Definitely recommend careful driving in an AWD/4WD with good clearance. On my way back down there were Jeeps near the mine as well. First pic shows the Quail Mine area and the 2nd pic shows where the snow is right after tree line.
Posted By: mike14
Info: Clear to treeline. Parked 1 mile up (10,800). 4 wheel drive recommended.
Posted By: jbealer
Info: I was able to drive my Honda Element to with in 1,100ft of the mine. I did have a white knuckle drive back down and questioned why i drove up the road to start with. Higher clearance vehicles will do much better with good tires. I was lucky to find a good pull over spot right at the end of the trees. I was also alone so no help to guide my back up on this tight road to turn back around on the way back.
Posted By: Bowman
Info: Inaccessible due to Montezuma road closure. For more info, see:
Posted By: CarpeDM
Info: Parked my Honda Fit at a switchback at 10,580. Probably could‘ve driven further up, but it was a good spot.
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: The road was in good shape and we parked at 10,800‘, approx. 1 mile up.

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