Waldorf Mine Trailhead


Range: Front Range
Coordinates: 39.6378, -105.76568
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Road Difficulty

Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Narrow, easy 4WD up the Waldorf mine

Driving Directions

Take the Georgetown exit off of Interstate 70. Drive through Georgetown and follow the signs for the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway. After driving through town, continue over 2.5 miles to a signed turnoff for Waldorf, on the right, just after a couple of switchbacks on the main road. If you have 2WD, there's parking in this area. If you have 4WD, turn right and start up the Leavenworth Creek road, which leads to the Waldorf mine. The first mile is rocky and requires good clearance. Stay right on FS 248.1 at the first junction and ascend a few switchbacks to reach 10,000' at a sharp corner, approx. 1 mile from the start of this road. Turn left and continue approx. 3.5 miles to reach the Waldorf Mine area at 11,600'.

Winter Access


More Info

Fees? No
Trailhead added by BillMiddlebrook
Status Updates 
Posted By: nharbour
Info: Made it to the old mine and then almost to Mclellan peak but had to stop very near the end due to a patch of snow. If you’re coming in soon after this I’d advice turning around at 248.1 J (H at the latest if you don’t mind a rather treacherous 3-point turn) if you don’t want to back up the road for quite a way. Driving an otherwise stock Subaru Outback Wilderness. It took me much longer than previous posters (3 hours each way) as this was my first time offroading, the road is very rocky all of the way and I was a bit squeamish about hitting the rocks too fast.
Posted By: krishcane
Info: You can take 248.1 all the way to the summit ridge of McClellan at 13,000 feet. You get incredible views into the Grays/Torreys approach valley from there, and it’s like 0.75 miles and 500 vertical feet to the true summit of McClellan if you just want to bag it. As others have said, a stock SUV can do it if you are a skilled driver and there is no snow. I took my Honda CRV all the way up. It was 11 miles total from the Waldorf turnoff to the summit (about 6 miles to the mine - 5 more to the summit ridge), which took me 2 hours one-way. I found the COTrex app extremely helpful for navigating the mess of 4WD roads up there (248.1, 248.1P, 248.1K, 248.1D, etc.). Obviously this would be more a 4WD adventure than hiking adventure, but it’s pretty, uncrowded, and a nice option when your legs need a rest.
Posted By: PikaSteve
Info: Looking through all of the condition reports, I saw a wide range of experiences. My conclusion was to keep switchbacking up until reaching the old railroad bed (star on attached map). This will keep you up high on FS 248.1 (not the lower 248.1B). I agree that the most difficult section of road is the first 200 yards and the road becomes easy once you reach the old railroad bed. After reaching the railroad bed, my only concern was the long stretches of narrow road. Luckily, I didn’t need to back up for oncoming uphill traffic. Beware of Google Maps as it will try to send you on 248.1B and 248.1K.
I met a new friend who had a white knuckle experience driving up 248.1B, but was very content following me down 248.1.
I’m a conservative driver and it took me about an hour to drive from Georgetown to the Waldorf mine, so I could have driven to Keystone and the Argentine Pass trailhead in similar time.
Posted By: GordoByrn
Info: We headed up 248.1B, which stays close to the creek.
Came down the more standard way.
Like the previous poster said, if you make the 1st mile then you’ll make it.
My 4Runner, Off Road Trim, not lifted, P265/70R/17, is the minimum I’d need to feel comfortable.
Rolled 4Lo the whole way up/down and our times were similar to the previous post.
I’ll share a picture of where we went straight and ended up alongside the creek. That road wasn’t bad but it was narrow in spots.
Probably better to hang a hard right uphill switchback to climb earlier to the old rail bed.
I’ll post a couple pics of the crux of the Jeep Road up to the pass. Well past my skill level in my 4Runner.
Some vids of the jeep road: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=argentine+pass+colorado
Posted By: michaelgrundy
Info: Drove a stock 4 door F150 up to the mine today. The road is free of any snow and the places where runoff crosses the road is minimal.

As others have mentioned, the first mile is the worst part of the road. With that being said, the rest of the road isn’t all smooth sailing either. It probably took me 45 min to an hour to drive up the 6 miles to the mine. While it is easier than trailheads like Matterhorn creek, I would say it is way more difficult than South Colony Lakes.

Just pick your line wisely and you will be fine!
Posted By: climb2ski
Info: Anyone been up this road this spring?
Posted By: Corey17
Info: Made it to the mine in a stock Subaru Forester. Long bumpy ride, but doable. Picking a good line is the key! As previous reports say, the worst of it is the first mile or two, if you can get up the switchbacks you will be fine! No snow on the road from the Labor Day storm
Posted By: Aldinach
Info: Made it to the mine in a stock Subaru Forester. The worst part is the first 100 yards to the first switchback, but doesn’t get much easier all the way up to the mine. I wouldn’t recommend taking a Subaru up without a skid plate and will be getting myself a good set of all terrain tires and spare for my next trip up.
Posted By: stenquistm
Info: Road is clear all the way to Waldorf Mine. Above the mine there are still a few snowfields across the road up to Argentine Pass.
Posted By: kwhit24
Info: No issues getting to the TH. Past the TH is a different story. The road to Argentine Pass is still 50% covered in snow
Posted By: clairekm
Info: The left turn is the second available left during the switchbacks which keeps you switchbacking. I made the mistake of taking the first turn which is parallel to the correct road, but a bit lower and ended in an impassable creek crossing.

The drivability of the road depends a lot on the driver and how comfortable they are with their car, but as others have said if you can make it to the first turn you can make it up the rest. I made it almost to the trailhead in a Crosstrek, but saw an Forester that made it all the way to the trailhead and someone else give up on the first section in an FJ cruiser.
Posted By: nedryarson
Info: As most have said, the first 100 yard incline after leaving the main road is the nastiest. It gets your attention. Although easier after that, it’s still a long slow drive all the way up. However, none of it was too bad for my 2012 stock Xterra and there was a Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee at the trailhead as well. Also, an Outback and an Audi SUV were camping at a site up above the initial gnarly section.
Posted By: cougar
Info: similar to the previous report, I was able to drive an Outback up there without much issue, except for trying to pass a couple oncoming trucks when I was going down, it’s a narrow shelf road. The worst part of the road is the first 100ft or so from the pavement (stay left going up), if you get past this, you shouldn’t find anything worse, although there are some trenches in the upper half mile where it looked like culverts were dug, but with no pipe to fill in, so I had to dip in on those. No noticeable damage, just took those very slow.
Posted By: ilikereds
Info: Be forewarned, you must have 4WD to get to this trailhead. Thankfully I had a friend following me or else we would have been looking for another hike today. Road is extremely steep, narrow, and littered with boulders. 2WD wont make it 100 yards on this road. Snow near trailhead prevented anyone from actually making it all the way (we parked 0.2 miles from TH). Saw motorbike prints at TH. Plan accordingly.
Posted By: yaktoleft13
Info: We made it to the mine in a stock ’07 CRV with 7.3" of clearance without hitting bottom. It would certainly be easier with more clearance but if the CRV can make it, your average Subaru can as well with patience.

The prior report was very helpful; if you come to a junction, go right. The hardest part of the road is the first 200 feet. It remains tough until you pass the switchbacks. Once you get by those, it gets easier
Posted By: goingup
Info: The road is snow free to Waldorf Mine. As mentioned there are spur roads, lots of them, I noted 3 major intersections and I stayed right at each of these and made it to the mine in my stock 2008 Toyota 4runner. It is beyond obvious once you have reached the mine.

Most of the reports I read said the road is "easy" after 1 mile. I disagree with this, while there are "easier" sections, I felt consistently attentive. There were big puddles and small creeks flowing down the road, it was very narrow in spots. I did amazing on the way up, but scraped up my bottom a little on the way down. Nothing major, I am still really new to 4WDriving. I do not know why anyone would 4wheel for fun, but its a nice place to sleep for the night and an easy way to climb McClellan and Edwards (although I only climbed Mc because I did Edwards from Grays and got to lazy to continue on to MC).

If someone tells you this road is "easy" they are smoking crack. It isn’t terrible but it certainly is not "easy"

As far as mileage, I clocked 6 miles one way from pavement to mine and the exact same on the way back, so 12 miles round trip. There are no signs at all that will help you get to the mine, engage spidey senses.
Posted By: COnaive
Info: Road is clear beyond the mine towards Argentine Pass to over 12000 feet, likely will be passable to the top within a couple weeks.
Posted By: crester
Info: The road is clear of snow all the way to the Waldorf mine.
Posted By: Nathan Hale
Info: The road is passable within about .25 miles of the mine before a large drift covers the road. There are a couple of other smaller ones between that closure and the mine.

It’s supposed to be warm, so it might be clear next weekend, but I’m thinking it’ll be more like two weeks.
Posted By: glenmiz
Info: Went scouting the Waldorf Mine (Leavenworth Creek) road. Made it almost 3 miles to 10,600’ just past the first creek crossing before the snow became impassable. Melting fast though.
Posted By: eskermo
Info: Drove to within a couple hundred yards of the Waldorf Mine this morning in my stock 95 4Runner. 4WD and similar clearance are mandatory.

I hiked up the road a little and Edwards East slopes appears to hold nearly completely continuous snow from near the summit to the road. Argentine Peak is still holding tons of snow.

I agree with the previous reporter’s comments regarding mileage. I was just shy of 6.0 miles from the paved road when I turned around right before the mine.
Posted By: flyingmagpie
Info: Made it to the mine in my Jeep Wrangler. Some of the information about finding this road must have changed since it was originally written. Roach’s description of the road in "Colorado 13ers" includes a stream crossing. The stream now flows through a set of culverts. FS 248.1 starts right after a switchback with a very wide, paved pullout with two historical placards displaying photos and information about area mining. The two placards are the best landmark to find this road. I didn’t see any sign for the Waldorf Mine at its turnoff from the Guanella Pass Road. There may once have been one, or perhaps the sign was hidden by the big backhoe I found parked to fill the only space anyone could park a vehicle at the road’s start. A few yards up the road from the turnoff (I could only see it once I had turned onto the road) was a flat Forest Service fiberglass stake identifying the road as "248.1" I found the mine by simply following what was obviously the main road and ignoring all of the turnoffs. The main road is wider and has more vehicle tracks than the side roads. All these roads move up a wide valley containing a huge power line. The road evidently braids in many places. The worst part of the road is the low switchbacks at the start. Once the road starts climbing gradually up the valley it is still rocky, but better. There is no sign identifying the Waldorf mine. The best landmark to know you are at the mine is a boarded up quanset hut and a couple of big flat areas where you can park. Also, the 14ers.com photo of McClellan Mountain from the road accurately shows this mountain as it appears from where you should park. My odometer showed the mine at 6.0 miles from the beginning of 248.1, but the actual distance may vary if you take a slightly different braid of the road. The valley opens up right at the mine, and trees no longer block the view. You cannot see the summit of Edwards, or Gray’s or Torrey’s from the parking area. I climbed Mt. Edwards, a Centennial, from the mine trail head. It is a short, steep climb mostly on tundra, without a trail. The photos on 14ers.com show the route well.
Posted By: Uffda
Info: Made it to the mine in my 2010 Forester. Rocky and steep in parts, but nothing particularly challenging. Took a few wrong turns since there are many junctions along the road. Basically, when in doubt keep going up.
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