Boss Lake Trailhead


Range: Sawatch Range
Coordinates: 38.55251, -106.29705
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Road Difficulty

2WD, easy dirt road 1   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)

Driving Directions

From the intersection of U.S. 285 and U.S.50, just north of Poncha Springs, take U.S. 50 west for approx. 12 miles. Just after the Monarch Lodge, turn right into the parking area for Monarch Snowmobile Tours. Pass their building to find the start of Forest Service Road 230 and a small parking area just beyond the start of 230.

Winter Access

If the parking area is not plowed, do not park at the Snowmobile tour place unless you ask for permission. You could also ask to park at the Monarch Lodge, across the street.
Status Updates 
Posted By: angry
Info: 4WD or AWD with clearance and capable driver can make it above 10,000. Several pull outs/camp spots to park at before snow begins in earnest.
Posted By: hogantheepic
Info: Road slowly transitioning from snow-covered to dry. Not yet drivable. Skied aetna today, should’ve tried to keep skis on my feet for much more of the road than I did on the way out.
Posted By: supranihilest
Info: The first few tenths of a mile from the lower trailhead are dry, then there’s continuous snow to the apron below Mount Aetna’s Grand couloir. Snow likely continues all the way to the road’s terminus but I did not investigate past the Grand’s apron.
Posted By: supranihilest
Info: There’s still a couple of trees across the road. It looks like the first (from WildWanderer’s picture) has been cleared, then there’s still two more. The first is maybe ten feet off the ground (high top vehicles beware) and a second a few feet later about 5’ 6" off the ground. Wranglers and Subarus may fit underneath but not much else.
Posted By: WildWanderer
Info: Last report still valid. Just adding pictures. Anyone have a chain saw?
Posted By: 9patrickmurphy
Info: Can get to within about 0.3 miles of the trailhead; a group of downed trees blocks the path. Wouldn’t be surprised if these are gone soon, but there’s still a few snow drifts on the road past that point.

I’d agree with previous reports of this trailhead that it’s pretty similar in difficulty to the Princeton road (3 out of 6), but way more pulloffs for passing. Not nearly as long. Took me maybe 20 minutes in my 4Runner to get to where I parked. Definitely Subaruable.
Posted By: Bigperm
Info: This 230 road is true 4wd. It seems to be a bit chewed up right now by the backhoe whos been building water bars.

The 230C road (4wd) has a large 2-3ft tall rock sitting in the middle of the road at 11000-11100ft. So unless you can move that thing I wouldnt recommend heading up as theres nowhere to turn around.
Posted By: rleclair
Info: 4WD road from the 2WD parking lot to Boss Lake TH is snow free and dry. Some minor water to cross but easy access to the TH. Parking area also snow free and can support quite a few vehicles parking there.
Posted By: WildWanderer
Info: Most 4WD vehicles can make it to the trailhead (and most likely to the lake, but I didn’t go that way). I parked at the snowmobile area but could have driven all the way to Boss Lake Trailhead. Just an FYI, the sign says 1 mile to trailhead from snowmobile area but it’s actually 1.4 miles. Very few spots to pass another vehicle/turn around on the 4WD road in. Avy debris still about 1/2 a mile from trailhead but someone took a chainsaw to it and it’s passable by vehicle. 230C is rough with lots of running water/mud, but I saw tire tracks from an ambitious driver that made it to about 100 yards from the cabins (10,880’) and then turned around because the road was impassable due to snow. Should all melt in the next week or so.
Posted By: Buckie06
Info: 4wd can make it .5 miles up FS 230 before hitting snow. Parking for maybe 3 cars at this point. The snowmobile business seems to be closed for the season so people were parking in their lot, the hotel across the street also allows hiker parking.
Posted By: Trotter
Info: Not a lot of info on this TH in general. Road to Snowmobile parking lot is all paved. FS 230 is a narrow 4WD road, reminds me of Princeton road in narrowness and difficulty. I think any stock 4x4 or even a suburu could make it up. But very few pull outs/passing spots until about a mile in. Then theres parking for a couple vehicles there, and more parking for 2-3 vehicles about 1.5 miles in at the Boss lake trail turnoff.

Today the road is melted out until about a mile in.
Posted By: JasonKline
Info: Road was dry the entire way. My Elantra easily made it to the trailhead parking at the Monarch Snowmobile Tours parking lot. FS 230 to Boss Lake is definitely 4WD.
Posted By: cardgenius
Info: Road is dry .5 miles up. Intermittent snow patches for another .25 mikes then pretty solid all the rest of the way.
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Trailhead parking is open and dry. The first 1/2 mile of the Boss Lake (230) road is dry but there are no good pull-offs for parking. After that there’s a lot of snow on the road.

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