Phoenix Park/E. Willow Trailhead


Range: San Juan Mountains
Coordinates: 37.92704, -106.89794
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Road Difficulty

Rough 4WD, high-clearance vehicles with short wheel-base 5   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Very rough and narrow. Passing another vehicle would be difficult. In wet/snowy/icy conditions the road would be extremely difficult and very likely impossible. No bathrooms or other facilities. The coordinates are a short drive past the East Willow Creek 4WD Trailhead described in Gerry Roach's Colorado's Thirteeners: From Hikes to Climbs.

Driving Directions

From the junction of Main Street and Loma Street in Creede drive .6 miles north on Mineral County Road 503. The road quickly turns to gravel. Turn right onto an unmarked road (CR 502, FS 502.2 on Forest Service maps) and drive 3 miles. Turn left and drive another .7 miles. This is the lower, 2WD trailhead. It is located on a switchback and has room for a small number of vehicles. The remaining road to the upper trailhead is very rough. Drive 2.25 miles on the very rough and narrow road to the unmarked trailhead.

Winter Access

Unknown, but at the very least the final 2.25 miles of rough road are completely unmaintained in winter.
Status Updates 
Posted By: Tornadoman
Info: Some rocks/bumps and narrow in spots, but a reasonable drive in a Corolla to the Phoenix Park Mill site, which is 1/4 mile before the road turns to 4wd. The 4wd road is still dry (other than a stream crossing) at least to the turnoff for Phoenix’s standard route.
Posted By: yaktoleft13
Info: 3/6 road to the turnoff for 502.1A. There are two washed out potholes that might thunk a lower clearance suv, but nothing technically difficult preventing an AWD SUV from reaching the lower trailhead. I didn’t bother trying 502.1A, but after walking it, there’s no chance my stock 4runner would have made it. Need a modified off-road vehicle to reach 4wd trailhead
Posted By: durkan
Info: Dry to 2WD trailhead at the end of West Willow-502. Should be no issue.

FS502.1A road was mostly snow-free except for maybe one spot around 37.917,-106.905 . This part did not look driven recently other than OHVs.
Posted By: SurfNTurf
Info: Completely dry to 2WD trailhead and for the first part of the 4WD road at the very least, possibly more. Summer conditions.
Posted By: Carl_Healy
Info: Road out of Creede was pretty snow packed up until an unmarked turn off for "Outlet Mine" 2 miles after the split from road 503. After that there was an icy stretch of 100 ft or so, though it was relatively flat and 2WD vehicles might have been able to make it. We played it safe and parked before the icy spot.

Half a mile from that icy spot there is a clearing for the Phoenix Park Mill site which is probably the furthest 2WD vehicles can really go because from there there’s about 0.3 miles uphill grade, some with some ice, to the split for 502.1A (4WD road). Know a 4x4 Tacoma made it up to that split the day after we were there.
This split for the 4WD road shows up as the "trailhead" on some maps, though the coordinates posted here on place the trailhead further along the 4WD road in Phoenix Park proper.
The 4WD road starts at a hairpin and is really rough. It looks pretty difficult to navigate even with high clearance 4WD vehicles in the summer let alone in the snow (there were a couple downed trees in the way too).

Snow luckily wasn’t terribly deep on the 4WD road until we reached the clearing at Phoenix Park.

Note that the roads mentioned don’t show up in Google Maps but do in Gaia GPS. They basically follow "East Willow Creek" all the way.
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