Clear Lake  
Maps:           
USGS 7.5' Map: Ophir
Statistics:
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Easy 2 FR815 4.32 9,800 to 11,960 ft. Rock Outcrop 1-2 hours
County: San Juan
Adopted by:      
Managed by: San Juan National Forest, Columbine Ranger District 367 Pearl St., P.O. Box 439
Bayfield, CO 81122
(970)884-2512
Summary: The Clear Lake 4WD road climbs up the side of South Lookout Peak passing a waterfall and a mine before ending at Clear Lake.
Attractions: Fishing, Scenery, Mines, Waterfall
Seasonal
Closure:
Natural - Closed by heavy snows.
Best Time: June - May still have snow
July - Best
August - Best
September - Best
October - May be snowed closed
Trail Heads
Accessed:
Ice Lake Trail
Camping: There is one dispersed campsite along the road about half way up.
Base Camp: This would be a good place to base camp to do fishing, or to drive Mineral Creek, FR585, to the Bandora and Big Three Mines.
Fall Colors: Poor - There are only pine forests.
Navigation: From Silverton, CO. head southwest on Greene Street toward 11th Street for 0.5 miles. Slight right onto County Road 2 and go 417 ft. Take a slight right onto US-550 N and go 2.0 miles. Turn left onto County Road 7/Forest Service Road 585 and go 3.7 miles. Keep right to go up hill and start the Clear Lake 4WD road.

History: The road up the side of South Lookout Peak to Clear Lake was most likely develped as a haul road from the Burbank Mine and the Waco Mine. The Burbank sites at one of the switchbacks along the road. There is a large tailing pile and some mining equipment left. The Waco Mine is on the slope south of Clear Lake and was not very substantial.
Description:
The Clear Lake road starts off of the Mineral Creek road, FR585, near the South Mineral campground.
Clear Lake road turn off from Mineral Creek road

photo by:
Adam M

The road will begin to climb into the trees and do a series of switchbacks following Clear Creek. The road will be narrow up a bit the higher you climb, but there are many places to pass on coming traffic. Some of the switch backs are tight and may require backing up to make the turn.
Clear Lake road

photo by:
Adam M

Once you get up above timberline you will have great views of the upper part of Mineral Creek.
View of Mineral Creek road from Clear Lake road

photo by:
Adam M

The switch backs will continue climbing up the side of South Lookout Peak. You will pass by a waterfall near one of the switch backs and then come to the remains of an old mine. Not much is left here.
Clear Lake waterfall

photo by:
Adam M

After climbing up above the waterfall you will come to an obstacle. It is a small rock outcrop that you will need to drive over, or around.
The Obstacle

photo by:
Adam M

Past the obstacle the road will crest the top of a flat area where you will pass a small pond. Keep going around the pond and over another small rise to come to the turn around at Clear Lake.
Clear Lake

photo by:
Adam M

Heading down from Clear Lake

photo by:
Adam M

Clear Lake road switch backs

photo by:
Adam M

Data updated - November 29, 2015       4WD Road driven - August 9, 2015       Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2015