Geneva Basin  
Maps:                      
USGS 7.5' Map: Montezuma, Mount Evans
Statistics:
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Easy 3 FR119 6.80 9,800 to 11,600 ft.   3-4 hours
County: Park, Clear Creek
Adopted by:      
Managed by: Pike National Forest,
South Platte Ranger District
19316 Goddard Ranch Court
Morrison, CO 80465
303-275-5610
Summary: Geneva Basin is a longer 4WD road that takes you to a mining area and to the naturally occuring Iron Fens.
Attractions: Scenery, Mining, Natural Site
Seasonal
Closure:
Natural - Closed by seasonal snow fall.
Best Time: June - Typically snowed in.
July - Late in the month if the snow has melted.
August - Best
September - Best
October - First snows will close the upper road.
Trail Heads
Accessed:
Shelf Lake, FT634 - Hiking, Equestrian
South Park Trail, FT600 - Hikeing, Equestrian
Camping: There is no dispersed camping the first mile of the Geneva Basin road. There are 45 designated dispersed sites along the entire road. The Geneva Park Campground is at the start of the road just off pavement.
Base Camp: This would not be the best place to base camp unless you were hiking in the Wilderness.
Fall Colors: Poor - The road mainly travels a wide valley or through the pine forest.
Navigation: From Georgetown CO. head west on Rose Street for 0.2 miles. Take the 3rd left onto 2nd Street and go 151 feet. Continue onto Guanella Pass Rd for 2.5 miles. Turn left to stay on Guanella Pass Rd and go 2.0 miles. Slight right to stay on Guanella Pass Rd and go 0.7 miles. Keep right to stay on Guanella Pass Rd and go 0.2 miles. Keep right to stay on Guanella Pass Rd and go 7.0 miles. Turn left to stay on Guanella Pass Road and go 0.8 miles. Continue onto FR118/Geneva Road. Continue to follow Geneva Rd for 3.6 miles. Take a sharp right onto Duck Creek/FR119. This is the start of the Geneva Basin 4WD road.

From Grant, CO. head north on Geneva Road/Guanella Pass Road for 6.8 miles. Take a slight left onto Duck Creek/FR119. This is the start of the Geneva Basin 4WD road.
History:  
Description:
Geneva Basin 4WD road is paved a short distance to the Duck Creek Picnic area. After that the road is graded. Just past the picnic ground you will pass the Geneva Park campground on the left. From pavement there is no dispersed camping allowed for a mile. As you continue along Geneva Basin road you will pass designated dispersed campsites that are marked with a "Parking" and "Camping" sign. There are fourty five of these sites along the road. (I don't show all of them in the GPS files, just some of the major ones.) As you head up the open valley of Geneva Creek the road will be about a lane and a half wide with some rocky sections and potholes.

Looking back to the east end of the valley

photo by:
Adam Mehlberg


West end of the valley

photo by:
Adam Mehlberg

After about 2.5 miles you will come to a parking area on the right for the Shelf Lake trail which heads up Smelter Gulch. A mile from the trail head parking you will come to an open gate and pass through some private property. There is a cabin on the south side of the road.

Upper section

photo by:
Adam Mehlberg

Another half mile will get you to the Jackwhacker Creek crossing. You will now be in the trees for the most part. Shortly past the creek crossing you will come to an old spur road the heads down to the Iron Fen, non-motorized only. Stay to the right as the road will now narrow up to a two track, become rockier and start to make a long steep climb.

Climbing above the private property

photo by:
Adam Mehlberg

Just past the intersection you will cross a large open area where there are only small aspen trees. This is an avalanche chute. In the valley below you will see the broken trees from the seasons avalanche.

Avalanche chute

photo by:
Adam Mehlberg


Heading down looking across the avalanche chute

photo by:
Adam Mehlberg

Past the chute you will be back in the trees continuing your long climb.

Continuing the climb

photo by:
Adam Mehlberg

After crossing another small avalanche chute you will finally come out onto a flat area heading east. The road will make a shart hairping turn and head back southwest. You will be entering the area where the mining took place below Santa Fe Peak. The road will pass a spur to the left that heads back down to the main road, stay to the right and you will pass another spur on the right that is not a legal route.

Above the Iron Fen looking south

photo by:
Adam Mehlberg

Stay left here and look down into the valley below. The large bare spot is the Iron Fen. From Clear Creek County information, "A fen is an area of peat-forming wetlands that receives nutrients usually from upslope mineral soils and groundwater movement. It is typically alkaline due to groundwater draining from surrounding calcareous rocks. The iron fens, due to the iron substrate, are very low in pH (acid) and are high in minerals. The geologic process forming the iron fen begins with a series of springs flowing over highly fractured, highly mineralized bedrock rich in pyrites producing extremely acidic (pH3), mineral-rich water. This process produces limonite (iron saturated peat) ledges and terraces." Link to some pictures of the fens Gohikecolorado.com.

Bare spot, Iron Fen

photo by:
Adam Mehlberg

The road continues above timberline, droping back down to cross Geneva Creek. On the other side of the creek is a parking area, and the end of the road. There are some building remains in this area. One cabin is back by the creek crossing, with another to the east of the parking area in the brush. These are the only ones still standing. All the other structures in the area have succumbed to the winter snows.

Cabin by the creek

photo by:
Adam Mehlberg


Cabin in the brush

photo by:
Adam Mehlberg


Geneva Basin looking south (2004)

photo by:
Adam Mehlberg


Sill Mine (2004). Building no longer standing.

photo by:
Adam Mehlberg


The Sill Mine (2004). Building no longer standing.

photo by:
Adam Mehlberg


Sill Mine (2022)

photo by:
Adam Mehlberg


Sill Mine truck (2004)

photo by:
Adam Mehlberg


Sill Mine truck (2022)

photo by:
Adam Mehlberg

Data updated - August 18, 2022     4WD Road driven - August 3, 2022     Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2022