From the town of Creede and CO149, where the highway crosses the main stream in town, (Willow Creek) turn north and follow the Main St. north through the heart of town. Locate the Rio Grande Field Service Office on the right hand side of the street and measure from there. Continue north through town and begin the steep climb up the narrow canyon on a graded, gravel road. Beyond the town, this road becomes CR503. When the road forks at 1.2 miles, stay right. This becomes CR 502. From that junction, follow the graded road up along East Willow Creek to where the USGS map shows a BM 9704. Right here, the road will cross back to the west side of the creek and begin ascending uphill steeply. At the first switchback, (which will be 3.5 miles from the previous junction), passenger vehicles should park on the north side of the curve. A 4WD road takes off to the NNE from this curve. 4WD with good clearance vehicles may continue from here. Elevation here is just below 10,000 ft., and not 10,200 as the 1986 San Luis quad shows incorrectly.
For 4WD vehicles, continue NNE up the track which crosses a minor, forested ridge (where you may find some camping) and then the road drops considerably on a couple curves/switchbacks to meet a trail coming up from E. Willow Ck. Both the 1986 quad and the Trails Illustrated # 139 show the road continuing from here, but the FS2016 does not. The track heads up a minor drainage and works around a forested knoll to rejoin the creek, staying well above it. When it comes to the crossing of Whited Creek, the upper TH will soon follow. Drive to these coordinates: N 37° 55' 08.18" W 106° 54' 10.81". Elevation is 10,340 ft. This is 1.7 miles from turning off of CR 502. The trail heads down the open slope to the creek. Cross here: N 37° 55' 06.76" W 106° 54' 06.24". In 1993 when we hiked this area, there was a not-too-sturdy foot-bridge to cross on about 50 yards downstream. If no longer there, this will likely be a wet crossing. Once across, the trail climbs up the embankment, then turns south.
Camping opportunities are slim to none in the immediate area. It's too narrow along CR 502 as it follows E. Willow Ck., and there are numerous private property issues. See the trailhead description above for one possible place shortly up the 4WD section. W. Willow Ck. also does not have many opportunities but if you push up it north far enough, there are a couple spots where you can make do car-camp. With 4WD, the best place to camp will be after crossing Whited Creek and near the trailhead. In the immediate vicinity of Creede, there are no Forest Service campgrounds.