From the intersection west of Silverton on US550, drive on northeast into town to East 14th St. This is one block before the courthouse. Turn right and drive SE to a "Y" intersection just across the Animas River. Park out of the way at this intersection. There are some other parking spots if you take the turn to the right for Kendall Gulch, just before the road begins the uphill climb. This is the "lower" trailhead for those with passenger vehicle only. Coordinates are: N 37° 48' 39.66" W 107° 39' 31.55". If you have to hike from here, total round-trip mileage will be 11 miles and elevation gain will be 4,040 feet.
For those with higher clearance or 4WD vehicles, you may continue to drive to an upper trailhead. The last time we drove this road was in 2022. In 2002, we had no problem at all driving all the way up to a switchback at 12,260 ft. in a Jeep Cherokee. The road was in generally good condition and it took us about a half hour from the lower trailhead. It has been our observation that this road is a popular jeeping route which means it receives a lot of use. You may want to inquire in town as to its overall condition now before heading up. In 2022, we found it to be much slower going with many more rocks, but generally, we did not find clearance to be a major issue. The switchback at 12,260 ft. is what we are calling the "upper trailhead." Coordinates are: N 37° 47' 19.49" W 107° 37' 49.44". There's plenty of room to park. A hike from here is Class 1 to low Class 2. A Class 2 rating would because of the hiking up steep tundra. To make the hike a little more sporting, there's a good place to park at a switchback at tree line at 11,480 ft. Coordinates are: N 37° 47' 05.09" W 107° 38' 27.66".The measurements we are providing have this lower switchback as the starting point. That's because, the road above here becomes even rockier and slower driving, and because some might want to make this hike a little more sporting.
We are sequencing Kendall Peak (13,338) with Kendall #2, which was added as a new 13er in 2022, so mileages and elevation gains provided will reflect that.
An additional note: From the switchback parking at 11,480 ft., if you walk east up the drainage to a more level area around 12,000 - 12,200 ft., the July and early August wildflowers here are outstanding. Also, on the upper section of jeep road above the higher switchback, you'll see lots of purple fringe and kings crown.
There is no camping in Silverton. The closest campgrounds are up South Mineral Creek or up toward Molas Pass. Campgrounds near Molas Pass include the Molas Lake Campground Park operated by the Town of Silverton (located right on Molas Lake) and the Little Molas Lake Campground, a fee site operated by the forest service. Both up the Molas Pass road (US550) and the South Mineral Creek Road ( FR585) you can find a number of primitive sites, all of which tend to completely fill up on summer weekends. Also, when you make the turn to the right out of Silverton after crossing the Animas on 14th St., to head up the Kendall Gulch road, there appear to be a few possible primitive sites before the road begins its climb, however, it may be debatable as to whether or not these are "legal" camp spots.