Please Note: During the summer of 2015, a landslide closed the road that leads to the Lily Lake Trailhead, and surrounding private property made it illegal to attempt to find another way around that landslide. Reports from summer of 2016 indicated that a temporary road was built around the landslide and vehicle access to the trailhead had resumed. It should not be assumed however, that this access will remain open. Further damage could result in closure again. It would be best to contact the Forest Service regarding road condition before planning a trip into here. Call 719-269-8500 for the Pueblo/San Carlos ranger district for more information. We re-visited this area and trailhead in summer 2019 and found no problems and again in 2022.
From I-25, take exit #52 west and turn onto SH69 that goes through Gardner to Westcliffe. Drive to Gardner and then on the west side of the small town, the road makes a turn north. About a half mile west out of town, after the highway has made that turn north, take a left turn onto CR550, aka: The Mosca Pass Road. (If coming from Westcliffe, you will reach this intersection before arriving in Gardner.) Shortly after making this turn, a Forest Service sign indicates the Upper Huerfano TH to be 21.5 miles. In 7 miles, the road turns to graded gravel near "Red Wing." In another 4.8 miles stay left onto FS580 and enter a State Wildlife area. There appears to be not only picnic locations and vault toilets within the wildlife area, but also camping allowed, however fees may apply. In 3.4 more miles, the road enters an area of private property with a sign indicating Forest Access. Another sign here indicates the Upper Huerfano TH to be another 5.3 miles. In .5 mile after entering the private property, stay left at the entrance to the Singing River Ranch. Remaining distances are measured from this ranch entrance. The road narrows but remains passable for 2WD. In another .8 mile, pass the entrance to the Aspen River Ranch. The road narrows more and becomes more rough. At 1.4 mile, there's a fence line and cattle guard in an open meadow area where some passenger cars have been observed parking. From the Aspen River ranch, it's 4.2 more miles to signs for the Huerfano and Zapata Trails, aka the Raspberry Trail, or 20.7/8 miles in from the turnoff for CR550 from HWY 69 west of Gardner. (In 2022, the avalanche damage was not all that evident any longer before reaching this trailhead.) For the Lily Lake TH, continue about 2 more miles for the upper valley summits. Coordinates for the Zapata/Raspberry TH for California Peak and UN 13,557 are: N 37° 38' 15.24" W 105° 28' 17.64". In these last couple miles to the Lily Lake TH, there are at-large camping opportunities and some very limited camping room at the trailhead as well. Things are not very level at the trailhead. We advise checking out this trailhead on www.14ers.com for more current information and opinions from other sources as to whether or not 2WD can make it to the TH.
Be advised that hiking to Mt. Lindsey requires one creek crossing with no bridge or log assist. Be prepared to wade and aware of the dangers of doing so in run-off season. In 2019, we hiked the entire trail to Mt. Lindsey and used the NW Ridge route. We found the trail to be steep but easy to follow all the way up to the NW ridge. We think that beginning in 2020/21, the owners of property on Mt. Lindsay have closed access for that14er along the upper sections. Consult 14ers.com for more recent updates regarding current access issues.
At-large campsites on National Forest land are available the last couple miles to the trailhead. Make sure you are not attempting to camp on any of the private property. There are a couple of fairly nice spots just beyond the Huerfano-Zapata TH. See coordinates below.