The Stage 3 fire and access restrictions to the San Juan National Forest have been rolled back to a Stage 2 condition which means access to the forest is once more open to the public. However, fire conditions still remain high and we are currently in the middle of a strong heat wave. Consult current regulations with the San Juan NF before planning any trips. Fines for violations are significant.
From the town of Ridgway, drive west on SH62 to the last street on the left you can turn onto (S. Amelia St.). Drive about 3 blocks south and turn right onto CR5. Drive on a graded dirt road about 5.3 more miles up onto Miller Mesa, Elk Meadows and an intersection. There's a large parking area. These are the coordinates provided above. Passenger cars should park here. Higher clearance vehicles may continue to what we'll call the "upper trailhead."
Continue walking or driving SSE on FR852. The road will round a low hill, cut back to the SW to an overlook of the Beaver Creek drainage, then cut back to the east and then SE. It will follow an old ditch and then drop south to a crossing of a fork of Coal Creek, where it switchbacks and rounds a low ridge. This is where it crosses onto Forest Service land at a gate. From the lower trailhead to the Forest Service boundary, it's 3.7 miles. Continue following the road as it turns south again another.4 mile to a place where it turns sharply east. Right here, there's some good camping. If you continue east at a fork here, the road leads up to the Burn Hut and our route for Corbett Ridge. Right where the road makes the turn to the east, there's a trail that heads off to the west up an embankment. This is the trail you want if climbing Whitehouse and Ridgway. If marked, it's called the "Dallas Trail" and on the Trails Illustrated map #141, its number is 200. Elevation here is 9,430 ft. Approximate coordinates are: N 38° 03' 26.03" W 107° 45' 08.46". These have not been field tested, so don't take them too literally. It's hard to find this spot on Google Earth, so prefer the driving/hiking directions over the coordinates if confused or in doubt. Last time we were here, the trail sign was knocked over and difficult to spot.
There are a few primitive spots along the 3.7 mile drive in on FR852 ( but you may be on private land) and at the upper trailhead location. Be careful regarding private property. You should be on National Forest land at the upper trailhead.