Use this trailhead to access the following summits from the west side of Independence Pass: Grizzly, Garfield, UN 13,460, UN 13,090, both Truro summits, UN 13,631, and Petroleum Peak, all of which are located south of Grizzly Reservoir. The trailhead for Tabor Peak can be accessed from the same 4WD road up Lincoln Creek before reaching the reservoir. Same for the New York Creek/Peak TH. The coordinates provided above are for the Portal Campground located by Grizzly Reservoir. This location will serve as the trailhead.
From the Town of Aspen, drive east up state highway 82 toward Independence Pass. Two miles past the turnoff for the Weller CG, or one mile past the Grottos TH, turn south (right) and drive down toward the Lincoln Gulch Campground. There is an information kiosk right off the highway and a mileage sign for locations along the Grizzly Reservoir/Lincoln Gulch road. Coordinates for this turnoff are: N 39° 07' 10.50" W 106° 41' 18.27". The road immediately crosses the Roaring Fork River. If in a passenger car, you'll need to park either at the kiosk or down at the campground. If you have a 4WD or a better clearance type vehicle, then the road to Grizzly Res. turns off to the left shortly before reaching the campground. The road is rated "4WD." There is a sign indicating the campground is straight ahead with a Forest Service gate. The road to Grizzly "appears" to be in better condition than the one to the campground, but the short road down to the campground is still passenger vehicle passable.
If coming from the Front Range, drive to either Leadville or Buena Vista and turn onto SH 82 from US 24 at Twin Lakes. Drive up and over Independence Pass. On the west side of the pass, drive on past the Lostman CG, and in just under 4 miles past that campground will be the turnoff for the Lincoln Gulch CG. on the left. 4WD or vehicles with better ground clearance may then continue ESE for Grizzly Reservoir as described above. This road is identified as CR23 or FS107.
Along the first 3 miles up to the New York TH, there are 22, designated, primitive campsites with bear-proof lockers for food storage. The road tends to be slow going with potholes, etc., but no real major obstacles. At times, you'll be driving over slabs of rock, but clearance is usually not an issue. We drove the first 3 miles of this road in 2019. While there was one area of extensive avalanche damage and another smaller area, both at about 2 miles in, both had been cleared. It may take over a half hour to drive the 6 plus miles back to the reservoir. There is a small campground there with toilet facilities called the "Portal" campground; first-come, first served.
The trailhead for New York Creek/Peak on the mileage sign mentioned above is 3.3. We measured 3.1. If using that trailhead, the turnoff will be on the right and if you drive a short distance down through some overhanging willows, there is a large parking area with lots of cobbled rock. There is no bridge to assist crossing the creek here. Coordinates are: N 39° 05' 39.23" W 106° 39' 35.51". Elevation 10,100 ft.
The trailhead for Tabor Creek is another 1.8 mile past the signed trailhead for New York Creek/Peak. Coordinates are: N 39° 05' 33.11 W 106° 38' 39.81". Elevation 10,290 ft. There is no bridge to assist crossing the creek.
Just past the Portal campground, in prior years, we have found a locked gate across the road as it continues south up the valley. Because there are some private holdings farther up valley, we've seen some persons with a key to that gate. We've seen the Forest Service keep that gate closed past the 4th of July weekend, depending on snow melt conditions. The gate may also be closed again in early fall. If the gate is open and you have good 4WD clearance, you may continue to drive up valley as far as "Ruby," and the Ruby Mine, right around, 11,400 ft. If the gate is closed, be prepared to walk up to an extra 4 miles, or do as we did one time , and bring mountain bikes and ride up the road as far as you need to go. The bikes won't seem much faster than walking when going uphill, but will speed your return to the campground considerably.
Alternate Trailhead for Petroleum Pk: See the trailhead description for Tellurium Creek north of Taylor Park Res.
There are two designated Forest Service campgrounds: The Lincoln Gulch CG and the Portal CG at Grizzly Reservoir. In addition, for the first 3 miles as you drive SE to Grizzly Res., there are numerous (22?) "designated" primitive spots for camping. These have been marked by the Forest Service. On summer weekends, both campgrounds and all the designated primitive spots can be fully occupied. Seems to be a very popular area. If the road is open south of the Portal CG, there may be some other, usable primitive sites. Both the Portal and Lincoln Gulch CG have vault toilets, but neither has water. Both have only about 6 sites. The Lincoln CG, you could get an RV or trailer down into, but not the Portal.
This route description begins from the Portal Campground by Grizzly Reservoir. Begin driving in 4WD, hiking or riding a mountain bike south up the road for 2.5 miles to where Galena Creek intersects Lincoln Creek. You'll see a large avalanche swath here that descends off the east flank of Truro Peak. Access up this road may be dependent on whether or not the gate south of the campground is locked. Wade across Lincoln Creek and then where convenient, cross to the north side of Galena Creek as well. Follow the avalanche swath up, gaining 800 feet in elevation to the upper valley until you're out of the trees and it's mostly willows. The avalanche swath will be mostly grass, low willows and low conifers scattered about. When you're below the saddle that connects the two Truro summits, head up to the saddle over tundra & grass that steepens and gives way to smaller talus. There will be a very nice view of Truro Lake at the saddle.
Once at the saddle, head east and follow the ridge toward the summit. The first 150 - 200 feet of elevation gain will come easily on mostly tundra with some rock rubble. All too soon however, the tundra ends and the rocks grow larger. Stay on the north side of the ridge and complete the ascent clambering over larger rubble, rocks and boulders. This route goes at mostly Class 2, but depending on your exact path, you will likely find some Class 2+ and/or a short Class 3 scramble at times. Have some fun with it. It will be over all too soon as you reach the rocky summit. To our surprise, it only took us 17 minutes to ascend the 500 feet from the saddle to the summit. We were younger then. Enjoy the commanding view up the head of Lincoln Creek and take the opportunity to survey routes for other peaks in the area if you haven't already climbed them. Descend as you came, back to the saddle where you can then decide on what route you may want to follow to West Truro.
From the saddle between the two Truro summits, there will be three basic choices. 1. Ascend the east ridge of West Truro directly 2. Descend back toward Galena Creek, contour west well below any obstacles on West Truro and then ascend its west ridge to the summit, or 3. Follow our suggested route which is a contouring ascent across the south face of West Truro. Sarah T (Thirteener Girl) reports that her party attempted the ascent directly up the east ridge only to be thwarted by two difficult notches and had to abandon the ridge and that the traverse took them an hour and a half overall. Our route went as follows:
Drop south from the saddle on mostly tundra for 150 -200 vertical feet and watch for a tundra bench that cuts across the south face of W. Truro. The bench will first go west horizontally, and then move upward toward a rock tower. From the tower, continue west cutting across several gullies and intervening ribs where you'll encounter some loose scree & talus. We kept cutting across & angling up some until we came to a very steep, small, shallow gully that was mostly tundra with embedded rock. Figuring we were now at least directly below the summit if not west of it some, we headed up the gully. Though very steep, it was stable with larger rocks embedded in the tundra that kept things secure and offered hand and foot holds. Ascending was like 3rd class scrambling and felt a little exposed at times. Helmets were useful. This was a great place for some dramatic, high angle camera shots. We call then "butt shots."
The gully brought us out to a somewhat rubbly slope with some tundra and to the right was a vertical rock wall that lay below the summit. We hiked on over to the west ridge a short stroll away and finished by turning east to gain the summit over rocks, rubble and boulders. The summit offers a dramatic view looking back over to Truro Peak. You can see a little more clearly the difficulties that the east ridge would pose. To descend, simply follow the west ridge down to the next saddle, then drop back into the headwaters of Galena Creek and hike back east over mostly tundra to intersect your approach from earlier in the day. There are a fair amount of willows. They tend to be low and if you stay well above the creek on the north side, you can avoid any man-eating types.