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Road conditions to Horton Lakes TH

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Road conditions to Horton Lakes TH

Postby ogg » Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:23 pm

I own an AWD Subaru Crosstrek with all terrain tires installed, and travel with a full sized spare tire. Would it be reasonable for me to attempt to get all the way up the designated 4WD section of Buttermilk road to the the Horton Lake trailhead? I used to drive a mostly stock Jeep Wrangler, which could get me anywhere I wanted to go, so I do have an appreciation for what the Subaru cannot do, on the other hand, I also have an appreciation for poor road standards sometimes being overstated by authorities.

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Re: Road conditions to Horton Lakes TH

Postby SSSdave » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:03 pm

June 27 mid afternoon in my 2007 Subaru Forester at a whim in order to check that road condition in order to possibly access some aspen groves in the fall further up about McGee Creek, I went all the way up to 7320, (see map cross hairs):,-118.60370&z=19&t=H

In the current conditions would not drive any low wheelbase vehicle at night, only during the day when everything is very visible. The fun starts at the 6440 elevation Buttermilk/Horton junction beyond the Peabodies. There are several places with usual erosion ruts where if a tire got into a rut, a vehicle's under body would bottom out that is a difficult situation to get out of even with a jack, boards, and a shovel. To pass by such spots sometimes requires squeezing through spots where an inch or three away could be a disaster. There are not however many spots with tall rocks embedded in a hard dirt surface and the medium sized ones that could kiss the bottom of my Forester, I was able to pass over or around quietly. I did not feel confident crawling over current road's condition and that is why I turned around after climbing 800 feet over 2 miles. Had the feeling something ghastly would show around every bend with the usual nightmare scenario of extreme difficulty backing out.

In 1989 in a 1984 Legacy, one night I drove to the end of the road at 8k. However the road though strewn with lots of loose rock was in better condition back then. Such roads can be immensely different for a few years if a bulldozer has reason to smooth such out.

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Re: Road conditions to Horton Lakes TH

Postby orbitor » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:40 am

I climbed Mount Tom via the Horton Lake the last weekend in June (24-25). Getting to the trailhead requires sturdy 4WD with high-clearance. We piled 7 people in a Ford F-150 4x4 with big tires because that was our only vehicle that would make it all the way. Past the cattle guard the road gets really rough, and it's particularly horrendous in the last mile or so. I do not recommend anything less than a truck attempt getting to the end of the road.

I drive a Subaru Outback that has seen its share of rough roads, however Buttermilk Road to the Horton TH is one on which I will never take it again. I drove it to the last junction in 2012, resulting in some of worst scratches on the right side (from the narrow vegetation squeeze-thrus) and major stress when maneuvering. Do yourself and your Subaru a favor and not attempt to get to the Horton TH in it. Park somewhere past the cattle guard and walk a few extra miles if you have to.
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Re: Road conditions to Horton Lakes TH

Postby SNOOOOW » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:20 pm

I have been up that road twice and I agree with everyone else, it is a pretty rough road. The last time I went was in my buddies old 4runner but I would recommend a good 4x4 truck of some sort
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