|USGS 7.5' Map:||Pearl Pass, Italian Creek|
|Adopted by:||Blue Mesa 4WD Club|
|Managed by:||Gunnison National Forest,
Gunnison Ranger District
|216 N. Colorado
Gunnison, CO 81230
|Summary:||Italian Creek runs northwest out of
Taylor Park and connects with Cement Creek south of Crested Butte. You will cross Spring Creek Pass and pass the Last Hope Mine.
|Attractions:||Mines, History, Scenery
|Natural - Closed by snow|
July - May still be snowed in early
August - Best
September - Best, Fall colors
Lilly Pond Trail, FT534 - Hike, Horseback, Mountain Bike, Motorcycle, ATV (part)
FT623 - Unknown
FT648 - Unknown
Flag Creek Trail, FT422 - Hike, Horseback, Mountain Bike, Motorcycle
Star Trail, FT411 - Hike, Horseback, Mountain Bike, Motorcycle
|Camping:||Italian Creek contains a large amount of dispersed sites and has gentler terrain on the east end. There are a few large parcels of private property at the head of Italian Creek. The west side has fewer sites.|
|Base Camp:||The eastern end of Italian Creek would be a good place to set up a base camp. It would afford access to Taylor Pass, Tincup Pass, Napoleon Pass, Reno Divide, and the other attractions in Taylor Park. Fuel would be difficult. Almont has the closest gas station.|
|Fall Colors:||Average - Italian Creek is mainly pine forest. The eastern end at Taylor Park goes through small aspen groves.|
|Italian Creek, FR759 - Cross Country Skiing, Snowshoeing, Snowmobiling
|Navigation:||To start from the east end in Almont, CO. head northeast on County Rd 742 for 34.6 miles. You will pass Taylor Park Reservoir. Turn left onto Forest Road 759, Italian Creek 4WD road.
To start from the west end in Almont, CO. head north on CO-135 N for 10.4 miles. Turn right onto County Rd 740/Cement Creek Rd and continues 9.1 miles. Turn right onto a dirt road, this is the Italian Creek 4WD road.
|History:||The east side of Italian Creek 4WD road was most likely an access road to the mines below Italian Mountain.|
|Italian Creek is a long 4WD road connecting Cemet Creek near Crested Butte with the upper part of Taylor Park. The 4WD road climbs over two ridges and drops into parts of the Flag Creek drainage and the Italian Creek drainage. It also passes through an area that had a lot of mining activity at the head of Italian Creek.
Starting from the west end of the Italian Creek 4WD road you will climb up along the east ridge of Cement Creek. The forest will be thick from the start. The road you travel is a bypass of the orignal road, which started earlier on the Cement Creek road and is now an ATV and Motorcycle trail, FT620. It is not passable by vehicles anymore. The bypass will tie into the original road after a switchback. You will continue to climb up through the forest until you get close to timberline. Here there will be more open meadows and you will come to a ridge top with a fence line across it. Before the fence line, on the right is Flag Divide 4WD road that will climb higher up along the ridge line giving you great views of the surrounding mountains. After passing through the fence line there is an upper road, Reno Divide 4WD road, which has a very challenging obstacle on a ledge road, and the lower road which is the continuation of Italian Creek 4WD road.
The road will run through sections of pine forest along the southeast slope of Italian Mountain. Their will be open sections with views into the Spring Creek drainage.
After dropping down into the upper section of the Spring Creek drainage Italian Creek 4WD road will pass by a small lake. From here you have a view of the Reno Divide road way up on the talus slope above the lake.
After passing the lake the road will climb a few rough secions and a short step as it climbs back up above timberline.
Once you get above timberline the Italian Creek and Reno Divide roads will connect again and continue toward Spring Creek Pass.
When you reach Spring Creek Pass there is a steep road to the right that ascends American Flag Mountain. Going over the pass will switch you into the Italian Creek drainage. The road down from the pass is a bit rocky.
As the road heads down you will pass through patches of forest. There will be one large mud hole to drive through and then a set of sharp switchbacks.
At the bottom of the switchbacks you will pass by the overgrown Last Hope Mine. There are a few remains here. Take only pictures.
After you leave the mine you will cross the creek twice before climbing up through another switchback. Here you are entering private property. Along the road is the restored "Oliver's Cabin".
After leaving the cabin you will head east through private property. Once you come to a set of switchbacks and pass the entrance gate on your right, you will be back on public lands. From here the road heads down the Italian Creek valley passing a lot of campsites and a few trail heads.
Once into Taylor Park you will tie into the main north/south road through Taylor Park, FR740.
|Data updated - January 31, 2015 4WD Road driven - September 1, 2014 Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2014|