North Fork of the Swan River  
USGS 7.5' Map: Keystone
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Moderate 5 FR 354 4.15 9,770 to 11,520 ft. Steep Section 2-3 hours
County: Summit
Adopted by:      
Managed by: White River National Forest
Dillon Ranger District
680 Blue River Parkway
Silverthorne, CO 80498
Summary: The North Fork Swan River 4WD road follows the North Fork of the Swan River to its headwaters.
Attractions: Scenery, History
Agency - November 23 to May 20
Best Time: June - Snow may still cover upper sections
July - Best
August - Best
September - Best
October - Early snow possible
Trail Heads
The Colorado Trail, hiking
Camping: There are quite a few dispersed campsites at the western end of the North Fork of the Swan 4WD road. The majority of the road is in a narrow gulch.
Base Camp: This would be a good area to base camp with Georgia Pass FR 355, Glacier Ridge FR 258, Boreas Pass Cnty 10, Middle Fork of the Swan FR 6.2, Garibaldi Gulch FR 356, Saints John FR 275, and the Golden Horseshoe network.
Fall Colors: Average - There are some small stands of aspen along the western end of the gulch.
Navigation: From Breckenridge, CO head north on North Main Street toward Wellington Road. After 0.6 miles, at the traffic circle, take the first exit onto Colorado Hwy 9 North / Main Street. Continue to follow Colorado Hwy 9 North for 2.9 miles. Turn right onto County Rd 6 / Tiger Road and go 5.7 miles. Turn right onto the North Fork of the Swan 4WD road.

From Frisco, CO. head south on Colorado Hwy 9 / Summit Blvd toward Granite Street. Continue to follow Colorado Hwy 9 for 5.6 miles. Turn left onto County Rd 6 / Tiger Road and go 5.7 miles. Turn right onto the North Fork of the Swan 4WD road.
History: In 1880 Daniel Patrick discovered rich or up the North Fork of the Swan River. The mine became known as the Rochester Queen and was developed in 1881 having a 75 foot shaft with a 325 foot drift into the lode. A few hundred yards below the mine on land owned by the Rexford Mining Corporation the town of Rexford was started. It had a post office in 1882, but lost it by 1883.

A mill was built at the mine and $5,000 worth of ore per month was taken from the mine in the first three months. The ore was complex to process and was shipped to the Argo smelter outside of Denver. It is unknown what caused the mine and town to be abandoned, most likely the ore pinched out and the population dropped with no other mines in the area. In 1955 it was rumored that the buildings in Rexford were in good shape. In 1972 Robert Brown described Rexford's false front general store still having its large glass windows. Today all of the mines surface buildings are gone and only collapsed cabin remains can be found along the road.

Jessen, Kenneth Ghost Towns Colorado Style, Volumn 1, 1st ed. Loveland, Colorado: J.V. Publications, 1998. Print.
The North Fork of the Swan River 4WD road leaves County Road 6 and runs along the edge of a small meadow. In this area is where the town of Rexburg was. You will head into a forested area where there are a large number of campsites. The road is easy and wide here. After you cross the North Fork the road will head east and follow the river.

The road will get a bit rougher but remains wide until you cross the river again to end up on the north side. From here the road narrows and follows the North Fork coming fairly close to the road in some places. After about two miles from the start is a right turn to Garibaldi Gulch which is a tougher 4WD road that climbs out of the valley to the south. Continue ahead to stay on the North Fork of the Swan River 4WD road.

I have not driven this section of the 4WD road yet. The road continues for another two miles before ending at the headwaters of the North Fork.
Data updated - January 11, 2015        4WD Road driven - July 21, 2014        Copyright - 2000-2015