OverviewThe Fourth of July Trailhead is a popular access point to the east side of the southern Indian Peaks Wilderness. Accessible from this point are South and North Arapaho Peaks, Mount Neva, Jasper Peak, Arapaho Pass, Lake Dorothy, Diamond Lake and a number of smaller, unnamed lakes and peaks.
The trailhead is accessed by five miles of moderate dirt road. While the road is narrow and steep in places, a carefully driven passenger car should have no trouble making it all the way to the parking area. But beware, legend has it that the area acquired its name because the road is impassible due to mud before July 4th. In reality, it's named for the Fourth of July Mine located on a scenic bench about two miles up the trail. This doesn't mean that the legend is without merit!
Getting ThereStarting from Nederland, head south on CO119 (the Peak to Peak highway) for about a quarter mile. Immediately before a sharp, left-hand turn, bear right and follow the signs for Eldora Ski Resort. After a mile or two, the road forks again with one branch heading left toward the ski area. Continue straight until you arrive in the small village of Eldora. Heed the stop sign and the speed limit.
Continue northwest as the road turns to dirt. After one mile, pass a large sign and a turn-off on the left for the popular Hessie Trailhead. This TH is only accessible by high-clearance vehicles and particularly daring vehicles, so there are usually a large number of cars parked along the side of the road. Keep right and continue another four miles to the end of the road.
The parking areas will accomodate perhaps two dozen cars. This is a popular area in the summer and fall. Get there early to ensure yourself a parking spot.
In the winter, the road is closed at the western side of Eldora (the town) and getting to Fourth of July becomes a major expedition.