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Lead King Basin Trailhead
Added by BillMiddlebrook

Location:  Elk Mountains
14ers Served:  Snowmass Mountain
Road Type:  Moderate 4WD, long wheel base vehicles not recommended. Good clearance required. 4   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
4WD dirt road. Good clearance is also recommended.
Directions:  From Carbondale, drive 21.5 miles south on CO 133. Turn left on Gunnison County Road 3 toward the town of Marble (this road may be labeled as FR 314 on some maps). Measure the mileage from here:
- Drive 5.5 miles to the center of Marble and continue through the town.
- Pass a church at 5.8 mi. and Beaver Lake at 6.2 mi.
- At 7.0 miles, the road becomes rough.
- At 7.7 miles, there is a junction. Turn left on FR 315 for Lead King Basin.
- The remaining 6 miles is rough and narrow. 4wd vehicles only.
- At 9.7 miles, there is another junction. Stay left on FR 315.
- After a long drive with many switchbacks, reach the trailhead at 13.8 miles. It's on a corner, near a meadow, just after you cross a small stream.
- The trail starts just below the small parking area. A short distance up the trail there is a set of signs.
Winter Access:  Closed near the town of Marble.
14er Trailheads on Google Maps
Date Status Information Posted By  Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2014-08-24 Recent rains have made the road slippery over the pass at 10,800. Other than that, road is still in reasonably good shape in and out of Marble both directions (back through Crystal). 4X4 lifted vehicles would be recommended. I‘ll post pictures soon. LIV         
2013-09-30 On 9/30 it was barely RAV4-able. There was mud and several puddles, but no snow. At the sign for Crystal/Schofield Pass (rt) and Lead King Basin (lft) I went left. That road will challenge cars with longer wheel bases. It wasn‘t too bad except for one exposed narrow switchback that was muddy - I decided I would not return that way for fear of sliding off the road. Returned the other way: while supposedly shorter, it certainly didn‘t take any less time and there are some rocks worthy of my sister‘s 4" lifted jeep with 33s. Got down okay, but scraped 4 times. Marmot72         
2012-06-09 Lead King Basin is open all the way through as is access to the Geneva Lake TH. tmathews         
2012-05-20 FR 314 (through Crystal) passable all the way to Lead King Basin with good clearance 4X4. Tried returning on FR 315, but was turned back by a large snow drift about 2 miles from the TH. Bmannlein         
2011-09-05 Make sure you have a good 4X4. The road is rough in several places and you will need a good set of tires to get you over several rocky places. This road would be tough if it was wet. I had a Land Rover with Standard tires. gpeoples         
2011-08-27 Trail was nice and clear. I drove up in my 2007 dodge durango with no problems with not having to leave all wheel drive for 4wheel drive. Make sure when you head up to leadking basin from the turn off marble to crystal lake it is 1.9 miles to the turn to lead king basin. justify429         
2011-07-24 As of this weekend, capable 4wd vehicles (tires, clearance, ect) were making the upper road. They reported some muddy/wet areas and sketchy sections, but numerous vehicles made it. The lower road is rough, but not muddy. Moderately high clearance recommended. Monster5    3      
2011-07-16 Currently impassable except by ATV. Mud resulting from melting snow is absolutely treacherous. Was finally stopped by a big tree across the road 5+ miles from Marble. It had been cut, but only wide enough for an ATV and it was too large to move. The trip back down was scary. My 4runner was completely sideways twice; the slightest angle made it slide on the mud. Got stuck once for 10 minutes in a mud pit and then had to make a rock ramp to get back across the creek (creek is cutting bank away so there‘s a big step). SarahT    3      
2011-07-15 The road to Lead King Basin out of Marble is blocked by a snow drift at approx 8,500 ft. I believe the odometer said 3.9 miles from the center of Marble. The snow drift is just around the corner after the road makes a right-hand switchback. BE CAREFUL AND STOP WELL BEFORE THE SNOW - There is very slick mud on the narrow ribbon of road!! I stopped on the road just feet from the snow drift and my SUV promptly slid off the side of the road from a dead stop. My SUV was at a nasty 45-degree angle and sitting in thick wet mud. It took me and my 2 passengers 1.5 hours of engineering with logs and rocks to eventually clear a path that cut through the forest and over to a lower point of the road below that switchback. If you get stuck in that mud by the snow drift, there is pretty much no option but to take that shortcut down through the steep muddy nastiness to meet up with the lower section of the road again. markjfun    1      
2011-06-18 4WD road to Crystal TH is snowfree and some patches of snow on the way up to Paul the Mountain Man‘s home. No snow at the bridge but water is running VERY high. We saw 4WD tracks that had made it through the snowdrifts - would guess it will be completely snow free to 9700‘ in a week or two. rleclair         
2011-06-05 Crystal TH is clear of snow and accessible. Snow still covering the road once you get about 0.5 miles north of the Crystal TH. Paul, the mountain man that lives in Lead King Basin, reported there‘s still 31" sitting on the bridge at 9,700‘. doggler         
2010-08-12 Please remember: Vehicle for whom it is most convenient to pull to the side should do so; if no pullout is obvious, vehicle traveling downhill should yield to vehicle traveling uphill. The rule is NOT "I am more important so I‘ll just keep driving towards you until you back down." Thanks. TravelingMatt    1    
2010-07-23 Drove in on upper road. No evidence of snow. Took 45min from Marble, probably since we didn't encounter any oncoming traffic. Hit skid plate once on a rock at the far side of a stream crossing. Drove out on lower road since we picked up 2 hikers and I didn't think the stock Trooper had enough power to get that load up the switchbacks. Only had an one issue with an oncoming fullsize Tundra that took some time to jocky around. I didn't think there were any difficult obstacles to worry about (other than oncoming traffic). Might scrape some branches on your side. Neither road is bad as far as 4wd roads go. If you don't mind Baldwin Gulch rd, this one is easier. Yikes         
2010-07-10 The lower road is free and clear. I went the lower road based on the lack of recent information on this site. Many people we talked to had gone via the upper road and said the avy was gone, but had left some debris. Nothing serious, but there is some debris on the upper road. Both roads are open though. cbauer10         
2010-06-27 FR315 (Lead King Basin) is still blocked by a big snow slide that started on Arkansas Mtn and ran back up the other side of the hill (towards Sheep Mtn). It must still be at least 4 feet deep. Not crossable in my stock Jeep by midday (too soft). We saw evidence of another Jeep making it across recently (and heard that it later rolled? higher on the road)? ATVs were crossing it all day long. The creek crossing was pretty easy, so it's probably worth driving across and covering about a mile before getting stopped by the snow. GeorgeB         
2010-06-19 The upper road was still closed when we arrived, although we talked with one Jeep that ran about 200‘ of snow and made it. They didn‘t advise it yet, and went down the lower road. The lower road is somewhat rough and long to Crystal, a bit of water, but nothing of great concern. Above Crystal, there are a few tight spots, one with a large rock on the downhill side and solid rock on the uphill that required a tight squeeze and a turn. This was just out of Crystal. We used stock Forerunner, Jeep Commander, and Ford Escape. emcee smith         
2010-05-14 heard from local that there is tree down crossing road Lost Trail Creek as of last weekend giarcd         
2009-11-11 The road is a mix of mud and dry segments from Marble to the creek crossing. There is a small section that has severly eroded and if wet, could pose a big problem for large vehicles. Past the creek crossing, the road becomes completely snow-covered and icy. The areas exposed to the sun are expectingly dry and muddy. On the downhill past 11,000ft into Lead King Basin, the road is predominantly dry. Jeeps or trucks with aggressive tread or ATV‘s can still make it to the TH. Kiefer         
2009-09-13 Of course I meant r.h.s. Finally this TH car park is around .25 miles from the ‘TH‘ on the l.h.s as you descend into the valley. One more stream crossing but if you have got this far it is a doddle and far more comfortable and convenient if you arrive late. tauma         
2009-09-13 The photo is a picture of the Lead King Car Park TH looking back toward the car park entrance and the TH on the l.h.s. Also on the l.h.s is a copse of trees perfect for a camp site if you arrive late. And the road may mean you do! tauma         
2009-07-06 It‘s open all the way round. Daniels Hill has enjoyed some nice grading this spring. Very smooth. Britette         
2009-06-26 Per Crystal River Jeeps the trailhead can be accessed via the road through Crystal. The upper road is still closed due to snow however. Britette         
2009-05-31 Update: 5/30/09 At mile 9 of Lead King the road is snowed in. This is the TH for the western ascent of Snowmass Mt.(not standard) Also a small creek to cross. See pics in trip report. Cheers! San Juan Slayer         
2009-05-17 Drove up to Lost Trail Creek on Lead King side.Still snow on Arkansas Mountain.Had Lead King Paul with me and concenses is it is still to early.Mtn.bikers are reaching Crystal City along river route yet snow reported beyond CC---road open to Lizard Lake giarcd         
2008-10-23 The direct route to Lead King Basin from Marble was very icy and impassible for most 4WD vehicles as of 10-18-08. Areas of icyness left little room for forgiveness. Route to Lead King Basin via Crystal was in good shape, very rough and narrow road, 1.5 hours from Marble. Pappy         

Lead King Basin Car Park TH (Added by: tauma on 2009-09-13)

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