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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    
2015-08-15 As noted, Lead King route is recommended. We were in our Jeep and found a Subaru at TH. Saw a couple full sized pickups and SUVs, almost at TH (they could make it). NOTE- There is a porcupine at TH. We and another couple had to deal with him at 1 and 2 am. :-) jonandmalia         
2015-08-08 If hiking into Geneva Lake, definitely take the high road through Lead King instead of driving through Crystal. We returned through Crystal on accident and it took nearly two hours to get back to Marble. The road was rocky and slow going and there were lots of 4 wheelers, although not a huge surprise given that it was a Saturday. The Lead King Basin approach, however, is much shorter and in great condition Tvisnick         
2015-07-25 Approached from Marble directly to Lead King Basin in a Subaru Outback. Only two tough sections exist and they come up pretty quickly after the turn off for Crystal. One is the first river crossing which is followed by a steep hill with many rocks. Be sure to keep your speed up as you do not want to have to back down this segment. The next feature is a 100 ft patch featuring lots of tall, sharp rocks. It is not as bad as it looks. I made it in the Outback unharmed. Take the left side, keeping your wheels on the high points - have your passengers exist and assist you. From there, the next 5 miles are easy. Again, a Subaru Outback has made it to Lead King Basin TH. Feel free to check out my trip report on the West Slope of Snowmass. Krullin_14ers  4  3      
2015-07-25 Made the drive from Marble to Lead King in a stock F-150 4 Door FX4. On the drive up, it was raining and I felt the need to put the truck in 4 Low to maintain control in the mud. For the most part, I was able to make all of the switchbacks without stopping. The descent down into the basin wasnt bad since we were taking it slow. It took us 1.5 hours to make it from Marble, in the rain. We drove out the same way on the next day. With the road dry, we were able to make it to Marble in 1 hour. We had to deal with several ATV‘s and others driving the road but it wasnt hard to find pulloffs along the way. Overall... the road can be done with a long wheelbase 4wd but I would recommend something smaller. michaelgrundy         
2015-06-19 Approached via Crystal - dry all the way to the high clearance 4WD TH. Met some ATV‘ers on the return that blasted through the snowbank on the regular approach to Lead King, said it should melt in a few days. They needed a winch to get over the section. Not recommended without serious skills and gear till melted further. bergsteigen         
2015-06-08 Forest Road 315 (Lost Trail Road on Google Maps) to Lead King Basin is clear for 3.8 miles past the center of Marble. At that point, there is an impassible snowbank (see picture). Going this direction will add about 9.6 miles round trip to your Snowmass climb. There are no vehicle tracks in the snowbanks coming from this direction. However, there are vehicle tracks in snowbanks farther down as the road approaches the trailhead for Snowmass‘ West Slopes. Based on this, I believe that the trailhead can be accessed by a capable 4x4 via the road from Crystal. That being said, I do not recommend climbing Snowmass right now due to avalanche danger. See my peak conditions report for details. Lindyhapa  1       
2015-01-17 The road is driveable to the far end of Crystal...just past Beaver Lake. The elevation is 8000‘. You might be able to drive to the low road/high road intersection with chains, but I wouldn‘t suggest it. The road is steep and there aren‘t many places to pull off the road...for parking or turning around. Dad Mike  1       
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         

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

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