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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    
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         
2008-08-19 The road is decent I made it the whole way with my stock Hyandai Santa Fe, Realize that it takes about 1.5 hrs to drive it carefully  jesse         
2008-08-04 Clear all the way to the trail head. Stock 4wd can make it with some care. BobbyPeru         
2008-07-15 Per others trip reports, the lower road, through Crystal, is clear through to the Geneva Lake trailhead. The upper road still has snow slide debris before switchbacks that was impassable by vehicle on July 13th. Britette         
2008-06-30 Upper Road - Landslides have been fixed. North Lost Creek is kinda rowdy and rough - probably passable in burly 4WD. however snow and avalanche debris blocks road shortly after turn off the Sheep Mountain, before switchbacks. Britette         
2008-06-16 Last post refered to lower road. Britette         
2008-06-16 Clear until shortly after the turn off to Schofield Pass, before entering into basin. Significant snow in the trees - several feet deep and for about half mile. Britette         
2008-06-11 June 7 I went almost as far as the mill on the lower road and it was clear all the way. I was not able to substantiate a rumor of a boulder blocking the road or go any further (I was running). Britette         
2008-06-03 Upper road is impassable by vehicles due to relocation of road down slope aka landslide just before North Lost Creek Trailhead. Britette         
2008-05-22 both upper and lower roads to lead king basin closed due to snow and downed trees just past where they split, 2 miles from downtown marble tmahon         
2007-07-16 The town of Marble is now paved all the way to Beaver Creek. No problems getting to the trailhead (for Snowmass - west slope) in a stock Xterra. There was one rocky section to contend with, but it wasn't bad. The creek was easy to cross and less than a foot deep (the crossing was maintained, from the looks of it). Once you ascend from the valley, the road switchbacks a lot, and it is rutted out in some areas, but the ruts are easy to navigate. Some of the undulations (bulldozed to control erosion, I presume) may high center trucks with long wheel bases and not-so-great clearance. Only real tricky part of the road: Many sections are very narrow and there aren't too many places to pull off and/or pass oncoming vehicles. Backing up on these steep shelf roads isn't for the wary, but at least the road isn't too rocky up there. As you drive, try to remember the most recent pull off, and try to memorize the terrain in case you have to drive it in reverse. I had to back up more than 50 yards on multiple occasions. aubrey         
2007-06-21 loop is open---still have two creek crossing due to bridge work giarcd         
2007-06-11 got a report from Lead King Paul today, while in Marble,--ATVs are tracking the L.K. side figures to open soon---stay tuned---Crystal side looks better giarcd         
2007-05-28 open to last drainage before Sheep Mtn.then 3'of snow---lower Crystal City side 1st.bridge out must cross stream--open to CC then real ruff to second bridge out (cross stream) switchbacks snow covered - wait a bit for TH access!(unless you walk) giarcd         
2006-09-06 I was able to make this TH in a 1985 Subaru Wagon GL (a new one wouldn't make it) in less than an hour from Marble. Follow Bills directions and you'll be fine. tommy dorr         
2006-08-25 DO NOT USE THE ROAD FROM CRYSTAL. I took a stock 97 Grand Cherokee up FR 315 (left at the fork just outside of Marble where you can either head toward Crystal or Lead King) and had no problems. The road is narrow in places and rough in others, but certainly passable for most stock 4x4s with short to medium wheel base. This road becomes more difficult with longer vehicles, but it is still passable - use your judgment. The tight switchbacks would be the only problem. Going down, I took the road into Crystal, which was in HORIBLE SHAPE. At one point, my partner and I, who are both very experienced back country drivers, spent 90 minutes dislodging our high-centered Jeep. Without VERY high clearance and plenty of experience, this road should be out of the question. Neil         
2005-10-13 Road under 6-8 inches of snow at about 3.5 miles in. I put chains on my ATV tires and made it all the way in to Lead King Basin. s_tuning         
2005-09-06 As of Labor Day 2005, FR315 to Lead King Basin is in very good shape for 4WD. No problem at all with the road in a Dodge Dakota. I was tempted to drive through Crystal because it is a shorter distance to Lead King but luckily, good sense prevailed. The 1.5 mile section between Crystal and Lead King is brutal: it's possible to come down it but getting up is another matter. Saw one new Ford 250 extended cab at the TH with its bumper and other body parts riding in the cab after coming up that way. Arctic Blonde         
2005-06-19 We tried the high road to Leadking and were shutdown 2 miles past the fork to Crystal (2 of 5 miles). Talking to some 4 wheelers, road is open to Crystal. We didn't try via Crystal. cjw         
2005-06-12 We attempted to get up here on 6/10 and the road was very wet and muddy and we only made it 2 miles past Marble, though we only had a 2WD. Local hotel owners say a 20-foot avalanche across the road blocks access to Crystal as of some time last week. I could not verify this myself, though as we did not make it up that far. AzScott         

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

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