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Kite Lake Trailhead
Added by BillMiddlebrook

Location:  Mosquito Range
14ers Served:  Mt. Democrat, Mt. Cameron, Mt. Lincoln, Mt. Bross
Road Type:  2WD, rough dirt road 2   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Rough 2WD dirt to the TH.
Directions:  Take Colorado 9 to Alma. In the middle of town and on the west side of the road, look for a small sign for the road to Kite Lake. Turn here and drive a bit through a residential area. Continue 6 miles to Kite Lake. The last mile of this road can be a bit more rough, but a good-clearance 2WD should still be able to make it when the road is dry. There are restrooms and some camping spots at the trailhead. You must pay a small fee to park/camp at Kite Lake. If you park below (no fee), walk up the road to Kite Lake.
Winter Access:  Closed at the Paris Mill site which is about 3 miles up the road and 3 miles below Kite Lake.
14er Trailheads on Google Maps
Date Status Information Posted By  Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2013-02-03 It is now the standard winter closure; blocked by a large drift at the Paris Mill. The road up to the closure is snow packed and slippery but passable for any car with decent tires. It is an easy walk to Kite Lake, primarily bare ground with a few drifts. It is not skiable. ceejay    4      
2013-01-20 The road to Kite Lake is mostly bare and passable – except where it isn’t! A few deep snow spots require 4-wheel drive. About 4 miles up just past the private land with mining shed on the right, the snow was too deep for my truck even with chains on. A Jeep spent the morning in the snow there. See the video: They were just a bit stuck until I pulled them part way out. Then the Jeep slid almost off the road. My rope broke twice. Pulled it out eventually. Great fun for all. Only a small number of willow bushes were harmed making this video. wincoder    1      
2013-01-19 The road is mostly dry with a few snow drifts. We made it well past Paris Mill and stopped near a metal building when we couldn‘t punch through a snow drift. Traction, not clearance, was the issue and I‘m confident that if we had tire chains we would‘ve made it to the lake (driving an ‘03 Tahoe). We stopped 1 to 1.5 miles from the lake. KyleS         
2013-01-06 Attempted to drive up to Kite Lake this morning in my behemoth Yukon XL. Made it about three out of the six miles (after the turn in Alma) without a hitch, but came to a steep hill that seemed to have collected a disproportionate amount of windblown snow. I bottomed out my 4WD multiple times, and ultimately parked on the side of the road and hiked the remaining 3 miles to the trailhead. To my surprise, the road was almost totally dry all the way to Kite Lake Trailhead after the section that halted my car. If you have a Wrangler or something with a bit more clearance, I bet you can make it all the way to Kite Lake if you can manage to push about 20 yards past where my tracks end (provided you do it before the system moves in on Thursday)... Good luck! jakefox         
2012-12-23 In van, got stopped 3 miles from TH by snow on road. Judging from tire tracks in snow, a 4wd vehicle made it to within 1 mile of TH before parking in cleared out section. spiderman         
2012-12-07 No issues getting all the way to Kite Lake in my Rav4 without any FWD assist. The road is a little rutted, but it is dry all the way up despite the flurries earlier today. jake miraldi         
2012-11-18 Buckskin Gulch Road is mostly dry all the way to Kite Lake Trailhead with only a few patches of snow near the bottom. Three rutted areas but if you take your time and choose your tire placement carefully you can make it up in a low-clearance 4WD vehicle without bottoming out. susanjoypaul    2      
2012-10-21 Buckskin road is clear of snow all the way to the paid parking but veRy bUmPy with some mega Indiana Jones ruts in places. A fun ride for all the family. They are doing ‘roadwork‘ which really consists of digging a ditch for phone lines on the North side of the road. wincoder         
2012-10-19 Road up to Kite Lake is clear of any snow and still in good shape. There are a several spots near the free parking area that maybe Prius unfriendly. There is a decent pothole/bumps on the S-curve, but is easy to get over with the right line. mikey         
2012-09-15 Made it up to the hill just below where the fee parking area starts in a Cadillac (sedan). I went slow enough so as to minimize impact and only scraped twice, once each way, and was able to avoid holes and larger rocks without too much difficulty. Plenty of other 2WD cars made it up to at least the S-curve if not right below the same hill I had trouble with as well. Slow and go but go nonetheless. MrJohnnySpot    1      
2012-07-29 The road was in very good condition. I made it all the way up in my Toyota Corolla. Just have to be slow in patches where there are ruts. This road is much better than the road to Grays peak trailhead. If driving north on US-9 from Fairplay, just slow down when you reach Alma and keep looking for a Kite Lake roadsign on the left. yogi         
2012-07-27 I found the easiest way to identify the road to Kite Lake is by looking to the left for a dirt road with a 15 MPH sign. The road is about halfway through Alma if coming from Fairplay. Watch your speed, as there are signs saying the 15 MPH speed limit is strictly enforced. I found the road to be in good condition, with the exception of the last mile or so. That part of the road is in worse condition then I thought it would be as it has some ruts to navigate around. I did not have a problem in my Forester. I did not see any cars near the trailhead, but they could make that last mile if they drive carefully. The biggest challenge was having very little room to navigate around the ruts in areas where cars were parked on both sides of the road. Adventure Seeker         
2012-07-08 I‘ll take the opposing view to the previous status report on the $3 parking fee. If parking just 100 yards is all I have to do to park for free I‘m going to do it. I came to hike anyway and I spent enough on gas to get there why blow any more to save a few steps. They clearly label where the fee parking begins, and if it‘s worth it to you to park there go for it. Adding the fee there helps keep the parking lot from being too crowded for the campers and people spending the day there. On another note. Do not speed on the Kite Lake Road west of Alma. The town owns the road for over a mile and has posted a ludicrous speed limit of 15 mph on this wide smooth section of road. They are heavily enforcing it too (I can only assume to fund the police department). Fortunately another user posted this info and I was going the speed limit as I passed the speed trap. However another driver I saw was not so lucky. The road has been worked on this year so at least as of this past Sunday there were very few potholes and the road was relatively smooth. The trailhead can be reached by any car, but low clearance cars will need to drive cautiously. CO Native         
2012-06-15 One thing worth mentioning is that it‘s $3 for day-use and $12 for overnight camping. I was up there a little over a week ago and unfortunately I only had $6 with me. Just wanted to give other folks the heads-up. CorduroyCalves    1 1    
2012-05-28 Access road from Alma to Kite Lake fully open. Dry, dusty, rutted and heavily pot-holed roadway kept our max speed 10-15 mph the whole 6 miles, but 2WD cars are able to make it to Kite Lake parking area with careful attention to navigate around some larger rocks strewn in the roadway all along the way. jeffco970  1       
2012-05-26 Just small patches of snow. it was very windy most of night and day. but not too cold. hazing from NM fire. Road clear from Alma to TH. Couple of spots where some folks put on their Microspikes on Democrat (above the saddle). by 10am it was getting slushy. kaladog         
2012-05-24 Kite Lake received 2 - 3" of snow last night into this morning. dehrlich101         
2012-05-12 Everything got 4-5 ish inches of snow last night. The road was melted by 10 am today, but it was VERY muddy and slick. Our two 4WD/AWD cars were sliding down on the way back, just hoping we didn‘t run off the side. Other than the mud, there were many large and small potholes, but nothing too bad. We made it up last night even with the snow, so the road should be great (by trailhead road standards) once it dries up a little bit. abchak1         
2012-05-08 Drove up all the way to Kite Lake and parked in the paid parking area for a quick scout of the area. Bumpy ride in some places, but no snow and certainly driveable with any vehicle. Go for it! PVLoubert         
2012-04-23 Open and clear all the way to the lake. FatBaxter         
2012-04-20 Road is rough, but was able to get within about a mile of the TH in a 2WD. Clear most of the way with some deep drift areas. Saw a 4WD that got turned away about 100 yards from the lot. You could easily make it through in an M1 Abrams. Benji the Hunted         
2012-03-31 The road in from Alma was almost completely dry until the TH. The last little section from the switchback to the TH had runoff and was a bit muddy, but no loss of traction at any point in 2WD. Two cars and 2 SUV‘s in the parking lot, see photo. gkhickox  1       
2012-03-24 mountainmicah83‘s prior post still holds. Its kind of rough down low. Deepish muddy ruts that freeze at night and soften up by afternoon. 4x4 and clearance were nice but probably not necessary if you can make it past the lower muck. There was a lower clearance Subaru in the parking lot. jeremy27    1      
2012-03-18 Road plowed and mostly dry all of the way to Kite Lake due to the recent Search and Rescue activity at the Ajax mine. It‘s a little muddy right outside of alma but most vehicles should be able to make it. mountainmicah83         
2012-03-17 My hiking partner and I headed up to Kite Lake in a 2005 Subaru Outback to climb Democrat this morning and the road was plowed all the way up to the upper trailhead. We were able to go past Paris Mill all the way to within 0.5 miles of Kite Lake but we were stopped by the Park County Sheriff who informed us of a rescue mission that was taking place this morning and asked us to stay out of the area; he also said that he was closing the road at the Paris Mill junction. I don‘t know how long it will be closed but the road is drivable although quite bumpy; also, I think the road may have been plowed just for the rescue mission, so it might not be plowed in the future. DanielL    1      

Looking north past Kite Lake – Mt. Cameron is right of center (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2006-05-15)The trailhead (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2008-10-07)Parking (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2008-10-07)The restrooms (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2008-10-07)The rode is blocked just after the parking. The trail starts here. (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2008-10-07)

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