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Mt. Princeton Road Trailhead
Added by BillMiddlebrook

Location:  Sawatch Range
14ers Served:  Mt. Princeton
Road Type:  Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD dirt to the lower TH. 4WD access to 12,000'.
Directions:  From Buena Vista: From the center of town, drive west on the County Road (CR) 306 for 0.7 miles. Turn left on CR 321 and continue south for 7.2 miles. Turn right onto CR 322 at a large sign. From South of Buena Vista: Over 5 miles south of the U.S. 285 / 24 junction, turn west on County Road 162 in the town of Nathrop. Drive over 4 miles to a junction. Turn right on CR 321. After 1.2 miles, turn left on CR 322.

On CR 322, drive 0.8 miles to a fork in the road. Bear right into the Mt. Princeton trailhead. This trailhead is at 8,900' and there is a large parking area. If you have a good clearance 4WD, you can continue up the narrow 322 (Mt. Princeton) road. Just after the lower parking area, there is a fork in the road - stay right on the main road. Drive 3 miles to the radio towers at 10,800'. There is parking here for a couple of vehicles or turn left and continue on the 322A road. Between 3.2 and 3.4 miles up the Princeton road, there are some small camping spots near 11,000' - with some parking. The road gets worse after the camping spots and there is very limited parking above this point.
Winter Access:  Closed at the lower TH.
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Date Status Information Posted By  Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2014-12-13 Was able to easily drive up to the radio towers. There is one icy spot that can be a bit tricky in the afternoon once it starts melting. Recommend you bring snow chains just encase. A Subaru had also made it up to the radio towers as well. Depending on how much snow falls tonight, the road conditions could drastically change. Right now there are only a few spots with snow on them. Other than that it is clear all the way to the radio towers. Past that you can get to the high parking lot but no further. dogballs         
2014-12-08 Right before the last switchback before the radio towers the trail is quite icy. The edge is fairly free of ice here and it can be skirted with caution. I have an Outback with only about 50% tread on the tires and parked at lower lot. The turn right by Colorado Trail gave me trouble with ice and a dip and I didn‘t want to risk it so I turned around here but with higher clearance it wouldn‘t have been a problem. If you can make it past the ice you can make it to the second campsite above the radio towers but that‘s where the snow covers the trail steadily. tomcat32         
2014-12-06 Made it 3.2 miles up to 11,000‘ with my Jeep on Mt. Princeton Rd. until snow patches became too thick. Road has several icy patches, and we almost had some trouble on our way down. The picture shows the iciest stretch. jmark  1       
2014-11-23 Road turns into a 500‘ long ice chute around 10400‘. Up to that point, no serious problems. If you somehow managed to get past that, you could definitely get to the towers. codydonahue         
2014-11-16 Drove to about 11200‘. Couldn‘t really go any further. Stock 4wd Jimmy. This is after all the snow from the night before. codydonahue         
2014-10-29 Road still clear and dry to the camping areas past the radio towers at approximately 11,000 feet. flyingmagpie         
2014-10-25 Snow free to radio towers, and to steps. Fairly easy drive (Jeep Wrangler). RockCaCO3         
2014-09-15 Drove my 06 subaru outback to the radio towers, never even scraped the bottom. I probably could have made it to the parking area past the switchbacks, a jeep or even a newer/bigger outback would have no problems. JeremiahJohnson         
2014-07-30 Drove rented Jeep Cherokee up to the radio towers. NO PROBLEM!!! Solo         
2014-07-10 I have a stock Jeep Liberty. The drive up to the radio towers is not too bad, I had my 4x4 on. However, use caution driving beyond this point. There is one rock between the cut-off of the trail and the upper parking area that is a doozy. It is fairly unavoidable, I hit it on the way down and did some extensive damage to my car. MCinCB         
2014-07-01 Made it to the camping parking area past the radio towers in my 2011 Honda CRV 4WD. Slightly lower clearance than Subaru vehicles but I was able to do it without damaging my car. Liquid Shadow         
2014-06-28 Made it up to the small parking area past the radio towers in my Outback. Traction control kicked in a few times, but it was do-able. nomsp         
2014-06-24 I camped at one of the campsites 3.4mi up the road just past the Towers. I was in a 4wd Toyo Sequoia. A 2wd SUV could probably make it. Going up in a Subaru would make me nervous. Lots of whoopdees and quite narrow. I didn‘t drive up that far, but it looked like a 4wd could make it all the way to the YL Chateau past the TH. addrock528         
2014-06-19 No trouble getting up past the radio towers in a tacoma 4 door. Some large dips that seem like they would be problematic for lower clearance cars. Very few places to turn around/let others pass. Theres a snowdrift after the last switch back that blocks the road (about a mile past the towers), but there aren‘t really any parking spots after this anyway SolarAlex         
2014-06-02 Clear to a mile past radio towers Trotter         
2014-05-18 Clear to the radio towers and slightly beyond. bergsteigen         
2014-05-03 Can drive to 10,400 (about 1/2 mile short of the radio towers). Yikes         
2014-04-21 Still almost the same as Vincopotomus reported below, deep snow drifts are .4 miles from the lower parking/TH. I walked past 3 snow drifts and saw only bulldozer type tracks on the Mt Princeton Rd. Eagle Eye         
2014-03-24 Dry to 2WD TH, then impassible snow about a 1/4 mile up the road. Vincopotamus         
2013-11-03 Still summer-like here, too. Someone may have moved a huge tree stump partially in the road (mentioned below) over a little. It does not interfere but looks like it has been dragged recently. I drove a xterra 4wd past the radio towers and to the end of the road. Eagle Eye         
2013-10-13 Drove 3.4 miles up Mt. Princeton Rd on 10/13 to park a little past radio towers. Snow from 10/10 had melted, but more snow came in the following day on 10/14. Added pictures of the stump on my way down and looking down driver‘s side door while driving past. Looks like the stump has claimed some vehicle damage. No problems making it past the stump in 2009 Touareg and a full size truck drove by the stump later that day, all the way to the end of the road. Without snow, ice, or rain, that road isn‘t too bad at all. fahixson  2       
2013-10-01 There‘s a stump on the road at about 10,000 on the way to the radio towers. I stepped off 8 steps from the stump to the edge where you would need to put your tire. dmdoug  1  1      
2013-09-05 We drove a KIA Sorento all the way to the 11,800ft. parking area in a raining/hail storm from hell. This about 400yrds. past where the trail leaves the road for the climb up to Mt. Princeton. The GPS said 12,000ft. But anyway it‘s the farthest you can drive a vehicle on a road up there. It is a long, slow 6.5 miles of one way, very narrow and, very few places to pass on road. So proceed carefully. Any higher clearence vehicle could make it to the top. The lower half up to the radio towers is the best section of mostly packed dirt. Above that is very rocky and tight. There is only room enough for a few vehicles to park easily, but the view from the upper parking area is UNREAL... bking14ers         
2013-08-29 Drove an Xterra to 11,000‘ with no issues- road was wavy, but otherwise great. Could have driven further, but parking is very limited (one person parked so far out on the edge, a good thunderstorm could have sent the vehicle for a 2,000‘ roll!). EKassan         
2013-08-05 We took my 2005 AWD Subaru Forester up to the radio towers. We actually drove up in the dark, and so I couldn‘t see exactly what I was getting myself into (both a good and a bad thing, I think). We only stopped at the radio towers because my car was emitting a rather strange smell after about 2.5 hours of straight driving from Aspen and we thought it would be best to stop where we knew we could park without a problem. There were a couple of times when I wished I had a little bit more clearance just to be certain I wasn‘t damaging anything, but overall I felt ok about driving the road. Just go slowly, and around some of the bigger potholes it‘s easier if you actually drive up on the side of the road rather than dipping into the potholes. It took us about 25 minutes to go up, and about 30 minutes to come down. Photo 1: on the upper portion, we walked this bit Photos 2 and 3: on the descent while driving sjverhaeghe08  3       

Just past the switchback at the radio towers, these icy blocks block your path. (Added by: Aubrey on 2009-05-03)Not technical, but you need hi–clearance for erosion bumps. Few places to pass. (Added by: Aubrey on 2009-05-03)Not technical, but you need hi–clearance for erosion bumps. Few places to pass. (Added by: Aubrey on 2009-05-03)Going up the road Saturday 16 Oct 09  mid afternoon (Added by: ColoNativeinPA on 2009-10-20)1st Choice after Hot Springs (Added by: ThePopp on 2013-05-22)2nd Choice (Added by: ThePopp on 2013-05-22)3rd and last choice (Added by: ThePopp on 2013-05-22)

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