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.
14er Trailheads on Google Maps
Date Status Information Posted By  Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2015-08-22 We took the 4WD trail up to the radio towers. The road had some deep ruts and runoff divits in it but not a problem for our truck (Honda Ridgeline). It‘s sketchy of you meet anyone coming back down and we did but luckily it was in areas that two trucks could pass. We parked at the Radio towers as we were afraid that there would be no space above that and hiked to the main trailhead from there. FYI the road actually is BETTER beyond the radio towers with at least 12 parking/camping spots past the towers. If and when we do it again we will go past the towers. joeyfly55         
2015-08-15 We drove up to the cell-tower lot on Saturday 8/15 and the roads were fine for our Jeep Cherokee. We only used 4WD one time - in a particularly steep section, but probably would have been fine without it. There were many areas that we thought would be high-clearance only and a few water-runoff divets in the road. We could have driven up to the 11,200‘ trail section (we hiked this and felt the road was fine), but parked at the cell-towers. We did see a honda element about 90% of the way to the cell towers and a lower-clearance BMW crossover at the cell-towers if that gives you an idea of others vehicles which made it up the road. kristine-l         
2015-07-18 Road conditions are clear. 4WD vehicle can make it up the narrow road beyond the Mt. Princeton main parking area. Keep your fingers crossed that you do not encounter traffic coming in the opposite direction as you, it is very narrow and can be a bit dicey if you have to pass another vehicle. Make it up to roughly 11,100‘ and there are pull offs for camping. After that point the road gets better (slightly smoother, less ruts) but only a few more spots to camp at on the side of the road, nothing established. 13er TH is accessible but no camping that was visible. Actual TH is easily visible and in great condition. soon2b_mac         
2015-06-23 Road is clear to ~11,400. We parked at the first switchback (~11,200‘) where‘s there‘s room for 2 vehicles. BillMiddlebrook         
2015-06-13 Road still good to towers. I saw one guy push it up to the next switchback. A few big drifts still block access to upper trailhead. Mt_DAN         
2015-06-08 Same status. Don‘t bother going past the 11k campsites. alpinenut         
2015-06-03 Clear and dry to the campgrounds past the radio station. Immediately impassable afterwards. Got a Subaru Outback up without issue. thurs         
2015-05-03 Road is dry to about 10.5k. Then intermittent snow to the radio towers and continuous snow after that. SnowAlien         
2015-01-16 Just park at the lower trailhead--accessible in a Blues Brothers Mobile currently...roads are dry to there. Above the parking lot, those first few switchbacks on the east-facing slope are holding a good amount of snow--and snow that you can‘t really drive through except with an ATV or a Snow Cat. This will make your trip up Princeton quite a bit longer, so plan accordingly. Daniel Joder         
2014-12-26 I‘d say no vehicles period up the road as of now,and prob for the rest of winter the way things have been going lately. I like to wheel every now n then,and even if I had a highly modified jeep with chains with all the right equipment and the backbone knowhow to use it I wouldn‘t do it. Its 4-16" of snow over top of an inch thick slick hard packed snow old track. And as yall know that road is to narrow with some big drops with no room or anywhere to turn around. Not worth the risk imho. I laid a boot trench up near 10,500 this afternoon for an attempt on princeton tomorrow,and more snow is expected to fall overnight yet. blakhawk         
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         

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)

© 2015®, 14ers Inc.