Exit I-70 at Exit 176 (Vail) and head west on the North Frontage Road for 1 mile to Red Sandstone Road, turn right and follow the paved road for 3/4 miles. The paved road switches to the right and a graded dirt/gravel road (FS 700) continues on from this point (signed). If muddy 4WD is recommended, but the road is usually fine for 2WD vehicles. Follow the road for 11 miles to the parking area just before the entrance to Piney River Ranch. The ranch is private, there is a public trail that skirts it which starts across the road. There is some dispersed camping along the road.
Road is not maintained, gated and locked about 1/2 mile up the dirt road, usually until at least Memorial Day. Do not park in front of the gate, there is a paved parking lot at the bottom of the hill you can use but is limited to 3hrs. Watch for snowmobiles on the road.
Road from Vail is good all the way to the Muddy Creek Pass cutoff. The switchbacks down to Piney Lake were hard pack snow covered due the north face. Trucks, jeeps and AWD with good tires are fine. Other than that section it was dry.
Forest Service plans to open the gate on Friday July 1. There will be some tree removal work on weekdays, with the road closing to traffic from 10am to 2.30 M-F. Expect delays during the rest of the day.
Road gated at the bottom as of 6/23. Could be because of snow, runoff, or logging - not sure. Looks like you can hike it or bike if you wanted to, but its about 10 miles each way from the gate to the lake and probably not worth it.