Mt. Princeton Road Trailhead

Posted By: howla
Info: My Outback (lifted) should have made it up to the towers, and probably further just fine. You really need clearance more than 4wd; honestly I thought the road to Grays & Torreys trailhead was in worse condition. The worst part of the road is about 1.5 miles in, and if you decide not to risk it, you have to back down. HOWEVER, I drove up in the snow on the night of 15 September and nearly slid off multiple times. I did get stuck twice and had to reverse to take a different angle around the hairpins. I was the only person spending the night (shocker), I slept at the last hairpin before the towers due to trees down across the road. Absolutely would not recommend driving this road in the snow unless you are extremely confident in your car’s abilities.
Posted By: davebelin
Info: Drove this road in my stock Subaru Outback with summer tires without much tread. There was one rough spot where I had to back up and give it some more gas to get through. We parked at the switchback where the radio towers are, at about 10,800’. There were cars parked about half a mile further up, and also at other switchbacks higher up. As others have noted, it’s a very narrow road with severely limited passing opportunities. Fortunately, we didn’t come across anyone on the way up at 7am. We started the descent from the radio towers at 12 noon and encountered only one vehicle coming up. We were able to squeeze by but it was very tight. The drive up saved us 2,000 vertical feet and 4+ miles round trip
Posted By: GuiGirard
Info: I made it fine to the radio towers (and I could have made it just as fine to the campsites slightly further up) with an Outback, but there are a few rocky obstacles about half way up that take some nerves. The impossibility to turn around was decisive in my will to make it through these. The width of the road is nerve wrecking, however. I don’t know how I managed to make it to go by three descending vehicles on my way up. There is partial visibility of upcoming traffic when driving down but it’s not great and there’s some exposure at places too.
Posted By: burnhamc
Info: Radio lot was fairly full but you could have probably squeezed another car or two in, around 8:30am. A number of more places above. Couple of F-150s stuffed in a switchback.

Road wasnt too difficult, rocky and bumpy. A Suburban had made it to the top.
Posted By: burnhamc
Info: Radio lot was fairly full but you could have probably squeezed another car or two in, around 8:30am. A number of more places above. Couple of F-150s stuffed in a switchback.

Road wasnt too difficult, rocky and bumpy. A Suburban had made it to the top.
Posted By: V1per41
Info: Not too bad of a drive to the towers. Towers parking was full at 7:00am on a Saturday, but the next parking area has a few available and there might have been another 5 or so beyond that.

Pictures are of the two hardest features beyond most of the parking if someone’s wants to try and make it further. Nothing most of the road from 2WD lot to towers was pretty straight forward, just narrow with very few pull-offs. We didn’t run into anyone trying to drive up when we came down around noon.
Posted By: Mitsugi
Info: This road is pretty easy. There is 1 spot where our Toyota Highlander had to back up and get some speed to get over the section but otherwise, barely class 3 road.

A comment.

I dunno what is it with the gatekeeping on this website but that radio tower has parking for like 30 cars, not a "couple" cars. I counted at least 15 cars at the tower and more above and below on the road. And there is parking at every switchback turn. Highest car was a Honda CRV well above the radio towers. Also, those towers are nowhere close to the hike start. It’s easily a 30 minute walk to the trail entrance.
Posted By: Eagle Eye
Info: The trailhead has a nice clean bathroom w/ tp! The road starts dry from the Frontier Ranch big parking area there but in no distance (~.5 mile) has gone bad --as in mud & drifts and the evidence left from $tuck vehicle$. But it has been foot/ski/snowshoe/traveled quite a bit. I even see a residual of two very wide snowcat tracks, shown clearly in a Jan Trailhead Conditions photo. Some places on the road have been in a thaw/freeze cycle for a while and are very smooth & slick.
Posted By: Thevirtualsherpa
Info: Road is not in, no matter how good you think your vehicle is. Hopefully this one is moved soon, was not there when I started.

Road is well traveled to towers with far less foot traffic past there.
Posted By: JasonCrane
Info: From BV, CR321 is in great winter shape & easy 2WD to lower Princeton TH. Parking area has been plowed recently & despite a couple inches of fresh snow, it’s tire tracked-out. Frontier Ranch has provided a porta-potty. CR322 has fresh snowcat tracks up to Comm Towers. It appears a couple of ’Trailhead Heros’ attempted to drive up Mt. Princeton Road before performing tight 3-point turns on narrow passes with trees and rocks on the uphill side and drop-offs on the downhill side. Park at the lower summer TH and hike in.
Posted By: mtn14
Info: Minimal snow up to the cell towers - the Outback had zero problems. Tractor tracks continue a little further up from the towers for those wanting to park at the camp sites. Beyond that, its a no-go.
Posted By: conorpowderhunter
Info: Drove a z71 1/2 silverado up here easily. The road is subaruable for sure but the only issue is passing other vehicles coming up or down. 1 lane road with very few pulloffs. Came up here 8pm on a Monday so very little traffic.
Posted By: aldsw
Info: As others have said, the most difficult part of the road is that it’s only one lane 99% of the way up with very few places to pull over to pass.

I was able to easily make it to the parking at 11,200 in a Subaru Outback. Just past that there was a large rock in the trail that I probably could have made it past but decided we wanted to camp below treeline anyways so didn’t try. There were great spots to camp at 11,200 and the road walk is easy. If you drive all the way to 12k, you have to hike back down the road to get to the trailhead (and finish your hike back up that hill).

We witnessed a Jeep coming down the road around 11,500, with 4 FJ’s coming up the road at the same time. There was no place for anyone to pull over within 1/4 mile. We kept hiking so I don’t know how it worked out but I’m sure it wasn’t fun for anyone.

I had no regrets parking at 11,200.
Posted By: Pedro F
Info: Question is more a matter of ground clearance than steepness / traction. Drove a 2WD Acadia with standard road tires up to the parking spots past the radio towers. Only had a few spots with some wheelslip, which traction control quickly got under control -- no real issue. However, there were a handful of spots that either had rocks protruding up 4" or had a fairly prominent quickly undulating bump across the entirety of the road...and given the road’s well-documented narrowness, there isn’t always an opportunity to simply pick a different line and avoid the obstacle. If you have a vehicle that doesn’t have at least modest ground clearance, you may find yourself in a scrape situation
Posted By: errinneh
Info: Drove up to the radio towers in a stock Subaru Ascent. Driving on a Sunday morning at 5am, nobody was coming down and luckily on our way down Sunday afternoon, nobody was coming up. The drive from the 2wd parking lot to the radio towers took 35 minutes. The 8.7 inch clearance of the Subaru was fine and the road was in pretty good condition all things considered. Glad we didn’t have to pass anyone as that would have been complicated.
Posted By: chin1997
Info: Drove the road yesterday in a 2013 Subaru Impreza with very low ground clearance. Took my sweet time but did manage to get up to the communication towers and park. While up there we saw a front wheel drive Toyota Camry. Anything with decent clearance can get up on a dry day with a good amount of maneuvering and time.
Posted By: silentsword3
Info: Road was clear for 4WD all the way up to the Lodge.
Posted By: bribaker2001
Info: Made it to radio towers in a stock 2006 V8 2WD 4Runner, no problem. Still some snow at trail break from the road.
Posted By: miecho
Info: Drove up past the radio towers and was able to park at the last switchback at ~11,600. There was a small patch of snow just past this last switchback, otherwise drivable 4WD almost to Lucky Mine. Stock 4x4 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Posted By: sklumb
Info: There is still impassable snow just after the last switchback on the road before the trail breaks off it. There is no snow on the road anymore before this point. You can park at least one, maybe two cars at this switchback. We saw a truck parked there. There are a couple parking spots at various places between the radio towers and this last switchback, mostly only room for one, maybe two cars at each place. The road does get a bit rougher after the radio towers though. Had to pass a car at about 7:30am on our way up. Then had to pass a car just before the radio towers on our way down at 2pm, and two more cars right before returning to the 2WD trailhead. That was a bummer but for the most part, it all worked out better than I couldve hoped.
Posted By: CraigE
Info: Any crossover vehicle with clearance should be able to make it up to the radio towers and several hundred yards beyond. Lots of ruts and dips, but no snow and not very rocky. Theres a snow drift at the first sharp switchback above the towers, and a long stretch of impassable snow further up on the final switchback.
Posted By: MBosch27
Info: Easily passable to the towers in a Rav4 TRD. After the towers, the road quickly becomes choked with snow. About 1/4 mile past the trailhead, the snow cover up to 8’ deep uphill and down to the dirt on the far downhill side of the road, making it about a 40 degree angle... IF you can get past the first few snow drifts past the towers, there is ample parking before the big snow begins about 1/4 mile past the towers. Pics are of the big snow drifts about 1/4 mile past the towers.
Posted By: Eagle Eye
Info: From yesterday 5/1/22. The lower trailhead is in great shape and there is a clean bathroom WITH tp! I just walked up the road, but someone did drive a truck up and parked at the radio towers. There are still quite a few risky places on the road where only your inside tires would be on the dirt or mud, the others on a hard ice or snow ’platform’. Hard drifts cover the road continuing up from, and the summer parking areas around the towers.
Posted By: KRBoyce
Info: About a half mile or so below the towers there was a larged downed tree. This morning some other hikers and I were able to leverage it out of the way just enough to make it passable all the way to the towers. There was modest amount of snow on the road, and one of the other hikers wasn’t able to make it up one of the switchbacks on his jeep. I was able to get all the way to the towers.
Posted By: etradio1
Info: Another than a small patch of ice that is easily avoided the road is completely dry.

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