Lead King Basin ATV Trail

Marble, Colorado 81623

Lead King Basin ATV Trail

Lead King Basin ATV Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Incredible early summer wildflowers including lots of columbines, Colorado’s state flower. View coming down switchbacks into Lead King Basin is outstanding. Return via Trail #26 through town of Crystal and pass Colorado’s famous Crystal Mill. Great fishing along the Crystal River.

The trail climbs to creek crossing and hiking trailhead, then begins long climb up dusty switchbacks, eventually reaching a high point at about 10,800 ft. You then descend a series of long switchbacks into Lead King Basin. A bridge near the end of trail was being
rebuilt when I rode the trail. The detour required a fairly deep crossing of the North Fork of the Crystal River. Hopefully, the new bridge will be done by the time you ride the trail. After the water crossing, you descend into dark forest on a steep, rocky road high above the river and reconnect with 314."

More Lead King Basin ATV Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

4WD Adventures: Colorado (Adler Publishing )
Peter Massey & Jeanne Wilson
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"This road is a side road of Schofield Pass Road. Initially, it ascends from the road running alongside the Crystal River through pine and aspen forest. The road is bumpy with imbedded rock and drainage channels cut across it but is not difficult in dry conditions. Sections of black soil can become very boggy after rain. Special Attractions: Abundant wildflowers in early summer; The challenging, narrow, and rocky section at the east end of the route. High-clearance 4WDs are required. This trail has either a rough, rutted surface, rocks up to 9 inches, mud and deep sand that may be impassable for inexperienced drivers, or stream crossings up to 18 inches deep. Certain sections may be steep enough to cause traction problems, and you may encounter very narrow shelf roads with steep drop-offs and tight clearance between rocks or trees."
Guide to Colorado Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails, Vol. 1 (FunTreks)
Charles A. Wells
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"The scenery is absolutely spectacular at almost every point along the way with abundant seasonal wildflowers. Great hiking and mountain biking. Fun for ATVs, but stay on marked roads. Rating based on a few rocky spots and stretches of narrow shelf road where it is difficult to pass. An experienced driver can get a stock, high-clearance, 4x4 SUV through when the trail is dry. West end is steep and very slippery when wet."

Lead King Basin ATV Trail Trip Reports

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The area up to Crystal Mill is excellent and full of history. The first part is a bit sketchy, it goes over a bumpy shelf road, that can be intimidating, but it quickly levels out to the valley floor.

Past Crystal, the road climbs to interesting aspen forests and mountain valleys. Be careful going early in the season, the road drifts over and does not melt until well into summer and there are few areas to turn around. You can wind up backing down the mountain for a significant distance.

Even areas that look OK to turn around in can be deceptive I ran into a drift on the mountain side, and had to back down for almost a quarter of a mile. When I got to an area that I thought I could turn around in, I almost rolled the jeep. The friend who was standing outside to guide me said that I developed an alarming lean.

Lead King Basin ATV Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
3 hours
Best summer and fall
White River National Forest, Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness
Local Contacts

Trail Log