Regarding COVID-19: Please recreate responsibly and practice social distancing. Closures and travel restrictions are changing rapidly, always check and respect local regulations.

Carbondale, Colorado

Backpack the Lead King Basin Trail

4.5 Miles Total - 2000 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Matt Johnson

One of the best backpacking trips I've ever taken. Challenging, scenic, and remote. 

We began our hike at the beginning of the afternoon after about two-three hours driving up the 14 mile road. The first mile of the trail was mild, turning into an uphill adventure. Lots of switchbacks, winding paths, and some tree coverage. By mile 2, we were on a steep grade the rest of the way. Following a river stream most of the way up, the density of the forest began to engulf the trail. Towards the end of the hike, we began to approach the timberline, but never crossed it. When we reached our camp spot, we were situated close to a lake in the middle of the mountain's valley. 

Overlooking us was Snowmass Mountain, which my friend told me was a 5 mile day hike. We made a dispersed camp, with no actual campsites around, surrounded by snow piles and limited tree growth. We were planning on attempting the peak, however, due to incoming thunderstorms the next day, we packed camp and headed back down to the lower parking lot. 

After arriving back at our car and waiting out the storm, we headed back down the road (FR 314). Along the way, we came across the Crystal Mill (See Hike by Lizard Lake to Crystal Mill adventure by Mike Fennell)

Directions:

From Carbondale, drive 21.5 miles south on CO 133. Turn left on Gunnison County Road 3 toward the town of Marble (this road may be labeled as FR 314 on some maps). Measure the mileage from here:  

  • Drive 5.5 miles to the center of Marble and continue through the town.  
  • Pass a church at 5.8 mi. and Beaver Lake at 6.2 mi. - At 7.0 miles, the road becomes rough.  
  • At 7.7 miles, there is a junction. Turn left on FR 315 for Lead King Basin. 
  • The remaining 6 miles is rough and narrow. 4wd vehicles only.  
  • At 9.7 miles, there is another junction. Stay left on FR 315.  
  • After a long drive with many switchbacks, reach the trailhead at 13.8 miles. It's on a corner, near a meadow, just after you cross a small stream.  
  • The trail starts just below the small parking area. A short distance up the trail there is a set of signs.
Read More

Tags

Camping
Swimming
Backpacking
Hiking
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

Stay Nearby

Carbondale, Colorado

Bogan Flats Campground Grp S

Maroon Creek Road

East Maroon Portal Picnic Site

Marble, Colorado

Thompson Creek Campground

Carbondale, Colorado

Carbondale / Crystal River KOA

Nearby Adventures

Hike to Geneva Lake

3 Miles Round Trip - 1256 ft gain

Climb South Maroon Peak

11.5 Miles Round Trip - 4800 ft gain

Hike to Frigid Air Pass

8.5 Miles Round Trip - 1400 ft gain

Tours

Summer, a season not to be missed in Aspen!

"I came for the winter, and stayed for the summer," is a phrase you'll often hear around town.  The weather is one of the highlights. During the day the temperature hovers in the 70's and 80's, and by evening the mercury will drop into the 60's. Arts & culture enthusiasts will be just as fulfilled as the adventure junkie during summer in Aspen.  The events calendar abounds with activities for everyone, from cultural events to athletic pursuits.

Experiencing all Aspen has to offer is as easy as opening the front door. Join us for a summer adventure that’s anything but ordinary.

Advertisement
Learn More