Lead King Basin four-wheel drive road passes very close to the boundary of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness and affords some spectacular views of mountains, meadows, and canyons. The basin is a great place to view a variety of wildflowers during the late summer. Three trailheads into the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness are located along this road. The old bridge over the Crystal River between Crystal and Lead King Basin is not maintained by the forest service and located on private land. Please respect the privacy of these landowners.
The segment from Marble along Lost Trail Creek to Lead King Basin should not be traveled when it is wet! The road is built on slick shale and slopes towards the valley bottom. Four-wheel drive is required. From Lead King to Crystal City the road is very narrow and extremely rocky. There is a very steep drop-off into the Crystal River Canyon. There are few pullouts on this road and drivers may be required to back-up for considerable distances when another vehicle is met. A high clearance four-wheel drive vehicle is required for this segment. A loop can be made from Marble by traveling along the Crystal River to Crystal City, and then returning to Marble via the Lead King Basin road.
Directions from Carbondale: From Carbondale travel south on Colorado Highway 133 for 22 miles to the Marble turnoff. Go east on the Marble road, through Marble, and past Beaver Lake. The four-wheel drive section begins just past the Gold Pan Gallery. The road begins to head uphill and passes over shale rock. About one mile outside of Marble there is a fork in the road; take the left fork (Forest Road #315). the road immediately heads uphill.
May through September
(NOTE: Snow may obstruct the road during the Spring, Fall and Winter months.)