Backpack the Lead King Basin Trail

    Rate this Adventure 4.5 miles 2000 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

    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
    Camping
    Swimming
    Backpacking
    Hiking
    Forest
    Lake
    Scenic
    Waterfall

    Go Pro.

    We're committed to building a better, more inclusive home for the modern outdoors. Go PRO to support our mission and get benefits like gear deals, no ads, and more!

    Learn More

    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

    Aspen, Colorado

    100' To Slopes! Roomy Snowmass Home With Hot Tub

    From $367/night

    Aspen, Colorado

    Single Family Home, Plenty Of Room

    From $452/night

    Nearby Adventures

    Hike to Geneva Lake

    5.0
    3 mi / 1256 ft gain

    Hike to Frigid Air Pass

    8.5 mi / 1400 ft gain

    Hike the West Maroon Pass in the Maroon Bells

    4.5
    10.5 mi

    Climb South Maroon Peak

    11.5 mi / 4800 ft gain
    More Nearby Adventures

    Inspire Your Fall Aspen Trip!

    Autumn days in Aspen are filled with sunshine and nights with crisp cool air. Watch the mountains and valleys turn gold with the changing Aspen trees. Take in the scenery while enjoying scenic drives, hiking through forests, road biking, and exploring our IMBA Gold Level Ride Center recognized mountain bike trails. 




    Learn More