Lead King Basin
Gunnison County, Colorado
White River National Forest
Sopris Ranger District
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map
Forest Service Road: 315
Trail Type: Straight Through
Nearby Towns: Marble
Nearby Trails: Crystal City, Schofield Pass
Trail Length: 8 miles
Elevation: 8,645 to 10,752 feet
Recommended by Chad S.
Lead King Basin meets the end of Crystal City and the start Schofield Pass at a point in the middle. When dry, it is the easiest and smoothest of the trails for a vehicle with 4-wheel drive. When wet, it is probably the most difficult. It is very scenic, especially during the times when it is covered in wildflowers.
The trailhead is a short distance up the first hill from the Crystal City trailhead, so you must do a bit of that trail first. The trail takes you up to the other side of Sheep Mountain from the Crystal City trail as it follows Lost Trail Creek. You'll follow Arkansas Mountain to the north, as well. Though the trail is usually smooth, there are whoopdeedoos that keep it from being a fast trail. Passing is possible in most locations.
The eastern half of the trail is filled with switchbacks. They are usually smooth and not very tight, and the scenery is fantastic. There are hiking trailheads on this half, and that means there is some parking along the way.
The final switchbacks take you down into Lead King Basin, and then you turn south for the rest of the trail as you come around the eastern side of Sheep Mountain. The trail ends at the three-way intersection where Crystal City ends and Schofield Pass begins. Turn right to follow Crystal City out and back to where you started, or turn left to take the difficult Schofield Pass trail out to Crested Butte.
Information last updated on August 21st, 2012.
- August 10, 2012: ran by Ben, Bob S., Monica and Walt
- September 3, 2005: ran by Bob R., Cheryl, Dave B., Dave E., Ladd, Micheal, Monica and Walt
- August 10, 2003: ran by Ladd, Monica and Perry
From Denver take I-70 to Glenwood Springs and Highway 82 south to Carbondale. At Carbondale take Highway 133 until you see a sign for Marble and Road 314. Just past Marble on this main road through town you will see signs for Lead King Basin Road 315.
Meet at Java Joe's at 433 Main Street in Carbondale.