so this weekend was totally clear and beautiful in colorado so we decided to get in one last off road trip before the mountains start getting rain and snow.
we chose trail #17 (kingston peak trail) from the colorado trails: front range book. we chose this trail because it is rated at a 5 to 6 and we wanted to test out the truck with the new lift and tires. the trail is 9.4 miles and it took us about 4 hours to complete (we were under 3mph most of the time).
there were a few spots on this trail that i doubt a 2x4 could pass through. this trail was very steep, very rocky, and with up to 12" drop offs. a 2x4 would be sliding all over the place whereas a 4x4 could gear down and crawl over everything.
so, the trailhead is in the city of Alice, CO which is 8 miles from the I70 off of exit 283.
heading up fall river road to alice
there were a bunch of steep switch backs
the town of alice is a confusing mess of winding, unmarked roads (even the garmin was like, "WTF?"). we missed several turns and it took us a few tries to find the trailhead, but here it is:
the trail got steep and rocky really fast. it also had quite a few off tight, rocky, and steep switchbacks.
i just left the truck in 4Lo most of the trip to keep the speed down and to crawl over the abundance of obstacles.
the trail got narrow, but 2 vehicles could still pass at this point.
the view from this part of the trail.
the whole trail was either up or down. rarely were there flat areas.
we found a turn out and stopped for lunch.
looking up the trail.
continuing up the trail. its becoming steeper and rockier.
my wife loves the color of the trees this time of year
it really was awesome up there.
we caught up to a group of jeeps.
the guys in the jeeps pulled over so we could pass.
we are starting to reach the edge of the timber line. the trees are thining out... and the rocks are starting to get bigger and the trail is getting more difficult.
i wish the pictures would show how rough this trail really is. it is rougher than it looks.
looking back down the trail.
great views... you can see for miles.
lots of outcroppings of rocks all over the place.
so, near the top of kingston peak, there is this old "house" from the 1800's mining era. it has crumbled over the years, but there is now a tradition for people who visit this site. when you come here, you are supposed to bring a rock from where you live, sign it, and place it in the structure. there is also a log book for you to sign as well. there were other groups of people up there as well so it was nice to visit with them.
me looking over the edge of the structure.
signing the log book.
signed our rock we left it in a nice spot so it could see the view
this mailbox holds the log book and a bunch of pens and markers. also, there is my wifey
and a campy shot of me. yes, my shirt does say "2+2=5". however, the small print also says, "for extremely large values of 2"
view from the house looking south.
view from the house looking south west.
view from the house looking west down to the lake (actually, i think this might have been one of the glory hole mines).
back to the truck.
the outside temp said 53, but the wind was blowing 20-30mph so it was really cold up there.
we climbed to just over 12000 feet. i think the start of the trail was around 8000 feet.
heading down from kingston peak. this is the spot where a 2x4 could not make it back up (it could go down, however.) this spot was super narrow, steep, and twisty with a loose, rocky surface. i was crawliing at about 1mph and the back end of the truck slid around a bit. again, the pictures dont really show how rough the trail is.
just past that steep descent and now coming onto a marsh area crossing. i suspect this spot could become unpassable during a heavy rain. you can also see the switch back of the trail further up the mountain.
this area got very rocky again; so much so, that i forged a path on the tundra above the trail. the trail actually had boulders all over the place and i didnt feel comfortable bouncing around them.
take that, you rock.
there is so much more clearance under the truck now with the lift. we never hit or dragged any rocks with the underside of the truck. we wre able to straddle over most everything.
more rough areas.
climbing up again.
ok, this area was the "pucker factor" test of the trail. this is the start of a steep and narrow shelf road with 12" drop offs in the middle of the trail. going up this would be a pain in the ass. i dont think a 2x4 could do it. actually, a stock 4x4 would be dragging all the way down this part of the trail.
so, this shelf road is the hardest part of the trail. in the distance, you can see a white truck at the 1 turnout on this shelf road. there is no passing on this part and there is no way you would be able to go back up the road. so anyone coming up would have to go back down and wait for the trail to be clear. this short segment took us about 15 minutes to get down. i dont have anymore pictures of this part because i was concentrating on getting down.
parked at the turnout.
there was a bunch of people up here and one of the couples offered to take a picture of my wife and i
looking down at the lake from the turnout on the shelf road.
there was a hiking trail leading down to the lake. it was probably a mile or two down to the lake.
there was a group of motorcyclists heading up the shelf road that we just came down. a few of them had to stop part of the way up and push their bikes over the rocks and drop offs.
they tried taking this little off road cart up there. about half way up, the motorcyclists had to stop and lift the cart over some of the obstacles. there was no way it could climb on its own.
we wanted to continue along the shelf road, but this jeep was coming toward us and we didnt know if there were any passing opportunities. so we had to wait until they got to us.
as it turns out, there were some spots to pass, but better safe than sorry. you can see how steep the terrain is.
it would suck to roll down this mountain.
getting back to the timber line.
some people are eccentric. someone built this crazy looking house out in the middle of nowhere in the middle of a forrest. we were already 3 hours into the trail so i hope they have a helicopter so that they could run to the store
we are near the end of this trail and we are encountering far fewer rocks, but the terrain is still rough.
the trail became narrow, but is much smoother.
again, we had a great time exploring the colorado mountains. thanks for looking