OverviewLead King Basin is the most beautiful place I have seen in Colorado. It provides access to rugged routes, such as the West Ridge and "S" Ridge on Snowmass Mountain, as well as the Southwest Ridge of Hagerman Peak, along with great views of the Maroon Bells, "Siberia Peak," and many other rugged alpine mountains.
To get there, you must go through the historic town of Marble, where the stone was quarried for use in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in Washington, DC. This marble has been used in numerous other buildings and statues, all across the United States.
Another popular reason to drive all the way to this rough dirt road is to get a look at the famous Crystal Mill, probably the most-photographed building in Colorado.
DirectionsTo get the to the town of Marble: Leave Highway 82 at the town of Carbondale, staying on highway 133 for approximately 20 miles. Before the road begins to rise to McClure Pass, the turnoff to Marble is on your left. Stay on this dirt road through the town of Marble (where winter maintenance stops), and make sure you are in a high clearance 4-wheel-drive before you continue.
The road hits a "T" after about a mile and a half. Continue right along the Crystal River for the rougher but shorter option. This will take you through Crystal and past the Crystal Mine.
For a slightly longer and higher, but easier option, take the left fork and switchback up to a pass at 10,900 feet. You can continue down the switchbacks into the basin to get to the actual Lead King Basin Trailhead. Both options from the "T" in the road form an eventual loop.