I enjoyed your description, but couldn't find two key pieces of info:
How many miles from the trailhead to the summit?
How many total feet of elevation gain?
From the Queen Canyon Mine entrance to the summit, via the Queen Canyon Mine route, it is approximately 4.5 miles; therefore, a round trip distance for the route would be in the neighborhood of about 9 miles. Knock off about 2 miles if you're able to drive all the way up to the saddle (would need a good 4-wheel drive vehicle).
Total elevation gain can be derived from the route description I provided..........................the summit is right at 13,140 feet; Queen Canyon Mine entrance is right at 9,200 feet. Therefore, the total elevation gain for the route is approximately 4,000 feet. Again, if you're able to drive all the way up to the saddle, knock off 500 feet of elevation gain (+/- 3,500 feet).
Hope this helps...............................happy climbing!
A Google Earth track log can be found here. Contains track for turnoff from highway six to trailhead.
Note: There is another water tank on the left and dirt road on the right 6 miles from Benton. We drove in at night and upon seeing the tank just opposite of this road, we mistakenly turned off Hwy 6 too soon. There is a wire gate that does not state to Keep Out, as you might expect on a private road. Do not be confused by this road. Mark your odometer and be sure to take the correct road 9 miles from Benton, as stated in the route description. We took the wrong road for about 2 miles and were miffed at how rough it was. Queen Canyon Mine Road is quite gentle comparatively speaking.
The first sentence under Route description states, "The route, for most people, will start at the large, flat area (Queen Canyon Mine)...."
Note that the mine in the flat area (by the campsite) is called Queen Mine, not Queen Canyon Mine, as correctly stated in the previous section.
Queen Canyon Mine is a different mine further to the west. It's not actually on the route at all.
I posted a few pictures to give folks a better idea of the road to the mine & the saddle. Hope they help in deciding ones route
My '92 Toyota 4-Runner made it to the 9700' saddle with ease 5/09/09. Full moon. Trail from there is great. Hiked by moonlight only, save < 2 minutes flashlight time. Rnd trip 6 hours. Minimal snow. No other idiots on trail. Dark.
Just for comparison purposes, my Garmin GPS showed the Queen Mine TH about 9,050' and the actual TH at 9,840'. No big deal, but don't be worried when elevations differ slightly. Also, the huge cairn at the "real" TH was still there as of 6-25-10.
Overall the road was easy to find (especially after using street view to preview what the tank at the turn looks like).
Unfortunately we got turned back at roughly 7600 feet because the road was too rough for our car (rental car prius). It gets to be its worst after the vegetation starts to close in around you. We didn't try to scout farther up the road on foot. A higher ground clearance 2WD _might_ make it (or if you don't care about scraping the bottom), but I don't know if it gets worse later on. We were too scared of getting stuck, plus we didn't know what expensive stuff is under the hybrid ready to be ripped off by a wayward rock.
I had gotten my hopes up after reading a bunch of trip reports where they made it to the trailhead in cars, but I'm only now realizing that those reports are a few years old (2009 at the earliest), so keep that in mind.
Drove the road on 9/2/12. The road from Hwy 6 to the Queen Mine has deteriorated a little over the last few years and would be more difficult with a low-clearance passenger car, but could be done with very careful and slow driving (someone made it in a fairly low clearance vehicle while I was out there but I wouldn't have wanted to be driving that vehicle). The road from Queen Mine to Kennedy Saddle (Also known as Queen Mine Saddle) is in better shape than it was a few years ago when I last drove it and easy to drive in a stock Toyota Tacoma with 4WD. It might be do-able with high-clearance 2WD except that one tight turn might create a bit of a problem trying to get going again or backing up to negotiate the turn. So, if you have a truck with 4WD keep on driving up to the saddle and save yourself the extra walking.
drove the road on 8/10/13. the lower end (the part to queen mine) is in pretty good shape; in fact, someone in our party made it to the mine in a toyota camry! the road beyond that was very loose scree, and a two wheel drive high clearance toyota truck could not maintain traction on the road and eventually had to go back down.
We drove all the way up to the saddle in our 1995 Plymouth Voyager Soccer Mom Van. It was a great place to camp and cut off a couple of miles of road scree. Gotta just go for it in a couple of places and I would't take a nice car I cared about up there.
queen canyon was good, only one little section (a pothole) was rutted out but other people had put rocks into it to make it passable. we made it to the top to the trail register with ease. weather was perfect and lots of cloud coverage to make this walk very pleasant! lots of wildlife too:)
Nice route description. Staying to the west side of the ridge in the class 3 scramble sections worked very well.
Road to the mine was easy to find. No way I'd want to try to drive a passenger car all the way to the mine. Very rutted. Saw one passenger car that made it about 2/3 of the way to the Queen Mine. We took our 4 wheel drive Pilot to the mine very cautiously without much problem then went for it to the Kennedy Saddle and were successful. Definitely needed the 4 wheel traction especially at the hairpin turn. Would not do it in a two wheel drive high clearance vehicle and would not go above the mine in my Pilot if I had to do it again. Made it safe but it took my son getting out to guide us through the hairy spots on the way down. Saw a nice high clearance 4x4 pickup at the saddle which I'm sure made it without a problem. Saw a Jeep Renegade, another pickup and an all wheel drive Subaru parked down towards the mine. They probably made the prudent choice.