“A 13-mile jeep rd loop near Marble, that traverses to the Lead King Basin, Crystal City Ghost Town, and the Crystal Mill
— Katie Stookesberry
Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This a challenging loop that can be done as a trail run, long day hike, or mountain bike route. The trail begins close to Marble, and traverses through forests, valleys, open mountain areas, and along streams and rivers, on two unmaintained jeep roads. The trail gains a little over 3k feet.
The route is made up of jeep roads (Road #315 and #314), with a few switchbacks and portions of the road that are made up of very loose rock. In the early summer, you'll most likely come across at least 3-5 large stream/river crossings, and possibly some leftover snow from the winter.
If you start the loop going towards Lead King Basin first, ending with Lizard Lake and the Crystal Mill, the first 2 miles of the loop are steep and move up in elevation fast. The second 2.5 miles are more of a gradual build up to the peak at about 4.5 miles.
The mountain and valley views are fantastic from about 4 miles in until around 7 miles in. This route goes through the Lead King Basin, past the Lead King Mine, then through Crystal City ghost town and the famous Crystal Mill. The portion of the road from Crystal City back to Marble will be more dense with people and 4WD vehicles.