Kingston Peak

Kingston Peak (Idaho Springs)

  • It is an off road trail rated at a 3 to 4 – meaning that only high clearance stock SUV with a clearance of about 9+” could handle it granted the driver is comfortable taking the risk of off roading.  A stock wrangler would prove better than stock high-clearance SUVs, but they can likely manage the trail with some negotiating around the rocks.  This was my first trail off roading, and I wouldn’t suggest it as a first trail for most people.  I watched many YouTube videos on how to offroad before I did this one.
    • The trail is rated a 3 to 4 (out of 10) mostly for its dirt/mud and steep ledges.  This means that the trail can theoretically be done with a rating of 3 (stock SUVs could handle it) but there are ways to make it a 4 (high clearance SUVs minimum)
  • 9.5 miles RT with a select few turn around spots.  When I did the trail, we only made it about half way or so due to snow covering the upper portion of the trail.  I have read that it is the upper portion of the trail that makes it difficult.  The snow patch we encountered becomes a mud pit in late summer.  If I recall, we did this trail in mid-May.

The trail itself is rather hard to find, it took us a couple of goes searching around Alice to find it.  But, with the directions found at the link below, we had success eventually:

http://www.traildamage.com/trails/index.php?id=14

This site is where I get all my offroading information and I trust it.  I have done several trails and the rating system here often accurately depicts what to expect.  Granted, stuff changes from year to year, but it is a great tool to exploit for your offroading adventures.

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My friend’s lifted (about 2-3″) 1998 (or so) Ford F-150, manual. Carson put a lot of love into this truck and it was in great condition for offroading. No skid plates if I recall, but a truck that lifted had no need for that on this trail.
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My other friend’s 1999 (or so) Chevy Trail Blazer. This was before he replaced his shocks and got oversized tires for his truck, but it still managed the trail alright. I recall Lee saying this was the most challenging trail he would have attempted with his truck with its shocks, tires, and lack of skid plates (at the time).
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Lee’s swag

Some pictures of my father’s 2003 Toyota 4Runner that I drove around in high school (pre-Pathfinder days).  This car had a 4.7L V8 engine, 9.1″ clearance, skid plates over the gas tank and oil pan with a 2 gallon reserve tank.  This beast handled a lot of beatings off roading.  This trail wasn’t really a challenge for this vehicle as much as it was a challenge of my skill at the time.  If I did this trail again, I am confident that I could take this truck all the way to the end and back.  I definitely could do my Pathfinder (8.3″ clearance, 3.5L V6) for the lower section of the trail that we did, but I don’t think it could quite handle the top of the trail, probably.  I have pushed that Pathfinder pretty far and it has survived so far, but my rear springs are slowly dying…

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The trail was  fun for the lower section because it presented some large rocks that had to be negotiated around or over effectively, but wasn’t so hard that I was afraid that I would damage the car.  Lee was a bit afraid of damaging his Trail Blazer, but I believe he didn’t do anything damaging (I think he MAY have dented his oil pan, I cannot recall, but he certainly didn’t have any damage worth worrying about).

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The trail was mostly just bumpy 3-4 inch rocks to go over, steep inclines.  Any engine with 6 cylinders would be fine on this trail.  It is a fine trail to test your SUV/truck on.

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This is a picture of Loch Lomond as seen from Kingston Peak, which is a mountain. Pretty little lake tucked away in the mountains. I have also offroaded this trail and highly recommend it, see my post about it!

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There were some pretty stellar views at the top!  Overall, would I do this trail again?  No.  These days I only offroad to get to a destination (hiking trail or lake) rather than just for offroading for some views.  It was a fun trail at the time and it is definitely a fun one to do once, but the thrill isn’t there for me to do again.  If I was to offroad for recreation again, there are other trails I would redo (see my list of offroad trails under the blog menu).

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