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:

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.

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.
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).
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.

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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