Kingston Peak

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4.9/5 (111 reviews)
Rollinsville, Colorado (Gilpin County)
Last Updated: 10/30/2023
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Trail Information

Highlights

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Situated about an hour from the Denver and Boulder Metro areas, Kingston Peak is a high-altitude trail that is a must-do for anyone in the area. Although they call this the Kingston Peak Trail, the real beauty and focal point are the amazing views of James Peak for almost the entire route. James Peak is 13,294 feet and is named in honor of Dr. Edwin James, an early explorer, historian, and botanist who was a member of the famous Stephen H. Long expedition to Colorado in 1820.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

The road up Kingston Peak is approximately 8 miles and takes 2 to 4 hours, depending on your rig. The trail is generally very rocky, with steep climbs and descents. You can also access the Yankee Hill Network via Forest Service Road 271.1 from this road. As described here, starting from the north and running south, the trail quickly climbs above the timberline, where it narrows with limited passing but with plenty of visibility of oncoming vehicles. It passes the James Peak Lake hiking trailhead's parking area just before climbing to the highest point. The trail then descends into a flat area before making a steep climb up to a knob just before the final descent into Alice and St. Mary's Glacier.

Trail Reviews

4.9/5 (111)
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Official Crew
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121200
Seasonal Closure
Visited: 10/30/2023

Closed for the season, depending the winter, the trail will open on or around 7/15/2024.
Impassable
Visited: 10/20/2023

Impassable beyond WP8 for 4x4 and SxS
Trail Review: Kingston Peak - David Adler
Trail Review: Kingston Peak - David Adler
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Official Crew
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121200
Impassable
Visited: 10/16/2023

While the trail is technically open per the MVUM, snow is now present and impassable.
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100
Impassable
Visited: 10/15/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Snow on the ground in a bunch of spots. A few snowdrifts where I was almost stopped with my stock 2022 4Runner TRD ORP. Just behind way point 9 the snowdrifts were too much for me. And from looking at the tire tracks, the people before me were stopped there too, a few 100 feet into the snowdrift. Had to back out a bit before I could make a U turn. Quite a few people on the trail still, mostly dirt bikes, It was windy and cold but the views were amazing.
Trail Review: Kingston Peak - Hans
Trail Review: Kingston Peak - Hans
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Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 10/07/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

I used this site to tackle this drive, on my second attempt. Late September of '22 the snow was falling so I bailed out before James Peak, and headed down Montana Creek to Mosquito Creek (ascended Mammoth Gulch). That was probably not the best option, but I did make it back - I'm guessing Elk Park (CR4-N) is a easier? Apex is basically a smooth sand road. I had concerns about the trail condition and driveability, but besides a bit of bouncing fatigue, the trail was just about perfect for me in my '02 stock Tacoma. We barely saw another person, and it took 3hr20 minutes from Tolland to Alice. I was concerned about other reviewers saying they tested their rock sliders with their modified vehicles, but with slow pace and some (within the trail) weaving the Tacoma did fantastic. The climb from the James Peak pullout is steep and rocky, and I think for the novice (me), it was best to climb this. I would definitely encourage others (newbies) to follow from the North to South as I found the descending quite manageable, and reversing might add a bit more challenge. For most with lifted vehicles, direction probably is inconsequential - but I really didn't want to double back. The views were great for most of the drive, and at all the stopping points. Great road for reaching a quiet trailhead for a hike too.
Trail Review: Kingston Peak - David B.
Trail Review: Kingston Peak - David B.
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