Kingston Peak  Moderate icon
USGS 7.5' Map: Empire, Central City
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Moderate 5 FR 353 6.0 12,000 ft. Rock - 1 3-4 hours
County: Gilpin and Clear Creek
Adopted by: Hillbillies 4X4
Managed by: Arapaho/Roosevelt National Forest,
Boulder Ranger District

Clear Creek Ranger District

2140 Yarmouth Ave.
Boulder, CO 80301-1615

101 Chicago Creek
Idaho Springs, CO 80452


Summary: The Kingston Peak 4WD road is south of Tolland, which is near the Moffat Tunnel. The road climbs the west side of Kingston Peak following the Continental Divide. After crossing a large flat alpine tundra, the road drops down into Alice after affording a few birdseye views of Loch Lomond.
Attractions: There are great views of the Continental Divide, Loch Lomond, James Peak (13,294 ft.) and Kingston Peak (12,147 ft.). The northern part of the road accesses the hiking trailhead for Little Echo Lake, James Peak Lake, and the Continental Divide. the southern part of the road passes some interesting pine trees near timberline.
Closed by snow. The first snows in October can close Kingston Peak. The drifts on the northeast side of Kinston Peak keep the road closed until late June or early July. There is a Forest Service proposal to add gates on Kingston Peak and implement a seasonal closure.
Best Time: July - There still may be drifts of snow crossing the road. The Continental Divide will still have large snow fields adding to the scenery
August - Hot summer weather will be cooler at the high altitudes of the Kingston Peak 4WD road. Watch for afternoon thunderstorms.
September - There may be some fall colors, but with the lack of flora above timberline, the colors will be along the beginning and end of the road.
Hiking -
James Peak Lake FT804, Ute Trail FT803
Equestrian -

Mountain Bike -

Kingston Peak FDR353, Mammoth Gulch FDR176
Motorcycle -
Kingston Peak FDR353, Mammoth Gulch FDR176
Camping: There are a few campsites along the lower portions of the Kingston Peak road. The portions of the road above timberline afford little cover.
Base Camp: A good place to set up camp on the North end of Kingston Peak is along Mammoth Gulch. As you leave Tolland and follow County 4N Southwest this ledge road will enter a valley. Look for FR176, there will be campsites in the trees along Mammoth Creek. The South side of Kingston Peak has a few small sites.
Fall Colors: Poor - Most of the road is above timberline.
Snowshoeing -

Cross Country Skiing-

Snowmobile -
Kingston Peak FDR353, Mammoth Gulch FDR176
Navigation: From Boulder, Colorado take Highway 119 to Nederland and follow Highway 119 south to Rollinsville. In Rollinsville, across from the General Store, take County 16 west to Tolland. Just as you leave the small community of Tolland take County 4N, the Apex Road, southwest toward Mammoth Gulch. Continue until you reach the top of Baltimore Ridge where the road heads east. From here the Kingston Peak 4WD road, FR#353, heads west toward Pile Hill.

From Denver take I-70 west to Idaho Springs. Continue past Idaho Springs to the Fall River Road Exit 238. Take this exit and continue northwest on County 275 until you reach Alice, Colorado. Turn west on Texas Drive and look for a right turn onto Glory Hole Drive. Next look for Nebraska Drive as you switchback up the side of the valley. The last road at the top is Hill Side Drive. From here look for a two track that heads west to the top of the ridge. This is the Kingston Peak 4WD road.
History: In the 1890's and early 1900's Kingston was a small mining camp near Pile Hill on the road from Nugget to Alice. The actual site of the camp is hard to pin down. It shows on old maps to be just to the southwest of Pile Hill where FR175 heads toward Yankee Hill. The mines in the area were the London at the head of Mammoth Creek, Moose, and Illinois. The town of Alice at the south end of the Kingston Peak 4WD road developed around the mines surrounding St. Mary's Glacier. This region around the Fall River, just south of Alice, was settled in the 1880's when placer gold was found. The Alice mine and the Kaminky mine were the larger mines that were developed. Enough gold was being extracted to justify the construction of a stamp mill. In 1897 the Alice mine and surrounding claims were sold for $250,000. The deal called for the payment of $50,000 with two more annual payments of $100,000. In 1899, when the last payment was due, the mines closed and Alice became deserted. In it's day Alice was an important stop on the road over Yankee Hill from Central City to Idaho Springs.
Kingston Peak 4WD road begins near Pile Hill, the site of past mining operations. At one time the large London Mine boardinghouse once stood at the edge of a meadow near the tailings of the London Mine.

Note the large boardinghouse behind the vehicles. Photo was taken in July of 1983.

Today only the outline of the walls remains. The logs that are left look burnt as if the cabin had caught fire.

Close up of the cabin in the previous photo.
Photo was taken in July of 2004.

From Pile Hill the Kingston Peak road climbs up the west flank of Kingston Peak using a long switchback.

Photo of the approach to the James Peak Lake trailhead, James Peak in the background. Photo taken 2014.

This is where the first challenge is, as you head up from the switchback at the James Peak Lake trailhead to the saddle between James Peak and Kingston Peak.

Photo of the switchback at the James Peak Lake trailhead with James Peak in the background. Photo taken in 2004.

Photo looking back from the James Peak Lake trailhead. Photo taken 2014.

Once you reach the top, at 12,050 feet, the road continues across a large flat alpine area separating James Peak and Kingston Peak.

Photo of the top of the Kingston Peak 4WD road. Photo taken 2014.

Please stay on the road. Do not make new routes across the tundra. As you follow the Kingston Peak 4WD road you will climb to the top of an unnamed peak, navigating the second obstacle before you reach the top.

Photo of the second hill climb. Photo taken 2014.

From here you will begin the descent down to the town of Alice. As you approach the forest again, take note of the deformed pine trees at the edge of timber line. Once in the forest you will pass some small mine digs and a few overlooks of the valley where Alice sites. When you reach a graded gravel road, follow it down to the valley floor. The graded road will switchback through a residential area before reaching the valley floor where Silver Creek runs through the town of Alice.
Data updated: February 24, 2015     4WD Road driven: July 19, 2014     Copyright 4X4Explore - 2000-2015