Kite Lake Trailhead


Range: Mosquito Range
Coordinates: 39.32758, -106.12928
14ers: Mt. Democrat, Mt. Cameron, Mt. Lincoln, Mt. Bross
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Road Difficulty

2WD, rough dirt road 2   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Rough 2WD dirt to the TH.

Driving Directions

Take Colorado 9 to Alma. In the middle of town and on the west side of the road, look for a small sign for the road to Kite Lake. It's across the road from the "Caniglia Real Estate" building. Turn here and drive a bit through a residential area. Continue 6 miles to Kite Lake. The last mile of this road can be a bit more rough, but a good-clearance 2WD should still be able to make it when the road is dry. There are restrooms and some camping spots at the trailhead. You must pay a $5 fee to park/camp at Kite Lake. If you park below, walk up the road to Kite Lake.

Winter Access

Closed at the Paris Mill site which is about 3 miles up from Alma but 3 miles below Kite Lake.
Status Updates 
Posted By: JQDivide
Info: Road closed at gate.
Plowed to the mine.
Space for several cars near gate.
Road was mostly clear, wind blown, to summer TH.
Posted By: wolfgangstiller
Info: Road to TH is closed at the gate. Somewhat odd since the road past the TH is mostly dry but they decided to close the gate for some reason.
Posted By: LoveThisSite
Info: I was able to drive all the way to the trailhead in my Suby Forester.
Posted By: KevinInFoCo
Info: The gate that is about a mile below Kite Lake was open. The road from there to the lake had hardly any snow on it. No problem getting up there for my AWD Highlander and several other vehicles. One of the two bathroom stalls at Kite Lake is unlocked but not being maintained. A couple inches of snow packed on the floor and no tp available.
Posted By: durkan
Info: Small drift of snow just before kite late, but gate open. I would not say any SUV with FWD/AWD would have an issue making it.
Posted By: rudi32
Info: Summited Buckskin this morning - Road is surprisingly open all the way to the TH !

Was expecting to start my hike at the gate, but thankfully it was open. A few snow drifts along the way, but they are avoidable for the most part.
Posted By: Blachut
Info: The gate is closed. Gotta start the hike about a mile early.
Posted By: pbandchoc
Info: Clear to the top, no snow in the road, gate was open. There’s a sign closer to the start of the road that states the road will be closed 11/1. Saw at least a dozen vehicles parked at the th today.
Posted By: wolfgangstiller
Info: Road is in the best shape I have seen. No snow or ice on the road and all but the last 1/2 mile is pretty smooth. On the last half mile careful driving is called for if you don’t have high clearance. I saw plenty of 2wd vehicles parked at the TH.
Posted By: jhayles
Info: The road leading to the TH (Buckskin St/CO is in good shape save for the ever present washboards. About 1.5-mi from the TH there are some deep cuts in the road that serve as speed bumps (and possibly drainage). The last 1.5-mi is much rougher than the previous 6.5-mi but, if taken slow, can be navigated by most cars. The last .25-mi I would NOT attempt unless I was in a high clearance vehicle. I drove this road in a Honda Accord with no issues but did take it slow.

If you park below the TH, you will have to hike up to the TH to get a permit (its on the left before the toilets), hike back to your car to display your permit, and hike back to the permit area to deposit your $5 fee.
Posted By: DixieFlyer
Info: The road was a bit rough, but 4WD was not needed. I thought that the worst part was some dips before you got to the pay station. They could easily smooth those out, so it is almost like they have them there on purpose. I would not take a sedan there, but I imagine that a small SUV could make it, but you’d have to take it slow in a few places.

The vault toilets were open, and they were about as clean as they could be.

I was there on a Wednesday, and got one of the last parking spots at the TH at 6:30. When I came back there were a few vehicles parallel parked on the road. The trails were not as crowded as I thought they would be.
Posted By: pancake2
Info: FYI - just because you’re not parked at the Trailhead doesn’t mean you don’t need to pay the $5 fee.
We arrived around 5:30 AM and parked along the road below the main trail head thinking we won’t have to pay the $5 fee. Turns out by the end of our hike, every car parked along the road had a white envelope on their windshield wiper. We thought that was nice of the ranger to not give us a ticket but gave us a chance to pay the $5 fee. We put the money in the envelope and dropped it off at the pay station.
Posted By: E_A_Marcus_949
Info: 4:45am on a Saturday already parking down the road. People seem to be unaware at certain spots that cars still need to be able to get through on the road, though. Views of the road from Buckskin showed people parking all the way down past the switchback in the road. Vault toilets open; use your mask for the smell (about 90% of the people were not wearing any, even when in close contact with others); no TP.
Posted By: Strider21
Info: Made it up in a Camry. As others have indicated the road is rough the last half mile. If you are comfortable doing so and take it slow, i think any vehicle can make it but it might be better to just play it safe and walk the last stretch.
Posted By: eudyke
Info: Road is in great shape up to about a mile from the lake (at the active mine site). They were actively grading it this week. I even stopped the grader driver and thanked him!
Plenty of parking at the lake. Dont worry about the last mile of road. Any 2wd car can make it.
The bathrooms were clean.
Be prepared to pay the $5 cash in the provided envelopes. Its a small fee for such a great venue!
Posted By: jhalee4
Info: Road up to the trailhead is bumpy in a few spots (as usual) but totally drivable. Though there are some new huge speed bumps.

Got to the trailhead a little before 8 am and we were able to park just outside the lot on the road, no problem.
Posted By: mikebabb
Info: Arrived at Kite Lake around 10 pm pulling a pop up trailer. This was a mistake. I assumed there would be sites for RVs, I should have looked at the website because there weren’t any. After looking around in the dark, I decided to go back down the road and park alongside the road where there was a vacant campsite. I got everything setup and was in bed around midnight. A steady flow of cars started coming into the campground around 4:30 am which prevented any further meaningful sleep. Given the campsites are on the side of the road too, I assume they too woke up when all the cars started coming in.

Note that you have to fill out a permit and pay $15.00 to camp overnight. There are two places to pay, at the first gate you pass through or closer to the trailhead...
Posted By: wolfgangstiller
Info: I have been driving this road several times a year for the last 20 years and this is about as good a shape as I have ever seen it. Up to the last mile, it is in excellent shape and any car can drive it. The last mile or so has some rough spots but a careful driver can get a normal 2wd up there and I saw a number of vehicles parked like Honda Accords and Toyota Corollas.
Posted By: mtngoatwithstyle
Info: Road to Kite Lake dry. An RV was stuck almost at the top of the road before the parking area and caused cars to park behind on the side of the road. After that, RV was able to make it out but got stuck a mile down after the gate because of a rock trapped in the tire that required towing of the RV.Make sure you have clearance for the road before driving all the way up.
Posted By: bsargeant1
Info: Road is open and snow free all the way to the Kite Lake trailhead. Road is in great shape down low. There are a few small ruts near the switchbacks just below the trailhead. Saw a few Honda Civics and a BMW sedan that made it that far. Lots of Outbacks, Jeeps, and trucks at the trailhead today.

Also, the bathrooms are open and currently have toilet paper and hand sanitizer!
Posted By: Agstrohmeier
Info: Similar to below. Skinning about 1 mile from closure, some dirt walking around kite lake.
Posted By: 7Below
Info: Comes blocking road at Mine, approx 1.5miles from Kite Lake. 2wd vehicle can get to closure. Road to Kite Lake is easy to do without traction or snowshoes. They were plowing it today.
Posted By: shaberer0511
Info: The road to the gate closure is in great shape, not like the usual washboard. From the gate (about 0.75 miles from Kite Lake) it is mostly snow covered with snow several feet deep. With warm temperatures, a postholing nightmare on the way down. Postholing waist deep in a lot of places.
Posted By: Trotter
Info: Road clear to the gate, about 1 mile below Kite Lake. Parking for about 5 vehicles there. Gate is locked and closed, but road is loaded with snow past it anyways. Looks like Alma moved the fee station to the gate, so not sure if now you have to pay to use the last mile of road, instead of just the kite lake parking lot like in the past.
Posted By: hogantheepic
Info: Road cleared to about 1.5 miles from the trailhead, though the snow is melting fast.

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