Kite Lake Trailhead


Range: Mosquito Range
Coordinates: 39.32758, -106.12928
14ers: Mt. Democrat, Mt. Cameron, Mt. Lincoln, Mt. Bross
Elevation: 12,000'
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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 to within a couple hundred yards of the TH lot, 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.

More Info

Parking: 12-15 spots at the trailhead. Everyone else has to park along the road.
Camping: Some established camp spots at Kite Lake. More dispersed spots along the road, just below the trailhead.
Restrooms? Yes, at the trailhead parking area
Fees? Yes, in summer
Trailhead added by BillMiddlebrook
Status Updates 
Posted By: etutter
Info: Kite Lake Trailhead is now open. Most vehicles should be able to make it to the trailhead but the last half mile would be easier with a 4WD.
Posted By: kalestew
Info: TH is temporarily closed from 5/1 - 5/31/21 (see
Posted By: Brad44650
Info: Dry road until right before Paris Mill, but quickly becomes very snowy and rutted. A high clearance vehicle can get to about 0.5mi from the private land sign. Personally got the Subi stuck about 100yds up from the last parked car roughly 0.5 from the sign; spent an hour digging out before reversing to the cars below. Seemed to be melting rapidly on our descent hours later; but the gate remains closed. Best case is 1.5-2mi from parking to the lake.
Posted By: Buckie06
Info: Lots of snow on the road. Trucks and high clearance SUVs can make it to 1.6miles below the summer trailhead if you’re a capable driver. Many cars and subarus were parking much lower.
Posted By: 14er101
Info: The road is plowed and dry up to the private property sign. The gate is still closed so do not go past the parking area before the private property; any car should be able to make it about 2 miles from Kite Lake.
Posted By: serveJesusChrist
Info: A high clearance vehicle can make it to 1.2 miles from the trailhead. My Subaru had no problem. A sedan might make it that far with skilled driving, but you would be likely to scrape your bottom. The road is closed beyond that point.
Posted By: shapovalovm
Info: Road is mostly dry till around 1.5 miles to Kite Lake. Doable in any vehicle.
Posted By: Clint the climber
Info: Plowed to the inner gate about a mile from the summer trailhead. The mine has put up "no parking" signs here where the plowing ends so you have to park down the road below the private property sign, but it doesn’t add more than a half-mile. In total, you can get to about a mile and a half of the summer trailhead.
Posted By: BillShatner
Info: Road plowed to outer gate. Room for a few cars to park about a half mile down the road, a mile or so past the Mill.
Posted By: markf
Info: And the road is still clear to the gate, although FWD cars might have a little trouble on the last 100 yards to the gate.
Posted By: sixlebsack
Info: Road clear to the gate 1.1 miles before Kite Lake TH.
Posted By: daway8
Info: Doesn’t get any easier than this in winter - road was almost dry (at least in the middle) all the way to the gate 1.1miles from the summer trailhead, as opposed to the normal winter closure about 3mi from the trailhead. If you want to snowflake Decalibron - GO NOW! (before the next snowstorm rolls in)
Posted By: JosephG
Info: Road is in great shape up to the gate closure. From there, only 1.1 miles to the TH on mostly frozen dirt with some lightly drifted snow.
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.
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