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: AndrewJCraigie
Info: A few miles from the trailhead there are several windblown piles of the snow on the road. I made it over the first few in my Subaru Outback, and then got stuck. Spent 40 minutes digging my car out - not the greatest way to start a hike. Learn from my hubris and park a few miles down. Not worth pushing through, as you’ll eventually hit bigger and bigger piles.
Posted By: Misi197
Info: Best I’ve seen the road maybe ever. Smooth sailing for pretty much any 2 wheel drive sedan.
Posted By: Dan_Suitor
Info: Gate closed 1.1 miles from the trailhead. The road to the gate was snow packed or gravel. Easy enough for any vehicle with good tires to manage. The road from the gate to the trailhead was clear, with a few snow drifts. I used my ATV to get from the gate to the trailhead without any issues. I confirmed with the Park County ranger station that this was ok to do.
Posted By: jhalee4
Info: The road seems better than how I remember it being 2 years ago. Totally drivable (was in a jeep patriot). Already lines of cars parking down the side of the road when I arrived at 7am.
Posted By: Swerner
Info: Probably gonna be irrelevant soon since they’re doing work on it, but I had no trouble getting all the way up to the trailhead in my Corolla (2wd sedan) which has pretty poor clearance. The last ~1/4 Mile was a bit rougher than the rest but not anywhere close to as bad as the road to Harvard/Columbia or Missouri/Belford. I wouldn’t recommend doing it in a sedan unless you’re confident in your abilities on dirt roads though.
Posted By: bsargeant1
Info: NOTICE: The Town of Alma will be performing road maintenance near the Kite Lake Trailhead on Tuesday, August 2nd. Workers will begin placing traffic cones on Sunday, July 31st and heavy machinery will be travelling on the road Monday, August 1st. Road maintenance will begin on Tuesday, August 2nd. Visitors will not be able to park at the upper Kite Lake Trailhead on 8/2. Hikers should expect to park below the TH and hike the final stretch of the road. A portion of the road will remain open for foot traffic.
Posted By: Istoodupthere
Info: I parked my 2wd suv .2 miles below the lot. A bad, rutted hill section right there pretty much prevents a passenger vehicle from getting up imo. Sry no pic
Posted By: hsfedina
Info: Dry but very rutted. High clearance vehicle pretty much required to get to lots, especially the last one.
Posted By: ltlFish99
Info: i could bot find the sign for the turnoff from the main road.
i asked someone lical, and they informed me or the location if the road.
it is across the street from the real estate building as the description states, just no actual sign.
The last mile is somewhat rough, and the trailhead was a popular place Friday night.
Posted By: Agstrohmeier
Info: Made it to the top in our ID.4 but not sure I would again. Clearance was alright just a ton of rocks on the road, nervous about a punctured tire. Easier parking not far down the road. Forgot to pay and they just left an envelope on the windshield instead of a ticket which was nice.
Posted By: stickmann
Info: Road is open to the trailhead. Bathrooms open and stocked. The last quarter mile is rough and low ground clearance vehicles were parked below it. My stock Forester made it to the TH.
Posted By: flyzapper
Info: Clear of snow, but gate is still closed ~1 mile and 500 vertical below Kite Lake. Road is also snow free up to Kite Lake despite gate being locked.
Posted By: mtnmike
Info: Road is good to the gate ~1 mi below Kite Lake (6-7 parking spots at the gate itself...remember to stay OFF the private mine property!). Beyond the gate everything has melted out / been plowed out, but the gate is still closed. Will be drivable by just about soon as they open ’er up!
Posted By: merrion13
Info: Gate by fee / permit pay station was still closed as of this morning. Road drying out fast.
Posted By: mtnmike
Info: Road is dry and in good shape to the gate about 1 mile below Kite Lake (4WD not needed). Space for 6-8 vehicles there, just be sure to stay off the mine property. Still need several warm days to melt out the remaining mile to be able to drive.
Posted By: Jim Davies
Info: From Facebook user Kurt Pawlowski: "You can now get to the winter gate at Decalibron TH. Parking for maybe 5 vehicles there. Still lots of snow up there."
Posted By: cbonk11
Info: Plowing only goes to the mines that are about 1/4 mile below the gate. Lots of no-parking signs in this stretch. The safest thing is to park right below the private lands sign about 1/2 mile from gate.
Posted By: CheapCigarMan
Info: Dry all the way to the locked gate.
Posted By: 14er101
Info: Tried the loop today but to no avail. Road open and clear to the gate 1.5 miles from the trailhead. Gate is closed.
Posted By: Buckie06
Info: Made it to .25 miles from the trailhead in a Ford fusion. Easy going until this point, then there’s some rough sections for sedans. Large pullout at the .25 miles spot to park
Posted By: djj2504
Info: Gate is open and road is clear of snow all the way to the lake. Restrooms are open and TP is stocked. The road does get rougher towards the top and there is a pretty deep ditch just before the parking area that kept some sedans from making it all the way. 4Runners, Tacomas, F150s, and a Crosstrek all made it.

Snow is in the forecast but a few warmer days are as well so the road could remain drivable.
Posted By: KevinInFoCo
Info: Gate is open, road is mostly clear of snow all the way to Kite Lake. Several really rough spots especially above the switchbacks. But probably any 4WD or AWD can make it with some care and determination. I made it all the way up just fine in Toyota Highlander AWD, although the road conditions are much worse than I remember them last time I was up there Dec 2020. Bathrooms are open, free of snow, and stocked with tp. Cleanliness? Ehh...
Posted By: Mrzx9r
Info: Got a low ground clearance 2WD conversion van just past the switchback. I parked and camped there - there are a few cutouts you can park in. After that it gets real bad, real fast- definitely high-clearance needed to avoid damage. Was entertaining listening to low-clearance cars/trucks try to make it past there. Lots of expensive sounding banging off of rocks. Maybe an 1/8 mile walk up to the trailhead from there.
Posted By: CommanderDawn
Info: I appeared to be the first day-use arrival at 5:45am on this Tuesday with good weather. The parking lot wasnt more than half full all day. I finished around 1pm and saw warnings on windshields for vehicles that hadnt paid the $5.

The last section of road after the hairpin turn was worse than reports led me to believe (in my opinion, worse than the forest road to Grays TH last week). There were several spots I didnt feel had a workable line even with my Forester. Really the entire last mile needs to be taken with caution as there are a few rogue potholes and one big boulder hiding in thr good section. Saw several day-use vehicles parked right after the hairpin.
Posted By: Roll_Tide
Info: Good ride until the last 1/4 mile. Non-high clearance vehicles should use caution and probably park before the first hairpin turn. Restrooms did have TP.
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