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Kingston Peak Loop Route Description

Note: It was overcast on the day I did this ride, so the pictures didn't turn out as well as I had expected. Don't let them fool you though, this is a truly wonderful area, especially if you enjoy riding above timberline...

From your vehicle, ride back down the main road 0.5 miles, and turn right on the Alice road. Finding your way through the maze of roads in Alice will definitely test your navigational skills, so keep a close eye on your odometer and the map, and don't forget about the disclaimer... :-} Go straight through a four-way intersection, and at 1.25 miles, turn right at the first switchback. Pass a road on your right, and switchback left on the second road. Take the next switchback right, and then the next switchback left. Pass the next switchback, and at about 1.9 miles take a switchback right. Whew! you've made it through the confusing part, the rest of the route will be much easier to follow.

As the road carries you along the ridge above Alice, you will get your first glimpse of distant James Peak.

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The trees gradually give way to the tundra, and the climbing gets more difficult. Actually, the climbing gets downright abusive in spots... At about 3.4 miles, a side road drops back down to Alice; veer left to stay on the main road. Finally, at about 4.3 miles, you reach the top of the first climb at an elevation of 11,700 feet. Take a rest by the stone shelter here, sign the guest register, and admire the view of Loch Lomond far below.

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Looking north from here you can see Kingston Peak and the road you are on crossing the ridge just to the west of the peak. Go down a short but steep hill, and begin the gradual climb to the shoulder of the mountain.

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You reach the high point of the ride, slightly over 12,000 feet, at 6.3 miles as you cross over the shoulder of Kingston Peak. From here it's a steep, rocky descent to the James Peak Lake trailhead at 6.8 miles. Stop there to admire the view...

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Behind you, the road descends towards treeline, as it crosses the northern slopes of Kingston Peak.

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You reach treeline again at about 8.1 miles, and the road forks here. Stay on the main road as it drops sharply to the right. At about 8.8 miles, the trees will open up, and you will notice several old mining pits. Take a right here, and descend sharply. If you miss the right, another turn will appear in 0.2 miles that will take you the same place. Follow this steep descent to an intersection at 9.2 miles. Take a sharp right here and cross a creek.

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Stay on this jeep trail, which runs relatively flat, until you reach a three-way fork in the road at about 10.8 miles. Both the left and right forks (and probably the middle fork too) will get you where you want to go. The left fork stays fairly flat, and adds about a mile to your ride. The right fork climbs steeply at first, and is more direct - this is the route I will describe. Follow the right fork - at about 11.8 miles, you will come to a convergence of what seems like dozens of un-marked roads. Ahead of you is Forest Service road 175 running east-west. Follow it to the right as it climbs towards Yankee Hill. At the top of the climb, turn right to stay on FS 175. Descend to an intersection at about 12.8 miles, and be sure to notice St. Mary's Glacier in front of you.

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Turn left and descend steeply to a well-maintained dirt road. Turn right and travel past some houses to Silver Lake.

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Follow the road in front of Silver Lake to the pavement and turn left. Descend back to your vehicle.

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Last updated Wednesday, June 15, 2005, 04:56:37 PM, -0400