Part III: Lead King Basin Loop Continued and Redstone Coke Ovens

To catch up, you can start reading Part I here.  If you’d like to read from the start of our trip, start here.

Now comes the craziness.  Besides the ride being bumpy on the loop, I was white-knuckled at times.  We really had no business being on that road with my husbands huge, lifted, wide-wheel based truck.  As I mentioned in my previous post, the signage didn’t mention all of the “requirements”.  As I also mentioned, my husband is an excellent, skilled driver.  He kept telling me to look at him – “Do I look scared?  I’m not worried.”  Sorry folks, I’m a worry wart girl.  We would never do this drive during the raining/melting season or the Winter.

The whole day was filled with stunning scenery.  The trip around the loop took us about 5 or 6 hours with all of the stops that we made.

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7503

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7505

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7508

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7510

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7511

Look back on the part of the road that we were just on.

Look back on the part of the road that we were just on.

Oh look. It even gets more scary!

Oh look. It even gets more scary!

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7517

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7522

Kind of a tight fit?

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7523

Absolutely beautiful scenery though!

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7525

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7526

Here’s the sign I was talking about in the last post.  The first sign that we saw at the beginning of the loop wasn’t as nearly dead and dread as this one!

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7529

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7530

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7532

All of a sudden, we finally reached the town of Crystal.  This is it.  From what I’ve read, I think you can actually rent these old houses.  Being in the town also means that WE ARE ONLY HALF WAY!

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7533

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7534

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7536

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7537

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7539

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7544

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7545

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7548

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7549

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7550

Now, I still don’t really know where I am.  I know it’s a ghost town.  We pulled over so that I could read a couple signs.  The above sign and the next one are actually looking back from where we just were.

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7551

Did anybody else notice a gift shop?

This sign says: This historic building has withstood the elements since 1892. Occasionally, it is in need of assistance, if it is to be preserved. Should you be interested in helping, a donation at the Crystal store would be appreciated.

This sign says: This historic building has withstood the elements since 1892. Occasionally, it is in need of assistance, if it is to be preserved. Should you be interested in helping, a donation at the Crystal store would be appreciated.

I still am not sure what building they’re talking about.  I walked a little past this vehicle, and BAM!  I had always wanted to come here!  I have seen images of this all over the internet!  For some reason I thought that it would be a major hike to get to see it.  I had no idea it was right off the road!!!  (Although, keep in mind, it is a gravel/dirt unmaintained road for 4WD vehicles only.)  The area was roped off, so I pretty much stayed legal.  With some of the images that I have seen online, some people go rogue – or maybe the ropes are new.  Welcome to the Crystal Mill:

This is my absolute favorite image of the old mill!

This is my absolute favorite image of the old mill!

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7558

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7561

I so wish we would have been able to see it a week or two prior, before most of the leaves had fallen!

Here we go again.  Another 7 miles to go!  From what the owners of the above vehicle told me, the road is a bit better than what we had already traveled.  The woman actually said to me, “You drove on that road with THAT?”

The road, at one point, was pretty much just as bad as before the 1/2 way point.  This time my husband was on the outside near the steep drop-offs.

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7565

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7567

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7568

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7569

Once again, my husband was tired.  I’m sure it’s very tiring being the man who needs to drive careful so as not to get us killed.  We found a place that we could pull off the road.  This is Lizard Lake:

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7570

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7574

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7576

Just before climbing back into the truck, I saw some neat roots from a tree:

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, lead king basin loop, offroading, off-road, offroading, lizard lake, crystal city-7575This is the end of the Lead King Basin Loop images.  While heading back to our hotel in Snowmass Village, we stopped to check out the Redstone Coke Ovens:

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, coke ovens, redstone coke ovens, redstone-7588

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, coke ovens, redstone coke ovens, redstone-7591

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, coke ovens, redstone coke ovens, redstone-7594

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, coke ovens, redstone coke ovens, redstone-7595

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, coke ovens, redstone coke ovens, redstone-7596

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, coke ovens, redstone coke ovens, redstone-7602

carol dunnigan photography, colorado, fall, autumn, images, photography, mountains, travel, white river national forest, coke ovens, redstone coke ovens, redstone-7603

We also drove through a campground, but it was getting pretty dark.  My next post is my last from our little getaway to the Snowmass Village area.  Heading back towards home, we stopped for me to hike around Monarch Lake in the Arapaho National Forest, just South of Grand Lake, Colorado.

Head over to the next post.

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4 thoughts on “Part III: Lead King Basin Loop Continued and Redstone Coke Ovens

  1. A daring drive, Carol. The road you were on seem better fit for a 4X4 jeep, or better yet an ATV. I can understand you calling it a white-knuckle drive and ride. 🙂

    I’ve seen images of that particular mill, the coke ovens, and Crystal City. The last I heard was that Crystal City was all private property, even as a ghost town, but that was years ago.

    • I agree about the vehicle! A friend said that she’s done that trip about 20x with an ATV (big campers). The stories that she told me! Locals getting stuck going to town….crazy! It probably is private now. I hear you can rent out the cabins, some being nicer than others.

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