BREAKING: Road to Crystal Mill reopens after debris flows early this week
UPDATE: FSR 314 — the 4-mile section of the Lead King Loop from Daniel's Hill to the Crystal Mill — is open again as of Friday, August 5.
Some of the flows put Forest Service Road 314 under at least 15' of mud, rocks, and tree trunks. The road is part of the Lead King Loop, which has grown increasingly popular with off-highway vehicles (OHVs) and ATVs in recent years. And it's the shortest route to the Lost Horse Mill, more commonly known as the Crystal Mill, where leaf peepers flock in the fall to get photos of the 19th century building nestled among rushing water and golden aspen leaves.
Although the road is closed, most of the debris has been cleared thanks to quick action by Gunnison County Public Works. But the amount of wet, sloppy mud still remaining creates a situation in which vehicles would likely damage the road further, and create additional erosion.
Forest Service Road 315 — the north side of Lead King Loop — also experienced debris flows, but is still open and passable for high-clearance, four wheel drive vehicles. For now, completing the loop isn't possible, and drivers will have to head back out the way they came in. The loop should be back open in plenty of time for leaf peeping season.
More information is available by calling the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District at (970) 963-2266 or going to http://www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver
For KDNK news, I'm Morgan Neely.