Cripple Creek Backcountry hosted a Yule Stone Quarry information night a few weeks ago. As in the past, the quarry representatives were friendly, and understanding of the need for public parking and road use. The only change from last winter is they’ve installed signs with parking instructions. How these will survive through a big winter is an open question. In any case, the gist of it is 1) Park perpendicular to the road (nose or rear in) when plowed areas allow — this will greatly increase available parking. 2) Know that the stone-haul truck is wide, so leave plenty of available roadway however you park. If you’re unfamiliar with the width of the stone truck, match how other users are parked if it appears they’ve left plenty of leeway, don’t encroach on the road any more than they do.
If you block the road, you may be towed or ticketed, or both.
When you’re driving the road, remember that the stone truck has the right-of-way, and takes the inside line. Memorize turn-outs as you drive, in case you need to back up to the nearest.
During times when avalanches may threaten the road (nearly every storm after the snowpack gets thicker, usually around late December), the gate may be swung shut and unlocked while the machinery operators and avalanche consultants work on opening the road. Please do not drive the road if the gate is swung shut. Wait at the gate. Likewise, in the event of a safety issue on the road, the county sheriff can declare the road to be closed. In that event the gate may be locked, and-or a deputy stationed at the gate.
Note that the Quarry operates their water pumping system even when production is idled. This can entail road upkeep, yet it’s possible you’ll find the road unplowed.
What to do if the road isn’t plowed? It’s a 2.7 mile uphill slog to the Marble Peak trailhead. Fit, motivated skiers might not mind the walk, but it’s a bit soul crushing if you’re used to parking at the start of the real skiing. It’s legal to use a snowmobile if the road is not plowed (and quasi-legal otherwise). Driving or otherwise, know the road crosses through numerous avalanche paths.
For more about Quarry Road, please see our FAQ.