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Fishing: Colorado > Rio Grande National Forest > Saguache Ranger District

Quick Facts

North Fork Crestone Trail

Beginning Elevation: 9,760 Feet (3042.4 Meters)
Difficulty: More Difficult
Elevation Gain: 3,280 Feet (1022.4 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 13,040 Feet (4064.8 Meters) Ends at Hermit Pass
Length, One-way: 7.1 Miles (11.83 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 747
Usage: Heavy
USGS Maps: Electric Peak

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

The trail functions as a tie-in between the N. Crestone and Cotton Creek drainages, running above timberline in the Sangres. Direct vehicle access is possible from Hermit Pass. The trail is in good condition and offers numerous possibilities for circuit routes with other trails lasting from 2 days to a week. This route is a photographer's dream. The trail comes close to several alpine lakes and traverses spectacular rugged terrain and wildflower areas. The switchbacks between Rito Alto Lake and San Isabel Creek drainage are built into loose rock and are difficult for horse travel.

Directions from Rito Alto Trail: Via Rito Alto Trail #745

Directions from Cotton Creek Trail: Via Cotton Creek Trail #749

Directions from Hermit Lake Trail: Via Hermit Lake Trail (San Isabel NF: vehicle access).

Directions from San Isabel Trail: Via San Isabel Trail #858

Directions from Venable Lake Trail: Via Venable Lake Trail #859

Directions from North Crestone Trail: Via North Crestone Trail #744

Directions from Loop Trail: Via Loop Trail #746

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: May through September .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking North Fork Crestone Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Trail is in good condition
ICON Viewing Scenery A photographer's dream

Related Activities
Cotton Creek Trail - The trail is well marked and maintained. It follows the creek through a rugged, steep canyon and diverse scenery. Teacup Lake presents an opportunity for primitive route-finding.

Major Creek Trail - Trail attractions are 6"-8" brookies and cutthroat trout in the lower section of the creek. No mountain lake is reached unless the divide is crossed to Brush Creek Lakes.

North Crestone Creek Campground - North Crestone Campground is in the narrow valley of North Crestone Creek at the base of Sangre de Cristo Range.

North Crestone Creek Trail - The trail offers excellent possibilities for extended backpacking or just a good day hike from the campground. Attractions are fishing the creek and lake, excellent scenery, waterfalls and opportunity to see bighorn sheep and occasionally bear.

North Crestone Loop Trail - The trail exists as a connector between Comanche Lake and the North Crestone drainage. The trail offers spectacular viewing near Phantom Terrace.

Rito Alto Trail - The trail ascends a rugged, steep canyon with diverse vegetation and is well marked. Attractions are fishing in the creek and lake, and big game.

San Isabel Trail - The trail follows San Isabel Creek through stands of aspen and fir to its junction with the lake trail. Attractions are fishing in the creek and lake, access to other alpine trails and lakes, and big game.

Venable Creek Trail - The trail exists as a connector between the North Crestone drainage and Venable Lakes. The trail travels mostly alpine vegetation and rugged high terrain.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Saguache Ranger Station, 46525 Colorado Highway 114, P.O. Box 67 , Saguache, CO, 81149, Phone: 719-655-2553, TTY: 719-655-2547


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