Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
3,314.00 ft (1,010.11 m)
Trail type
11.20 mi (18.02 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Just outside of the small town of Crestone, CO, the North Crestone Trail is a scenic singletrack leading 11.2 miles to North Crestone Lake and back. The trail offers numerous options for extended journeys and peak bagging along the crest of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The well-maintained and well-graded singletrack makes for fantastic trail running, as well as day-hiking and backpacking. If backpacking, please remember Leave No Trace Principles, and only camp on already-established sites. The trail begins at North Crestone Campground at the end of County Road 71U, which is easily accessible by any car, and the trailhead is managed by USFS Rio Grande National Forest.

The North Crestone Trail climbs gradually from around 8,500ft. to nearly 11,900ft., often following North Crestone Creek through stands of aspen and pine. At mile 2.5, the trail reaches a junction with trails #747 and #746, offering excellent options for a much more extended journey through the Sangre de Cristos. Our trail continues steadily upward before a quite steep push for the last half-mile before reaching North Crestone Lake. The lake is nestled below the crest of the Sangre de Cristos between Fluted Peak (13,543ft.) and Mount Adams (13,940ft.). For those wishing to continue the adventure up to Fluted Peak, skirt the north side of the lake and find the path of least resistance up through the boulder fields below the summit. 

As always, be prepared to encounter a full spectrum of weather even in the height of the Colorado summer. A note from the USFS site: “The high peaks accessed by this trail have experienced an increase in Search and Rescue incidents over the past several years. Trail users and mountain climbers are advised to use established routes and maintain extreme levels of situational awareness when accessing the high country from this trail.”

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)


Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Scenic lake and vistas. Mountain solitude.


Unpredictable weather. Can be crowded at times.

Trailhead Elevation

8,583.00 ft (2,616.10 m)

Highest point

11,866.00 ft (3,616.76 m)


Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Family friendly
Big vistas
Horseback riding
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Adventures

Northern Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Colorado


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